By Bradley Lane
Gemini Man has been struck in production hell for over 20 years. In fact, the original script for the film was written in 1997, meaning that Gemini Man is actually one year my elder. In that time, a slew of Hollywood leading men have filtered in and out of roles in the film, including Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford and even Sean Connery, with even more writers and directors signing off and on over the years. All told, three writers share co-writing credits on the final film. With Ang Lee behind the camera and Will Smith in the starring role, Gemini Man released in fall 2019. With all that time and work being done it does beg the question: Was it all worth it?
Henry Brogan, aka Will Smith, is an aged hitman nearing the end of his career serving for U.S. intelligence agencies. After announcing his retirement and briefly starting anew in Georgia, he is descended upon by agents bent on his demise of the same agency he once served. With help from old and new friends, he struggles to survive, while uncovering a secret that begins to unravel a decades-long government conspiracy.
When researching Gemini Man after I read about its production delays, I quickly understood why the film felt like it did. The film truly feels like a script that has been worked on by a multitude of people over a long period of time. There is no cohesion between any two scenes in Gemini Man. In fact, a character leaves a scene convinced of one thing being true, and in his very next appearance he has completely changed his mind. This same sort of dissonance can be applied widely to the film in that the whole work feels disjointed and clunky. Like a long game of cinematic telephone, any ideas the original writers wanted to express with the story just got lost in translation as it was interpreted by one writer and then passed to the next.
Even Ang Lee’s typically bold and present directing style takes a back seat to uninteresting and off-putting creative decisions. The action is typically filmed with a tight, close-up and shaky feel, which I imagine was implored to make it seem more intense; in reality it just serves to obfuscate the action. The film ranges from mildly entertaining, to boring, and even laughably bad.
A complete and total lack of subtlety and a near incoherent script make Gemini Man one of the year’s worst films. – 1/5 stars