Gemini Man (2019): ‘Exploring De-aging CGI and Old Ideas’ – A Film Review

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Gemini Man started life as a concept by Darren Lemke before falling into development hell for 22 years. It eventually took new life when Skydance Media bought the rights and Ang Lee, who is known for films like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and dramas like Life of Pi, was brought on to direct. Gemini Man is an action film that boasts a little twist, which is reliant on modern technology. Will Smith appears as two characters in the film and is de-aged in one role. So, in the realms of action cinema looking for more and more reasons to bring people back to the spectacle of cinema, Gemini Man works as an interesting study piece.

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Cinema and Action

There are times where the de-aging process really works and there are times when it is quite noticeable. The drama of the moment and Will Smith’s acting is on point, however. This makes for entertainment beyond the limitations of the technology at hand. It might be distracting at times but it serves the story well. The concept of the film takes the run-of-the-mill action film scenario and makes it more memorable. Further moments of cinema spectacle are the long shot action scenes, that require some extremely planned out choreography. They make for a delight to watch and run fluidly through all moments of the fight. It makes for some thrilling action scenes. This doesn’t always serve the plot as effectively as it could be, sometimes the inherit drama serves better and this takes over by the end of the film.

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The Story, the Characters, the Basics

Action films are being pushed to a new creative edge in order to find new reasons to bring people back to the seats. Gemini Man relies on the concept, as well as the fight scenes to do this; it is the gimmick of the day but it is undeniably impressive. Fortunately, it doesn’t forget to work on the performances of the cast and the drama of the moments. Some characters are developed but in an almost contemporary stock character kind of way. Giving the strength that they are required to have by a contemporary audience. It might all be paint by numbers, but it is done effectively at least for quite an entertaining film.

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Gemini Man, perhaps, has the hallmarks of its troubled production history. A concept in the 90s, modernised for 2019, with the gimmicks of now-a-day action films and blockbusters. Without the direction of Ang Lee and the efforts of the cast, it might have been an annoying flop, but there is some substance to enjoy. Gemini Man is a surprisingly solid piece of cinema. Victim of its times, but a good example of what it wants to be. The technical proficiency may not always hold up, especially in years to come, but only time will tell.



A retired assassin goes on the run from the government, when he discovers one of his pursuers is a young version of himself.




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A Note on My Reviews

Please read ‘On Reviews‘ for a guide to how I write film reviews. Any spoilers are appropriately marked and, though I personally prefer to know little about a film before seeing it, there is a synopsis below the review for any who wish to see one.


Films Mentioned

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (d. Ang Lee Taiwan/Hong Kong/USA/China 2000)

Gemini Man (d. Ang Lee USA/China 2019)

Life of Pi (d. AngLee USA/Taiwan/UK/Canada 2012)


Further Reading

Official Site

Premiere Interviews

Ang Lee Interview

Clive Owen and Cast Interviews

Behind the Scenes


On Creating a Young Will Smith

Some Ideas as to Why Gemini Man Didn’t Do Well


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This was an analytical review of….


Gemini Man (d. Ang Lee USA/China 2019)

gemini man film still

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