Popcorn Picks Review: ‘Gemini Man’ is one of the worst films of the year


Photo credit: Autumn Bohner

Richard Andrus, Assistant Arts & Entertainment Editor

There seems to be a formula for action films nowadays. Over the past 10 years or so, a plethora of films within the genre have become so predictable.

With the rise of filmmakers such as Michael Bay who feature an abundance of extravagant special effects in their work, action films have begun catering almost exclusively to the preteen boy market. Directors feature an abundance of large scale combat sequences with guns blazing and explosions galore over a well-developed script with character development and emotional ties for the audience.

All in all, “Gemini Man” is just that – another senseless, formulaic action film.

Minor spoilers ahead.

“Gemini Man” tells the story of Henry Brogan, a seasoned government mercenary who is considered to be the best killer of his generation. He has spent the entirety of his career working with the Defense Intelligence Agency, eliminating nearly a hundred individuals seen to be a threat to international safety and security.

Despite his title and track record, Brogan decides to retire from the agency after a job gone wrong. However, he unexpectedly gets thrown back into the act after becoming aware of some of the agency’s faults and secrets, including a classified government unit named “GEMINI.” After hearing about Brogan’s knowledge of their flaws, the agency is prompted to retaliate and attempts to assassinate him.

The Taiwanese filmmaker, most well known for 2012’s “Life of Pi,” chose to film with the set frame rate of 120 frames per second (FPS) – radically higher than the industry standard of 24 FPS. While filmmakers have previously incorporated higher frame rates, including but not limited to Peter Jackson for his “Hobbit” trilogy with 48 FPS, none until Lee had dared to use such an experimental frame rate that the majority of theaters showing the film in the United States are unable to project, making them settle to present it in 60 FPS instead.

In addition to the frame rate, Lee also decided it would be best to incorporate a brand new concept known as 3D+. This revolutionary format, while side-by-side with a higher frame rate, makes viewers feel and experience more than regular 3D by having an increased amount of depth and resonance within every frame.

After viewing the film in 60 FPS and 3D+, I can confidently say that it was a waste of my time and money. While a few of the combat sequences were somewhat entertaining to view and some of the CG integrated was impressive, everything else was just not enjoyable in the slightest.

The high frame rate and 3D+ came off as freakishly disorienting. It certainly did not help that the film changes from a third-person perspective to a first-person perspective within several scenes either, as that made for an uncomfortable viewing experience at times.

When the film started, it felt more like a sequel than a standalone film. It barely gave an in-depth introduction to any of the characters other than Brogan and his female co-star Dani, played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead, which made it remarkably difficult to follow and care about the plot. Even though both of these characters had proper introductions, not enough backstory was given to make audiences care about them.

There was no emotional connection to any character in this film at all. In fact, various scenes had characters first introduce themselves and merely be killed off in the very next, making their roles come off as absolutely pointless in the overall film.

In the end, I gained nothing from this film except for the realization that Will Smith has not had a single critically acclaimed film in the last decade. Despite what the Fresh Prince and Ang Lee may preach, “Gemini Man” will not change that. It is incredibly predictable from the first to the last second and is easily one of the worst films of 2019.

Audiences have already spoken with their wallets, with The Hollywood Reporter approximating that the film will end its theatrical run at a $75 million deficit.

I would not recommend this movie to anyone under any circumstance unless they were planning on making fun of it, as that could at least be more enjoyable than watching it crash and burn for over two hours.

Final rating: 1 kernel out of 4

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