Gemini Man: This movie makes Will Smith want to kill himself.

Get a hold of yourself, Will! Photo courtesy of Paramount Pictures

If someone told me that Fresh Prince Will Smith was co-starring with hunky mature Will Smith in a film by the director of Brokeback Mountain, I’d be bringing a handful of tissues into the theater, and not to dab my eyes ifyouknowwhatimean.

But holy mother of L Ron Hubbard does this thing reek. Dang, Ang, WTF?

Let’s procrastinate for a sec and discuss this de-aging business. It seems to be all the rage lately, with this and The Irishman and who knows what’s to come. But you know what? I don’t see many ladies getting digitally de-aged. The studios can spend millions in after-effects to take decades off Smith and DeNiro and Pacino and Michael Douglas but female actors have to spend their own money, go under a knife, and risk the Zellwegger/Ryan/Grey effect that forces them into hiding? Unfair, I say! (ps, welcome back, Renee, #judy #bestactress)

OK, let’s get to the plop. I mean plot.

Will Smith’s assassin, Ernest Dullard (not actually his character’s name but more fitting), wants to retire which means his meanie boss wants him eliminated (spy movie cliché #1 of 14,000 more to come). But if you’ve ever watched any Will Smith movie, you know no one can take out Will Smith except perhaps…Will Smith. So Fresh Prince is called in to kill Aladdin’s genie, a premise that would have made a much more fun movie. And do we at least get some interesting new face from a hip Netflix show to play the villain? No, we get Clive Owen, whose edge wore down years ago. So off we go with these two genre-exhausted actors into a plot that sounds reeled off by a 12-year-old who’s just trying to get you out of the room so he can focus on Fortnite.

It’s a surprise and then not actually one at all to see that David Benioff co-wrote the screenplay. He must have been too busy hacking up the final season of Game of Thrones when this job came along, so instead of writing one single original or clever or non-groan-inducing line, he just pulled all the clichés he could find from every Bond and Bourne and Mission Impossible film ever made. And added some Hancock just to squeeze lemon juice in the paper cut.

And Ang Lee?? He must have been living in a Zaha Hadid-designed bubble the past decade, because no one told him that this movie was made seven years ago with Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon Levitt. It was called Looper, and didn’t need whizz-bang effects because the plot was actually interesting.

The whizz-bang in Gemini Man is some 120 frames-per-inch PSI 4G thingy. Ang is very excited about it, and I will admit that the technology makes a stuntman performing a movie motorcycle chase feel 18% more like a stuntman performing a movie motorcycle chase.

This is a bunch of gamers making a movie just to play with their joysticks, a lets-do-it-because-we-can special-effects fest. I bitch over this not because I don’t respect special effects and those with the expertise to create them – I totally do, Terminator is what broke my obeisance to Bette Davis movies – but because the studio money this particular use of it vacuumed up could have made five narratively better films and spread out to a lot more craftspeople than just those who sit in front of Apple monitors. And digi-guys, think about it: when you apply this hyper-realism to a big hunk of cheese all people see are the giant stinky holes.

 Gemini Man just looks at itself and then back at itself, and forgets we’re out in the audience waiting for a good story.

#movies #moviereview #ratedfritz #geminiman

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