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Gemini Man


Ang Li has made some of the most visually arresting films of the past two decades. His "Life of Pi" in 2012 featured jaw-dropping digital effects. But you have to go all the way back to 2000 to see his last real action (albeit esoteric action) film in "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon".

GEMINI MAN surprised the hell out of me with a compelling story, fantastic visual effects and excellent action sequences.

Like most of the movie going public, I was put off by the trailers, which seemed to promise an old Will Smith vs young Will Smith, a concept that left me uninterested. The actual film is a lot more than that.

Smith is government operative and assassin Henry Brogan. After a final assignment that leaves him shaken (and us exhausted, as its a long range sniper target on a European bullet train, perfectly staged by Lee) Henry decides he's had enough and decides to retire.

When a casual meeting with a fellow operative puts Henry in the wrong place at the wrong time, that shadowy government agency that's always in these films and operates in the dark decides Henry knows too much.

The agency is run by Clay Verris, played by Clive Owen in a horrific case of miscasting that leaves poor Owen in the weeds. He's never believable, coming off like a second rate Bond villain versus a formidable adversary for Henry's talents.

Much better is Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Danny, an operative sent to keep an eye on Henry who ends up on the run with him. Anyone who saw Fargo season 2 knows how good Winstead is, she's terrific here.

So....Verris sends his new project, a younger, cloned version on Henry to take out the original. The digital effects that allow Smith to battle Smith are stellar and the all CGI younger Will is freaky good, but sometimes just "off" enough to make you wonder what you're looking at.

If the last half becomes a tad predictable, its carried by Smith's charm as a tired, ready to settle down soldier.

There are some weapons on display that will make any traditional action fan drool and the showdown in a small town is a lot of fun, with large scale and hand to hand battles that deliver on every count.

Surprisingly enjoyable, GEMINI MAN was cursed by bad previews and a lack of interest, losing over $100 million against its budget. It deserves a look on digital platforms. In 4K and Dolby Atmos at home, its a stunner.

GEMINI gets a solid B.

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