Double the faces, but half the value


“Gemini Man,” released on Oct. 11, grossed a measly $20 million dollars in its opening weekend, putting it on track to be one of Will Smith’s biggest flops at the box office.
The movie, directed by Ang Lee (“Brokeback Mountain” and “Life of Pi”) features Henry Brogan (Will Smith), a 51-year-old elite assassin who is finally ready to retire. His plans get thrown off-course when he becomes the target of an incredibly skilled agent who can seemingly predict his every move. Brogan soon learns that the operative is a much younger and faster clone of himself. With the help of Danny (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), a new recruit to the government organization, and Brogan’s old friend Baron (Benedict Wong), they work to find out who created the mission and why.
The first half of the movie was unexpectedly good. The main storyline was set up superbly, and even when the movie had a series of action scenes that would normally seem overdone and cheap, it was incredibly interesting. This is largely because of the groundbreaking technology that allowed for a much younger version of Will Smith to be the second main character. It also had a surprising amount of profound dialogue and story that gave the movie a new level of depth. Smith’s acting was also very moving, and he was one of the only redeeming qualities of the movie’s ending.
The second half of the movie felt incredibly rushed. The movie tried to bring up the overarching controversy of the morality of cloning, yet it felt extremely half-hearted. The protagonists were meant to showcase the immoralities of cloning, yet the only convincing argument was brought up by the opposing side, from the supposed antagonist. The entire theme that the movie tries to depict seems like an afterthought, which was supposed to rely on the emotional depth that Junior, Brogan’s clone, provided, but it mostly fell flat.
After such a large build-up, the climax was entirely unconvincing. It felt as though the writers were out of time and tied all the loose ends into a pretty bow, as opposed to following the natural progression the characters seemed to be leaning towards.
It also changed its main focus from following Brogan’s desperation to retire and trying to stay alive to Junior’s fight for freedom. The transition felt choppy and destroyed the movie’s coherence.
The head of the cloning operation, Clay Verris (Clive Owen), raised Junior as his son, but by the end of the movie, Junior was ready to kill him because of the lie he told. This quick switch makes the entire situation seem thoughtless and one dimensional. They had potential to make a morally challenging dilemma and turned it into a black and white, “bad vs. good” issue.
Overall, while the effects, production, and setup were certainly enjoyable, the movie’s attempt to take itself too seriously and inject a message to leave audiences thinking ruined the intelligence of the plot and provided an extremely disappointed and dissatisfied response among viewers across the board.