Cast: Will Smith, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Clive Owen
Director: Ang Lee
Ang Lee is one of those filmmakers who can change the narrative style by just adopting to a different camera technique. Films such as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Hulk, Brokeback Mountain and Life of Pi have shown how he relies more on the visuals than spoken words.
Even a relatively weaker Lee film like Lust, Caution has his authority stamped over crucial scenes. You would identify these Lee films even without looking at the end credits. Sadly, it’s not the same with his latest Gemini Man. In fact, you’d be surprised how this is diametrically opposite to Lee’s way of punctuating philosophy in action scenes.
Will Smith (whatever has happened to that adorable actor) plays a government-trained assassin Henry Brogan in this done to death story. Like hundred other Hollywood films, his own people are after his life. Danny Zakarweski, played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead, a former agent, is his ally. They’re running away from Clay Varris (Clive Owen), who runs a secret assassin group called Gemini.
There is a twist though. There are more than one Will Smith. Is that a good thing? With Ang Lee at the helm of affairs, maybe yes. You would probably expect a solid dose of life lessons while two Smiths indulge in some breathtaking actions. Unfortunately, that never happens!
There are choppers, fighter jets and everything else you would want Jason Bourne err Henry Brogan to have. It begins well too. There’s a solid, adrenaline pumping chase scene in Colombia. For a brief moment, you begin to appreciate cinematographer Dion Beebe and Lee’s command over handheld cameras, but the happiness is short lived as Smith returns to paddle his trademark emotional dialogues to absolutely no effect.
At no point in the film, the audience gets a grip of the story or why it’s told one more time. The transition between scenes are so lethargic that the steam gets lost right when it is needed the most. Lee hasn’t given ample space to any emotion, and Smith is definitely not enough to stop you from looking at your phone.
There is no thrill in meeting this Gemini Man.
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