I finally saw Ang Lee‘s Gemini Man last night, and wouldn’t you know I’d pick a screening that didn’t show the 4K high-frame-rate 3D version? I saw a plain old 2D at 24 fps version, but it looked fine. And I was never in any serious pain during the 117 minute running time.
Yes, Gemini Man has a lousy 30% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but I found it to be an agreeable so-whatter. It diverts, it moves along, it’s not overly irksome. Especially during the first 25 to 35 minutes.
Will Smith does a reasonably good job of playing two versions of an ace professional assassin named Henry Brogan, or more specifically his own 50 year-old self along with a digitally composed 20something version (aka “Junior”). And I like the deft way that Lee cuts away from the grisly stuff from time to time.
I didn’t “turn” on Gemini Man, exactly, but it gradually let me down, and I found myself sinking deeper and eeper into my seat. It gradually hit me, in other words, that the story was kinda routine in a flat-footed way. There were basically too many cooks working on too many drafts for too many years, and so the script feels over-written, over-honed, over-edited, ground into mush. It feels like re-heated leftovers.
The credited writers are David Benioff, Billy Ray and Darren Lemke but Andrew Niccol, David Benioff, Brian Helgeland, Jonathan Hensleigh, Stephen J. Rivele and Christopher Wilkinson also took whacks at it.
But the de-aging VFX are better than The Irishman‘s in one respect. In Martin Scorsese‘s world-class film the face and hair styles give to Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci are definitely younger but the bodies are their own — older, chunkier, less than athletic. Will Smith’s “Junior”, on the other hand, is slim and lean and a physique of a workout Nazi.