‘Gemini Man’ tortures viewers with plotlessness

Henry (Will Smith) and his sidekick Danny (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) assess their surroundings in a scene from

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Henry (Will Smith) and his sidekick Danny (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) assess their surroundings in a scene from "Gemini Man."

Gabriella Polin, Guest Writer

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If you’re looking for an overwhelmingly mediocre action movie featuring multiple Will Smiths, “Gemini Man” is the movie for you.

As I sat down in the theater with my painfully overpriced ticket, I held onto hope that Will Smith would come through and make this less-than-promising concept into an amazing film. The opening scene didn’t disappoint; however, the movie quickly went downhill from there.

The movie is focused on Henry (Will Smith), a professional sniper who wants to retire from his job. However, he’s thrown for a loop when an assassin shows up to kill him – an assassin who just-so-happens to be his clone. If you think that’s interesting, then you’re in luck, because that’s the entire plot.

It’s just two Will Smiths. How fascinating.

For reference, “Gemini Man” reminded me a bit of “Central Intelligence,” but without the humor (or Kevin Hart and Dwayne Johnson). It had quite a few fight scenes, a similar modern-day setting, and a healthy amount of outright confusion. However, it completely lacked a strong plotline. If it feels like I’ve been emphasizing this, it’s because I have been.

The movie simply has a weak plot. The climax makes it seem rewarding until there is a massive plot twist thrown in that messes up everything and raises a crazy amount of unanswered questions.

Sophomore Adam Widina attended the movie with me, equally hopeful and interested by the presence(s) of the one and only Will Smith. However, when recalling the quality of the film, Widina said, “I think a lot of the scenes were pretty standard action movie type stuff… it wasn’t so good near the ending [because they] kind of threw a plot twist in without any warning.”

About halfway through the movie, I began checking how much time remained. The plot was getting repetitive and painful to watch. The directors seemed to forget that having two Will Smiths on screen at once wasn’t an appropriate substitute for a compelling storyline.

To the movie’s credit, the acting did compensate quite well for the arguable lack of plot. Alongside the multiple Will Smiths stood Mary Elizabeth Winstead, a feisty actress best known for her role as Ramona Flowers in “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.” She managed to redeem the movie a bit with her character development and nail-biting gun-fighting prowess.

Additionally, “Gemini Man” featured Benedict Wong, which some may recognize as Wong from Marvel’s “Dr. Strange.” His subtle humor made scenes bearable to watch by rescuing the boring plotline with a quip or two. Though he didn’t get as much screen time as Winstead or Smith, his role was more memorable than most of the recurring cast.

And finally – the man, the myth, the legend – Willard Carroll Smith Jr., who starred in movies such as “I Am Legend,” “Men in Black,” and “Independence Day,” making him a household name. Without him, the movie probably wouldn’t even score a 10% on Rotten Tomatoes. Sure, watching an internationally praised actor interact with anyone is impressive, but watching Will Smith literally confront himself for two hours is a wild ride.

So even if there’s a weak plot and a painfully long runtime that makes the audience feel like they’re being punished for buying tickets, Wong, Winstead, and Smith make the movie almost worth watching.

Almost.

The amount of respect one may build for the movie from these actors is absolutely obliterated by the other characters. It kind of feels like the director chose three big names and then let an intern bring their college friends in for the other roles. Widina said, “Any character that wasn’t over 18 was just a classic trope, like ‘oh, haha, high school kid;’ it felt kind of bland.”

If I could have a little chat with director Ang Lee, I would make a few recommendations before he embarked on his next project. Recommendations like, “Hey, maybe don’t make this movie go for an hour longer than it has to” or “it doesn’t have to be so painfully serious” or maybe even “try not to confuse every single viewer to the point where they don’t know which Will Smith they’re looking at.”

I would also advise against the stereotypical background characters, as they make the movie feel lazy.

All in all, the movie was completely carried by the three main actors and overwhelmingly mediocre. I’d give it two out of five Will Smiths.

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