directed by Ang Lee
Modern visual effects have long struggled with the human form, until now.
Gemini Man, from pioneer Ang Lee (Life of Pi; Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), demonstrates just how far technology has come: present-day (real) Will Smith, replete with greyed hair and creased face, interacts with and even does battle with his digital double, a younger clone of his own grizzled special forces veteran de-aged to about the time he was crowned the fresh prince of Bel-Air.
The Weta Digital-created result is convincing. Smith Jr’s gob moves organically. Sweat and tears tumble down smoothed skin. Even his flattop looks pretty good. It’s so much a marvel, in fact, that it leaves us with one question: why is it so boring?
For all its smarts, Gemini Man is still an 80s era B-movie leaning on some tired stuff about rogue spooks and hired assassins. The film comes alive only in two action sequences that stand out for their in-camera choreography rather than orchestrated trickery.
It’s more of an industry showcase than a decent thriller, proving that all of these leaps in technology, these skilfully created masks, are pointless unless they hang on the skeleton and muscle of a good story.
IN CINEMAS NOW
This article was first published in the October 26, 2019 issue of the New Zealand Listener.