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GEMINI MAN

SYNOPSIS:
A hitman (Will Smith) just about to retire faces off against a younger clone of himself.

Review by Louise Keller:
Assassins, clones and spectacular locations are the key ingredients of Gemini Man, a 3D action packed sci-fi thriller from Ang Lee that delivers on action but is short on thrills. While the novelty of a young, digital version of Will Smith is appealing, the film plays by the numbers and lacks the energy and freshness I craved.

It is all very well that Henry Brogan (Smith) is the world's greatest assassin and can shoot a passenger sitting in a speeding train in Liege, but now with 72 kills under his belt, the anti-hero's soul hurts and his conscience kicks in. Time to retire but then he finds himself face to face with his clone - younger, sharper and devoid of personality. It is like seeing a young Will Smith as a blank canvas. Sans charisma. This is despite the fact that Junior is no ordinary clone - Clive Owen's military tycoon Clay Verris has raised him as his own son. Owen is good in this kind of role and Mary Elizabeth Winstead has great appeal as Defense Intelligence Agency's rogue officer.

A far-fetched plot with rogue assassins targeted by their own governments is strung together by well shot action sequences punctuated by heavy musical cues and Lee's preference of using higher frame rates to 'create a more immersive experience'. The result is harsh on the eyes and my cinema companion complained of a headache. The film itself is a bit of a clone - setting out to impress by its sleight of hand, rather than actually impressing by plot, dramatic arc and character. But as you would expect, technicals are impressive - it took two years and 500 visual effects artists to create Smith's digital clone.

Highlights include a breathtaking rooftop motor cycle chase in Colombia's most beautiful city of Cartagena and a thrilling sequence along cobbled streets among its distinctive, colourful buildings. As for Budapest, she wears her prettiest dress. Lee's shot of Smith from Budapest's historic Castle district, with a backdrop of the houses of parliament on the banks of the Danube is picture perfect. You can almost hear the conversation between Lee and cinematographer Dion Beebe, stage managing this cinematic wonder. Then there is the spectacle of the Szechenyi Spa Baths, the sequence in the dimly lit catacoombs and a final gun battle at home in Georgia.

Overall, the film is weighted down by its technical innovations and while it battles its digital novelty, it subsides into an action flick that does not feel especially original.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 1

GEMINI MAN (MA15+)
(US, China, 2019)

CAST: Will Smith, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Clive Owen, Benedict Wong, Douglas Hodge, Thoedora Miranne, Ralph Brown

PRODUCER: Jerry Bruckheimer, David Elison, Dana Goldberg, Don Granger

DIRECTOR: Ang Lee

SCRIPT: David Benioff, Billy Ray, Darren Lemke

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Dion Beebe

EDITOR: TimSquyres

MUSIC: Lorne Balfe

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Guy Hendrix Dyas

RUNNING TIME: 117 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Paramount

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: October 10, 2019







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