Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Ang Lee|
|Music by||Lorne Balfe|
|Edited by||Tim Squyres|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|Box office||$149.3 million|
Gemini Man is a 2019 American action thriller film directed by Ang Lee and written by David Benioff, Billy Ray, and Darren Lemke. Starring Will Smith, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Clive Owen, and Benedict Wong, the film follows a hitman who is targeted by a younger clone of himself while on the run from the government.
Originally conceived in 1997, the film went through development hell for nearly 20 years. Several directors, including Tony Scott, Curtis Hanson, and Joe Carnahan, were all attached at some point and numerous actors, including Harrison Ford, Mel Gibson, and Sean Connery, were set to star. In 2016, Skydance Media purchased the rights to the screenplay (which had been through several rewrites) from Disney and in October 2017, Ang Lee signed on to direct for Skydance with Paramount handling the distribution rights. Filming took place from February through May 2018.
Gemini Man premiered at the Zurich Film Festival on October 1, 2019 and was theatrically released in the United States by Paramount Pictures on October 11, 2019, in standard 2D, Dolby Cinema, and IMAX as well as in HFR (high frame rate) “3D+” on select screens (including 16 Dolby Cinema and 47 IMAX with Laser screens worldwide). The film received generally negative reviews from critics, who complimented the performances but lamented the script and plot. The de-aging of Smith and the high frame-rate of 120 FPS also drew a mixed response, with some critics praising them as technical achievements, while others felt they were unconvincing. It has grossed $149 million against an estimated budget of $138 million, becoming a box-office bomb, with projected losses as high as $75 million.
Henry Brogan, an aging government assassin, is sent on a mission to assassinate an anonymous terrorist aboard a bullet train. During the mission, Henry’s spotter warns him of a young girl approaching the target, causing Henry to delay his shot until the last second, shooting the man in the neck despite aiming for his head. Disillusioned with killing, Henry retires from government service.
While adjusting to retirement, Henry meets boat rental manager Dani and reconnects with an old friend, Jack, who reveals that an informant named Yuri told him that the man Henry killed was innocent; demanding proof, Henry has Jack arrange a meeting with Yuri. In retaliation for Henry knowing their deception, agency director Lassiter plans to kill him; Clay Varris, head of a top-secret black ops unit codenamed “GEMINI”, requests permission to eliminate him but is denied.
Realizing Dani is a fellow agent sent to monitor him, Henry befriends her. After his home is broken into by government agents, Henry calls his spotter, who is killed along with Jack and his mistress. Henry warns Dani about the attack and they manage to kill the assassins sent after them, learning the agency wants them both dead.
Escaping to Colombia, Henry and Dani go to the home of Henry’s former colleague Baron, and plan to meet with Yuri for further options. Meanwhile, Clay dispatches his top assassin to kill Henry. Fighting him off, Henry realizes the assassin bears an uncanny resemblance to himself as a young man, with a similar skill set. When the injured assassin arrives at a safehouse, he is revealed to be Clay’s adopted “son” Junior. Although he is curious about his similarities to Henry, Junior is ordered to finish the job.
Henry is also troubled by his similarities to the assassin, whom Dani suggests might be his child despite Henry’s denials. Testing DNA samples recovered from Junior, Dani discovers that his and Henry’s DNA are identical – Junior is Henry’s younger clone. Desperate for answers, Henry meets Yuri in Hungary, and learns of the cloning project and that the man he killed was one of the project’s scientists. Having designed a method to produce clones devoid of pain or emotion, the scientist tried to leave the project and was killed upon being discovered.
To try and get Junior to turn away from Clay’s intentions, Henry calls Lassiter, who agrees to send Junior to bring Dani safely back to the United States. Collecting Dani, Junior sets up a trap for Henry, but she warns him via a covert listening device hidden in her tooth. Ambushing the younger assassin, Henry explains to Junior that he is a clone, convincing him by revealing their similar traits that no one else could know. Escaping back to GEMINI, a heartbroken Junior confronts Clay, who claims that he must defeat Henry in order to surpass him.
Finding Henry after sneaking out of GEMINI, Junior allies with him to bring down Clay, while he urges Junior to quit in order to become someone better. Baron is killed in an ambush ordered by Clay, with Junior knocking Clay unconscious after a brief hand-to-hand fight.
After defeating a wave of GEMINI operatives, Henry, Dani, and Junior face another clone with special body armor who feels no pain or emotions. After shooting the clone repeatedly and along with several secondary explosions, they manage to kill it. A defeated Clay tries to justify his actions towards Junior, who almost shoots him. Henry persuades Junior otherwise and kills Clay himself, having already lived with the heavy burden.
Ensuring that there are no more clones that were produced and that they are finally free from harm’s way, Henry later meets with Junior, who has enrolled into college under the assumed identity of “Jackson Brogan” after Henry’s surname. Together, Henry and Dani plan Jackson’s future.
- Will Smith as Henry Brogan, an aging government assassin with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and Ex-Marine corps, regarded as the best killer of his generation.
- Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Dani Zakarweski, a Navy veteran and DIA agent who helps Henry after he saves her from being assassinated.
- Clive Owen as Clayton “Clay” Varris, the ruthless director of GEMINI who creates Junior to “retire” Henry and take his place.
- Benedict Wong as Baron, an old friend of Henry’s who works as a tour operator.
- Ralph Brown as Del Patterson, Henry’s handler at the DIA.
- Linda Emond as Janet Lassiter, the director of the DIA.
- Theodora Miranne as Kitty, Jack’s mistress.
- Douglas Hodge as Jack Willis, an old Marine Corps colleague of Henry’s.
- Ilia Volok as Yuri Kovacs, a Russian operative who has been secretly monitoring GEMINI’s history.
- E. J. Bonilla as Marino, a DIA agent killed for his association with Henry.
- Björn Freiberg as Keller
This was a good flick. I have a few gripes about the effects, but those are only about the few places where the climbing and fighting was so cartoon-ish as to seem “B rate.” Other than that it was well made and pretty much family friendly save for a bit of violence and language. The age effects are cool, and Will Smith is a great actor. I’ll give it 4 stars for Action packed fun – MR