Action Drama

Review: ‘Gemini Man’ Uses Sci-Fi Action to Explore the Ethics of Cloning

October 11, 2019Britany Murphy

The idea of cloning once seemed impossible. However, after a sheep named Dolly became the first mammal cloned, what was once unattainable became a reality. Enter Gemini Man, the new film from Academy Award-winning director Ang Lee that explores the ethical and moral implications of just that — the impossible.

The story revolves around elite assassin Henry Brogan (Will Smith), a US government operative on his way to retirement. But when his own country turns against him, believing him to be privy to some highly confidential information, Henry finds himself unsure of who he can trust. With his life now in danger, the expert marksman has no choice but to go on the run, doing battle with an army of trained killers sent by his former colleague Clay Verris (Clive Owen). The one thing Henry never expected, however, was that one of his opponents would be himself — albeit a much younger, but equally deadly, version. Both astonished and confused, Henry embarks on a search for the truth, getting help from fellow agent, Danny Zakarweski (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), and his old friend, Baron (Benedict Wong), along the way.

Much like Lee's past works, the result is technically sound and beautiful to look at. However, while thrilling, it also suffers from the kind of predictability typically seen in other action thrillers. Of course, none of this has anything to do with Lee's proficiency and prowess behind the camera, but rather everything to do with a script that isn't always up to par with the direction of the movie itself. There are a few lines of dialogue that fall a bit flat, and also a few moments where viewers may find it hard to suspend their disbelief, and while this is usually detrimental to a film, somehow Lee finds ways to make it work.

On top of this, the performances by Smith, Winstead, Wong and Owen are exceptionally good and make a great case for giving Gemini Man a watch, with Smith warring with his younger self being the movie's main highlight. Whether it's the duo fighting or having a serious moment where Henry wants his younger self to know that there is more to life than being a hired killer, both the current version of Smith and his computer-generated younger counterpart are a treat to watch. There are also some emotionally impactful moments that audiences might not expect, which end up being some of the film's best-written scenes. If only the movie leaned more into these dramatic moments in lieu of some of the action and fight scenes, then perhaps it would have better found its wheelhouse.

Despite its flaws, Gemini Man still manages to be an entertaining crowd-pleaser, with Lee bringing his signature style to the film being a large factor in how enjoyable it is. And although the premise feels far-fetched at times, the truly thrilling action scenes and fight choreography coupled with the great performances by the star-studded cast make this something worth seeing on the big screen.

Gemini Man releases October 11th, 2019 from Paramount Pictures. The film has an MPAA rating of PG-13 for violence and action throughout, and brief strong language. Its runtime is 1 hr. 57 min.

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