Gemini Man (12A) | Close-Up Film Review

Dir. Ang Lee, China/US, 2019, 117 mins

Cast:  Will Smith, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Clive Owen, Benedict Wong,

Review by Carol Allen

The Gemini man of the title is 51 year old top government assassin, Henry Brogan.  Henry, who likes to pretend he’s only 50, has had enough of the game and just wants to retire.  

But his planned peaceful golden years of messing about in boats are rudely interrupted, when he finds himself being pursued by a mysterious killer, who can predict his every move. Discovering that his hunter is actually a younger clone of himself, Henry needs to find out why he is being targeted and who is the creator of his younger and stronger twin self.  Needless to say, it is a government defence intelligence organisation, similar to the CIA, which is involved.   American movies don’t seem to have a lot of faith in the morality of their government protection organisations

It’s a strong story idea which is told convincingly and entertainingly and Smith is very good in the role or rather roles, differentiating them well in terms of character, even though his younger clone has the same characteristics as himself.   And the technology making him look 25 years younger is very effective.   Much better than Botox!

Although the action aspect of the story is fairly predictable for this type of film, director Ang Lee does do this sort of thing very well.  The action sequences are imaginatively conceived and well choreographed.  One in particular, where Junior the clone is chasing Henry, where they’re both riding what seem to be motorised push bikes, is particularly good and inventive. Eventually too the relationship between Henry and Junior develops into something that is rather touching.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead, as the government agent who changes sides to help Henry, gets plenty of action and the film wisely avoids creating a cliché older man/young woman romance.  We could though have done with more of Benedict Wong, playing a former colleague of Henry’s, who turns up to help him out.   The character is potentially interesting but doesn’t get enough screen time.

Clive Owen, recently seen as another government baddie in The Informer, gets a more developed role here as Verris, the intelligence chief, who is Junior’s creator. Although the object of the exercise was to make a human weapon with all of Henry’s skills but none of his human frailty, Verris also claims to love the young man as a father.  But Owen plays the role so impassively that we’re never sure whether his paternal love is real or put on and if he’s really just an out and out heartless and ruthless villain.

All in all, this is a good action movie story with a bit of heart, some impressive and well used technology and a very engaging central performance from Smith.