Will Smith’s career as a movie star has been a legendary ride, with such huge hits as BAD BOYS and MEN IN BLACK kicking it all off in the ‘90s and ALADDIN proving why he’s an absolute legend earlier this year. But with GEMINI MAN, Smith finds himself facing off against his most challenging co-star: his younger self.
GEMINI MAN sees Will Smith playing Henry Brogan, a government-sanctioned hit man who’s looking to retire from the trade once and for all. His former employers won’t let him go without a fight, though, as they eventually send the only man that could kill Henry onto his path: a clone replica named Junior.
Director Ang Lee is no stranger to pushing the limits of concept or technology, and GEMINI MAN sees him giving audiences two doses of Will Smith, thanks to the creation of a CG character that embodies the Smith everyone remembers from the early ‘90s. Actor Victor Hugo was used as an on-set reference, but when it came to creating Junior, he wasn’t just a de-aged performance, but a total recreation of the actor’s younger self.
The effect is something you need to see to believe, especially in a sequence that’s featured in the GEMINI MAN trailers, where Henry and Junior face off in a catacomb that eventually becomes a battleground. And with the film being shot at 120 frames per second, digital effects like Junior are under even more intense scrutiny as the action looks different than a typical 24 frames per second presentation.
But past the boundary-pushing effects is the fact that Will Smith gives two very different performances in GEMINI MAN. As Henry, Smith looks weary and ready to get right with the world after a career in murder. Meanwhile, in the role of Junior, he gets to recount his cockier days as an actor, with the same sort of emotional vulnerability that made him famous in films like SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION. It’s an actor’s dream to stretch their talents that far, and Will Smith is one of those stars the world would readily believe in such a context.
In the end, the visual mastery on display in GEMINI MAN is even more impressive when you realize just how cutting edge the result is. Also, being able to believe that two different Will Smiths are fighting it out for survival on the screen, in an era where visual effects are already pretty impressive, is a feat that makes for some fun moviegoing.
But ultimately, it goes nowhere without the heart and soul of a performer like Smith in the role. And you can see for yourself when GEMINI MAN opens in theatres on October 11. Tickets are now on sale, so head over to the AMC website to purchase yours.