Gemini Man wins the award for this year’s “better as a video game” movie.
Gemini Man Synopsis
Government assassin Henry Brogan retires after a near-miss in Belgium. As he anticipates, the US government continues to spy on him in his retirement, to the extent of placing an undercover agent near his new home. From Jack, another retired assassin, Brogan then learns that he might have been lied to about his final mission – a suspicion proven true when Brogan becomes the target of a hit force. As he evades his killers, Brogan realises his change of fate is the handiwork of GEMINI, a top-secret black ops he once belonged to. GEMINI has also created the perfect assassin to take him down.
In my oldest movie reviews, I criticised a few movies as being better off as video games.
With all the edits I’ve since made, I believe I made it clear what I meant by that. But in case I didn’t, here’s what that criticism entails:
- These movies all suffer from a “stage-by-stage” approach. Now, story arcs and chapters are unavoidable in storytelling. But the demarcations in these movies are too obvious and too abrupt.
- The plot is generally a case of intense action scenes loosely chained by important “cut-scenes” and dialogues. This story flow is great for video-games, as it allows the player to fill in the gaps and become part of the story. Used in movies, though, it provides for an alienating viewing experience.
- The whole stage-by-stage business is thrilling for video game players because there a sense of accomplishment. As a movie, it’s like watching your big bro play and knowing you will NEVER even get to touch the controller.
In a nutshell, Gemini Man is all of these. A series of high adrenaline action scenes interlinked by a story that barely strokes the philosophical concepts involved. Passable for a game. Dreary for a movie.
To be fair, it is not entirely the fault of director Lee Ang or the cast. Awful truth is, there’s just no surprise or drama in the story. You know what Gemini means and who Henry Brogan’s not-so-mysterious nemesis is, right from the start. You can easily guess the ending too.
Technically, the script could have been better crafted too. To begin with, the ethical dilemma of human cloning should have received deeper examination. The same for the discussions of nature versus nurture. Or the shadowy ethics of international espionage.
In the end, Gemini Man is little more than a flashy showcase of digital moviemaking technologies. Visually awesome but emotionally distancing. It serves its purpose if you are looking for two hours of popcorn-munching entertainment. For anything else, especially food for thought, it just doesn’t live up to expectations.