Deadshot vs. the Fresh Prince: Not as interesting as it looks.
I acknowledge how Will Smith becomes disappointed with how the public takes some of his movies. “Wild Wild West” was a commercial disappointment, and “Suicide Squad” was disliked by critics, despite its strong box office numbers. He’s lucky to have the “Aladdin” remake become his highest grossing film, and I admire the actor for who he is.
With all due respect, I have conflicting feelings about his next starring role in “Gemini Man,” which has himself in a dual role.
I think it’s a generation thing: using today’s Will Smith against 90s Will Smith, or previously known as the Fresh Prince. Ang Lee’s own “Looper” involves a set-up with a hitman coming face to face with his younger self, who is a clone. You can also tell by the hairstyles and special effects morphed together. These two Smiths are more interesting than the actual movie itself.
The plot is convoluted and dull, as Henry (Smith) is retiring, and his own government is out to execute him. I’m pretty sure it has something to do with him knowing classified information. It always is. So, he takes his only allies: the least interesting characters-a hitwoman (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and a former colleague of his (Benedict Wong)-on the run.
I’m at least grateful it isn’t another dreadful “Fugitive” rip-off like “Taken 3” or “Angel Has Fallen.”
Henry then finds out Clay Varris (Clive Owen), the evil head of a secret black ops program “GEMINI,” is the one who put a bounty on his head. And that same prick made the Fresh Prince clone out of him in order to execute him. It’s for the future of super soldiers. Yeah sure, it always for the future.
The two Smiths both have a ‘Bullet” stylized motorcycle chase and they eventually trade banters about who is better: the old or young. The young, or Junior, is “obviously not the best,” and after coming to their senses, Henry must protect the kid.
It is pretty cool seeing Will Smith play a double role with his clone character having his face de-aged. The old one is allergic to bees, and suffers from aqua phobia, because of a horrible experience, and the young one has trouble understanding his existence. It’s basically “Looper” with the copy, and it does a smarter job with this premise than “Replicas” with Keanu Reeves did.
But Ang Lee’s next entry “Gemini Man” is inferior to his previous masterpieces (“Life of Pi,” “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon”). The story is lackluster and empty, leaving the two Smiths going around in circles, and me pondering on when the film would be over. And the supporting work from Owen, Winstead, and Wong never seems to cut it. It’s a shame to choose the leading man over these fine talents, but he’s the only one (or two in this case) to survive this.
While I was charmed by Smith’s performances, I was also bored by the film’s structure and reasoning. It basically deals with routine elements: troubled pasts, exposures, fugitives, corrupt businessmen, and the meaning of it all. If this were a comedy, it either would be funny or formulaic, depending on the directions it takes.
At least, it goofs on Smith’s actual age, when he says he’s 50, when in correction, he’s 51.
I’ve seen worse movies if its kind in the cloning process, like “Morgan” or “Replicas,” but “Gemini Man” is not something I’d see again and again. It’s more of a one and done deal for me. Sorry to ruin its rep.