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Laramie Movie Scope: Gemini Man

Spy, hit man and clone

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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October 18, 2019 – An Ang Lee film is worth watching, even if the reviews are bad, but I also wanted to see “Gemini Man” because of its unique technical aspects. I went out of my way to see this film the way it was shot, in high frame rate 3D.

The last time a similar film was released was during Peter Jackson's Hobbit series of films, but the technology was so new back then, that very few theaters could show it in 3D at a high frame rate. This time, I could see it this way in my home town. It was shot in 4K (double the usual resolution) and 120 frames per second (five times the usual frame rate).

To me, the picture looks sharper, with more detail, in this presentation. I suspect the projection I saw was 2K rather than 4K and the frame rate was 60 frames per second, rather than 120, but I could still see a difference over the usual 24 frames per second.

This high frame rate projection is actually similar to some home theater projectors or TVs which are also capable of high frame rates. In a sense, commercial movie theaters are lagging behind the technical capabilities of some home theaters because most movie theaters show movies in less than 4K resolution, and most of them don't show all the 3D movies they could, or at the highest resolutions they could, either. Most have still not caught up with the capabilities of the discontinued 4K OLED 3D TVs made by LG several years ago.

So what about the movie itself, besides the fact it looked great, with sharp detail and exceptional cinematography? I was pleasantly surprised by this underrated film. To me, it is a good action film with some interesting characters.

Will Smith (“Aladdin”) stars as government hit man Henry Brogan. As the film opens, he is seen killing a man on a moving train from a long distance away, with a single bullet, aided by his on-site spotter Marino (E.J. Bonilla). Brogan is the best at what he does, but he decides to retire abruptly, feeling he has lost his edge. The moral weight of his 70 kills, his “ghosts,” are also bothering him.

An old friend informs him that his final assignment was a phony one. He had been told the man he killed was a terrorist, but he was actually a scientist who knew too much about a secret government cloning project. When Brogan starts investigating this, he, and his government contacts all become targets. He has to unravel the mystery behind the secret government project if he hopes to survive.

Along for this wild ride is government agent Dani Zakarweski (Mary Elizabeth Winstead of “10 Cloverfield Lane”). She has been assigned to keep tabs on Brogan. She becomes a target for assassins when Brogan is targeted. These two are joined by Baron (Benedict Wong of “Avengers: Endgame”) a pilot, and old friend of Brogan's.

Clay Verris (played by Clive Owen of “The International”) head of a secret government program, sends an elite agent to kill Brogan, Zakarweski and Baron, after the initial wave of government killers fails. Brogan and Zakarweski get a good look at this agent and they soon discover he is a clone, a younger version of Brogan himself.

This makes the situation complicated, because the clone, called “Junior” (also played by Smith, along with “on set motion-capture reference” actor Victor Hugo) is unaware of his true origins or the true nature of his assignment. Brogan does not want to kill Junior because that would be like killing himself, or his son. Junior also has a complicated relationship to Verris, who raised him and treated him like a son.

The complex relationship of these people is at the heart of this film. But the best scenes in the film are the action scenes, which are well choreographed and photographed. There are lot of fights, shootouts and chases in the film. The film's pace seems fairly fast because of this.

As a technical achievement, the film is impressive. The motion capture and computerized “de-aging” of Will Smith to create the illusion of a second, younger version of him in the same scenes, is effective, as are the action scenes. Oscar-winning cinematographer Dion Beebe captures the action very well. I could quibble with some of the plot points and character motivations, but overall, this is a good action film with some interesting characters. This film rates a B.

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in digital formats, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 2019 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)

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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at dalek three zero one nine at gmail dot com [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]