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Gemini Man: A Movie That Looks Sort Of Cool But Mostly Stinks

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Folks, they did it, they made a person… out of another… person.

Henry Brogan is an elite assassin who becomes the target of a mysterious operative who can seemingly predict his every move. To his horror, he soon learns that the man who’s trying to kill him is a younger, faster, cloned version of himself. – via Google

We’ve been talking about this movie for a while now, ever since that pretty terrible first trailer. Hollywood has been talking about it longer, as it’s been in developmental hell for over 20 years. But, it is finally here, ‘Gemini Man’ is in theaters and it is time for Jeff D Lowe’s review… (KenJac’s has been added)

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JeffDLowe (51/100): Does ‘Gemini Man’ have impressive visual effects? Yes. Do they help the movie overcome a terrible script, bland story and bad acting? Not really. Will Smith’s newest movie is entertaining at times, but a fairly large dud. It isn’t the worst movie of 2019, but ‘Gemini Man’ doesn’t deliver much of anything at all.

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Will Smith, who hasn’t been in a widely-critically acclaimed movie in 20 years, turns in a decent performance, but he was completely failed by a disaster of a script. When it comes to dialogue, ‘Gemini Man’ truly feels like the type of movie that a bunch of kids made on their parent’s 1990’s camcorder. The script has been re-written and re-worked for so many years, by so many people and feels clunky with unnatural back-and-forths between characters. The writing is easily the worst part of ‘Gemini Man’ and its biggest detractor. If there was a movie to best compare it to story-wise, I’d probably pick the Bruce Willis-Joseph Gordon-Levitt movie ‘Looper’. Both stories are fairly similar, but ‘Gemini Man’ lacks the appeal and intrigue of the 2012 movie.

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In terms of the positives from the movie, the visual effects and action really save it from being a bottom tier 2019 movie. There are a few fun, entertaining scenes in the movie between the young and old versions of Will Smith’s character. They work thanks in large part to the best de-aging we’ve seen in a movie to date. With the exception of a few moments, the recreation of a younger Will Smith is flawless. It fails in most categories, but I commend Ang Lee and the production team for achieving something great on the technical side.

I hate getting too technical with movie reviews, but I need to note something that bothered me: I saw it in 120 frames per second. The movie had the “Soap Opera Effect” which can best be explained by Tom Cruise and ‘Mission: Impossible – Fallout’ director Christopher McQuarrie…

Here’s an example of the difference between 24 fps and 48 fps

It gives a more “realistic” look to the movie, but, for me, it was incredibly off-putting. Here’s a clip from ‘Gemini Man’ where you can get a sense of what it looks like…

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The way in which Ang Lee, a brilliant director, shot the movie took me out of it at times, unfortunately. There are options to see the movie at different frame rates, so I would suggest seeking them out if you’re still interested in the movie.

Critics made this movie out to be a front-runner for one of the worst movies of 2019 and to that extent, I disagree. Nevertheless, ‘Gemini Man’ is far from even being even an average movie. People mention all the time about how ‘Avatar’ is forgettable outside of the visual effects. With ‘Gemini Man’ think ‘Avatar’ with a worse story and visual effects that are cool but likely won’t take home any Oscars. You might have fun in the theater seeing ‘Gemini Man’, but I would go in with fairly low expectations.

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KenJac (41/100): Movies that depend on the novelty of new movie tech rarely succeed, and ‘Gemini Man’ is the perfect example as to why.  While the new features are certainly interesting, it seems to have come at the cost of screenwriting, passable acting, and general intrigue. This failure is sort of compounded by the fact that if you can’t see this in a theater that supports 4k, you don’t even get to experience the new features. Ang Lee is still one of the better directors working, but this is a flop. 

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The main acting crew of Will Smith, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Clive Owen really did not impress me. Part of this is due to the terrible screenwriting, and part of this I’m sure is due to the manner in which this was filmed. It went very overboard with CGI which, from most accounts, sometimes makes it hard for actors/actresses to get into roles. It also sort of looked like Lee went with the first take of every scene, with lines delivered with almost a read-through cadence. The effects looked good at points, and the young Will Smith looked great especially considering the super-high frame rate used for the movie. The problem is that it’s just not a compelling story. It’s feds vs. a PMC that’s doing shady shit to get government contracts. Sound familiar? It probably does, because that’s the base plot of every other espionage thriller from the last 2 decades. It’s predictable and boring and has, and I’m sorry to emphasize this so many times horrid screenwriting. The dialogue is painful to listen to and drags this movie from a solid, mid-60’s turn-off-your-brain movie to a bad one. 

‘Gemini Man’ feels like a $40 million dollar Gerard Butler movie that’s packaged in a $140 million dollar budget. If you’re going to invest heavily in a film that showcases new tech, make sure that, above all, it’s a decent story. Movies like ‘Godzilla: King of the Monsters’ can get away with a schlocky mess of a plot because the scale and entertainment levels are high enough. When you take that same messiness and package it into a small scale action-thriller that’s effects aren’t nearly intriguing enough to make you forget the plot sucks, you don’t get that same privilege.


We will wait on scores from KenJac, Trillballins, and the Audience to find out if it is Officially Buttered. We will do an in-depth review of the movie on Lights Camera Barstool next week. Make sure to rate all 2019 and 2018 movies in the links below.

2019:
January: https://goo.gl/forms/tyUaQnv8QgMyHfcf1
February: https://goo.gl/forms/N98XcvIy3SukhrIw2
March: https://goo.gl/forms/4QbmSMj6wK0feMZ13
April: https://forms.gle/uRUg5xPyfsE8bk9B6
May: https://forms.gle/cdBDBdjNcHZ93sog6
June: https://forms.gle/z3cK9LSRCzNCwxYS8
July: https://forms.gle/8i1B8dMgSADefyU5A
August: https://forms.gle/4ywzQC6BNR818YDU9
September: https://forms.gle/an7c9p5dV1TZHwNK9
October: https://forms.gle/wjyrNUxbX8MYVLHUA

2018:
January: https://goo.gl/forms/nNzX19HbebeQMUAA3
February: https://goo.gl/forms/DWG9TJMISLzUunsu2
March: https://goo.gl/forms/k0dL5ozOrhwJ2Bk03
April: https://goo.gl/forms/Z218hqWq3XGyqi9C3
May: https://goo.gl/forms/f5aYcpJHnBMmkcs52
June: https://goo.gl/forms/1sfizEF3LCTcXFrh2
July: https://goo.gl/forms/czBxbSMjxAUC6CiI3
August: https://goo.gl/forms/QrUn8VtKXvshaWoO2
September: https://goo.gl/forms/99QlmfQM9AQC5xFj2
October: https://goo.gl/forms/nNzX19HbebeQMUAA3
November: https://goo.gl/forms/vhhLrmGdJUnEBeqn1
December: https://goo.gl/forms/waFMZz5jmTCBJkp43