Here Henry Brogan (Will Smith) is an elite, albeit ageing government assassin seeking to end his career and enter a life of relaxation and blissful retirement. Having shot an alleged terrorist on a moving bullet train from a distance of two kilometres away, Henry has become somewhat disillusioned after 72 confirmed kills and decided that it really is time to retire. While settling down to the free and easy life at his rural home, he one day meets Dani (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) who is the recently appointed boat rental manager at his local wharf, and they strike up a conversation before Henry takes his boat out for a spot of mackerel fishing. Henry rendezvous with a former colleague aboard his lavish luxury yacht and they enjoy a beer. Henry's friend confides that the alleged terrorist that he killed was in fact an innocent, as advised by an informant named Yuri. Henry has his friend arrange a meeting with Yuri so that he can learn more. Upon leaving Henry looks up at the bright blue cloudless sky and notices a reflection of a drone flying high overhead. Later that night, Henry's friend and former colleague is killed aboard the luxury motor yacht and his body, together with that of his female companion, are thrown overboard.
Spying in on that conversation is Clay Varris (Clive Owen) the ruthless Director of a secret black-ops unit named 'Gemini' and Janet Lassiter (Linda Emond) the Director of the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA). They determine that because Henry is now potentially on their trail, that he needs to be eliminated. Varris has his own ideas of how this should be done, but is overruled by Lassiter. Varris reluctantly agrees, but if her plan all goes south, then Varris will step in and do the job his way using his resources.
Upon arriving back at the harbour Henry asks Dani out for a drink at a dock side bar a couple of days later. He rocks up with a bunch of flowers and a copy of Dani's DIA security clearance having done some investigative work to confirm his suspicions that she was/is a fellow agent sent to survey him. Later that night, Henry is woken from his sleep by heavily armed snipers who had tripped an alarm system surrounding the perimeter of his home. Henry quickly and efficiently dispenses with the four armed men, and calls Dani to warn her that they'll likely be after her too by power of association. Sure enough, while commandeering a speed boat at the harbour, Dani is attacked but is able to disarm her assailant, tie him up and knock out a couple of his teeth in the process. The pair then meet up with trusted former colleague, and long time friend Baron (Benedict Wong) who flies them down to the safety of his own home in Colombia to collect their thoughts and plan their next move to meet up with Yuri.
In the meantime, after Lassiter's attempt to neutralise Henry and Dani, Varris intervenes and sends his own top assassin to kill Henry. The pair get involved in a frenzied attack involving automatic weapons, grenades, knives and a frenetic motorcycle chase sequence through the streets of Cartagena culminating in the assassin gaining the upper hand until the local Police arrive to save the day, and save Henry so allowing the assailant to flee. Henry is locked up but is released following the intervention of Dani in her official capacity as a DIA Agent.
Borrowing a Gulfstream Jet from a good friend, Baron flies Henry and Dani to Budapest to meet with Yuri. There, Dani has a local run a DNA test on a baseball cap left behind by Junior and a blood sample from a bandage used to treat Henry. The test results come back, proving conclusively after three separate assessments, that Junior's and Henry's DNA is identical - a 100% match. They deduce therefore that Junior is a clone of Henry. Later Henry meets Yuri Kovacs (Ilia Volok), who informs him of the cloning project and that the man Henry killed was one of the project’s Scientists. Having designed a method to produce clones devoid of pain or emotion, the Scientist attempted to distance himself from the project and was killed upon being discovered.
I didn't like 'Gemini Man', but I didn't loathe it either. My impression of this relative by the numbers fairly formulaic offering sits some where mid-stream. Sure it's entertaining enough, the action set pieces maintain the interest for all the extensive choreography that must have gone into them; Will Smith at age 51 beating up, or getting beaten up by Will Smith at age 23 is interesting and for the most part well executed; and Brogans back up team of Winstead and Wong add some gravitas and levity to the otherwise predictable storyline that we have seen in countless movies before, and more often than not with sharper dialogue. Ang Lee's use of a 120 frames per second renders the film with a clarity of image that you'll either appreciate for what it is or hate it, and this is something that has divided the Critics the world over - some praising the Directors ingenuity and for embracing the technology while others have lambasted him. And then there is the de-aging process seen here with Will Smith the younger and younger still which has also divided audiences and yet is steadily becoming commonplace having seen this used with Samuel L. Jackson in 'Captain Marvel' recently and with Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci in the upcoming 'The Irishman'. Ang Lee is certainly not one to shy away from the use of cutting edge technology in his films - both in front and behind the camera, but a little more thought to the plot, imbuing the film with a little more humour and a little more attention to the script could have made this film greater than the sum of its parts.
'Gemini Man' warrants three claps of the Odeon Online clapperboard from a potential five.
-Steve, at Odeon Online-