When the Special Effect is the Plot, Gemini Man is What You Get

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It's WILL SMITH vs WILL SMITH when the classic "nature versus nurture" debate gets tested in the world of highly-skilled assassins.

Smith plays Henry, a superior marksman with a number of kills to his credit all of whom were bad guys looking to do harm to America. Until this last job. When he misses his kill shot by a few inches (still killing the man), he decides it's time to hang it up and retire. After all, an inch in the wrong direction can mean the difference between a righteous kill and an innocent victim.

However, Henry's last target wasn't what Henry was led to believe: he was the loose end in a secret government program called "Gemini." And now the last dangling thread is Henry himself. He manages to fight off an attack of several men, picking up a partner in Agent Dani Zakarweski (BIRDS OF PREY's MARY ELIZABETH WINSTEAD) by accident. And when the men behind his kill order realize Henry escaped, they send in their best man.

Junior.

Who just happens to look exactly like Henry, thirty years ago.

It turns out Gemini is a human cloning project, and Henry was the test subject. Project head Clay Verris (CLIVE OWEN) recognized Henry's talents and dreamed fo what he could do with an army of men like him -- men exactly like him. What follows is a cross-global chase as the best assassin in the business meets his better in his younger self. But can knowing how his younger self's innermost fears work help him out of this jam?

GEMINI MAN hinges on a one-trick pony: the special effect of having a digitized, younger Smith on the screen battling with the present-day Smith. It might have been a bit more fun if the writers had loosened up a bit and just accepted that a younger Smith would be a bit more of a wise-cracker, ready to "get jiggy with it" and party. But Junior is all business, yet full of self-doubts about his work (as well he should be, since he's supposed to be the best and Henry keeps getting away from him).

Ultimately, GEMINI MAN is good for a single watch, on home video option, but there's just not enough memorable scenes in it to make the story itself memorable other than referring to it as "The one where Will Smith fights himself."

Grade: 
3.0 / 5.0