I’ve been struggling to write about this film, and I realise it is because it is nothing to write home about. Ang Lee’s latest creation, Gemini Man, is more of an experiment with animation techniques than it is a quality film. Starring Will Smith as Henry Brogan, an aging elite sniper for a top secret government organisation, requests to retire after his previous mission almost went horribly wrong. Adjusting to retirement, Brogan visits an old friend and discovers a disturbing truth about the man he killed in his last mission. Now on the run, Brogan finds himself fighting an individual as equally skilled as himself.
Prior to seeing Gemini Man I had only ever seen one other film in Ang Lee’s filmography, the 2003 shocker, Hulk. Yes, I have not seen Life of Pi, one film that many raved about back in 2012. Knowing that Ang Lee has a knack for animation, I was excited to see Gemini Man in the newly created 3D+ format. Whilst the standard film is played in 24fps, 3D+ is shown in 60fps and with the 3D element, it is equivalent to 120fps. With the main foe being 100% animated, Ang Lee felt it was important to show the film in a higher frame rate to ensure the animations flowed naturally and were believable on screen. With exception of the very last scene of the film, I felt that Ang Lee was successful with what he set out to create. However, this is where the positives end.
The film as a whole is a mix of many films we have seen before, a top-secret agent that is betrayed and fights to clear his name, and is accompanied by a female that he feels the need to save and eventually falls for. Sadly, this derivative narrative makes the film rather uninspiring. The action scenes, however, are quite exciting.
Will Smith is great in his role as Henry Brogan and as his younger animated self. It couldn’t have been easy to act out fighting scenes and portray emotion when the foe you are fighting doesn’t physically exist until post production. Smith did extremely well with what he was given, and any faults in his performance (if any) are due to the script. Mary Elizabeth Winstead is no stranger to the action landscape and her performance in Gemini Man is, like Smith’s, great with what she had to work with.
As mentioned previously, Gemini Man is more of an experiment with animation technology and the 3D+ creation is visually amazing. You really do feel like you are being drawn into the screen and become part of the action scene as it unfolds right before your eyes. Sadly, I don’t feel this film would work without the HFR experience. The good thing about this film is that the animation techniques used will certainly improve the experience in future films to come and could also be translated to the gaming landscape.
Overall, Gemini Man is not a great film. It is somewhat boring and whilst the action at times was exhilarating, the story was one I had seen many times before. If anything, go see this film just for the 3D+ experience. If you cannot get to a session with in 3D+ just save your time and wait for it to be available on your favourite streaming service.