Film Review by: #BrianPenn
Ang Lee has a varied CV with films like Hulk, Brokeback Mountain and Life of Pi in his portfolio. The latest addition is Gemini Man, a full bloodied action movie bearing all the hallmarks of legendary producer Jerry Bruckheimer. Like any actioner the storyline fights the visuals but often comes off second best.
Ex-marine and government hitman Henry Brogan (Will Smith) has retirement in mind when his latest job narrowly misses a civilian. His boss Del Patterson (Ralph Brown) tries to talk him round but his mind is made up. He sets out for a spot of fishing but soon rumbles Danny Zakarweski (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) surveiling him. Brogan meets with ex agent Jack Ellis (Douglas Hodge); who warns he may have pulled the trigger on the wrong man for the wrong reasons. Suits at the Defence Intelligence Agency are ruffling as they cannot be sure what Brogan knows. DIA chief Clay Verris (Clive Owen) sets Junior on his trail, a clone of Brogan's younger self. Unlike many action heroes, Brogan finds himself a wingman in the Baron (Benedict Wong), fellow ex-marine on hand with a fast car, plane and endless supply of firearms. He rides shotgun with Brogan and Zakarweski as a reluctant passenger.
The film moves along at a breakneck pace with some jaw dropping stunts and visual effects. You need to leave your disbelief at the door as it stretches credibility to the very limit. Nevertheless, it is faultlessly executed, and qualifies as a great popcorn movie. Even so, there is something very sterile and clinical about the film. The wow factor hits the viewer in waves mainly because of the visuals. It may be impressive but too frequently buries an intriguing storyline. How do you eliminate a trained killer; not any trained killer but the best there is? Easy, send a clone after him with the same predatory skills and ability; but a version that lacks the wisdom and guile of his older self. Can youthful stamina and physicality sufficiently compensate for his shortcomings? The narrative is there gently simmering in the background but inevitably gets lost. Jerry Bruckheimer may only be one of eleven producers on the credits but has left his paw prints all over it. The downside here is that it becomes a Jerry Bruckheimer production and not an Ang Lee film. But it will doubtless keep the cash registers ticking over nicely.