Michael Scott

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Gemini Man


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Movie: :3stars:
Video: :5stars:
Audio: :4.5stars:
Extras: :2stars:
Final Score: :3.5stars:



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Movie

Ang Lee has always been a very passionate and intuitive director. Not all of his films work, but he really puts his heart and soul into them. He’s made some INCREDIBLE films in multiple different genres over the year (my mother’s favorite film is Sense and Sensibility), but lately he’s become really impassioned with moving visual film making in a new direction. One of his opinions is that without CHANGING something in film making, it is going to die out due to being stagnant. With that in mind he has pressed forward into making films in different frame rates and using much higher tech digital cameras to try and create a different feel and texture to the movie watching experience.

Gemini Man is his long awaited technical masterpiece, having been in production hell for well over a decade (almost two really) as the studios have awaited for the technology to catch up with Lee’s vision. Shot with 120fps 3D cameras, Gemini Man is a visually stunning film, but one that very well may be extremely controversial depending on HOW you watch the movie. There are only a few theaters in the entire U.S. that can project 120 fps 3D film, so many theaters were forced to show it in 120 fps 2D, or 60 fps 2D (and in some cases, not even that depending on studio age), so each person got to see it slightly differently. The Blu-ray format is only capable of traditional 24 fps viewing, but the 4K UHD disc (much like Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk) is capable of 60 fps in 2D (no physical format is has the 3D presentation), and watching the two back to back produced a drastically different experience.

I’m honestly not sure whether the near two decade wait was worth it really. I understand that Ang Lee was using the movie as a vehicle for the 120 fps cinematography, but the story REALLY suffers quite a bit, while the video thrives. The film is about as deep as a paper mache tiger and really only serves as a near two hour vehicle for Ang Lee’s visual vision. If you watched the trailer then you know that there are no hidden secrets or plot for you to unravel. Will Smith is Henry Brogan, a government assassin who just wants to return after killing his 72nd mark. With his kills weighing heavily on his heart, Brogan settles down to fish, only to receive some information from an old friend that puts him at risk. His old agency, headed up by one Clay Verris (Clive Owen), wants him dead for that information, and sends after him the only person who can kill the best assassin in the world. Himself.

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Yup, it’s that simple. Will Smith is cloned by Verris 23 years ago, and has built up a clone that is faster, better, and without the weaknesses and mental defects of his more “human” predecessor. It’s a plot device that we’ve seen in dozens of movies. The Reavers in Serenity/Firefly being one of the most prevalent. Playing God in order to make a better soldier or a better human. The rest of the movie is one giant chase scene as Henry and his accidental agency partner Danny (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) run from one corner of the globe with Henry’s young clone hot on their trail. The film is a mess of action scenes as Ang Lee uses some incredible angles and bits of cinematography to try and tell the tale visually.

The only problem is, the film is a bit TOO thin in the plot department. I don’t mind big, dumb, action movies at all. In fact I revel in them. But Gemini Man is so paper thin than the only thing holding it together is the incredible visuals and Will Smith’s Charisma. Benedict Wong, Clive Owen and Mary Elizabeth Winstead do their best with what they’re given, but the script really hamstrings their efforts at being anything other than stereotypes. Will Smith is honestly the best part of the whole cast, as he proves that he has most certainly not lost the charm and charisma that shot him to stardom in the 1990s. Ironically he gets to play two characters as well. Even though there’s a heavy layer of digital manipulation over the face of his stunt double, as they did in Rogue One for Princess Leia and Tarkin, he voices the young man simultaneously as Henry.




Rating:

Rated PG-13, violence and action throughout, and brief strong language




Video: :5stars:
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While the Blu-ray disc doesn’t sport the same technological advancements that the 4K UHD disc was capable of, the 24 fps viewing was actually the more enjoyable experience, and at the peak of the format’s capabilities as well. The Blu-ray is razor sharp, clean, and visually stunning. There’s a very color neutral grading to the whole thing, although there was a few darker scenes that looked like some blue and teal peaked in for a little bit. Details are stunningly clear, and the opening shot with Henry up on the hillside with his rifle is amazing to see. The CGI is a bit wonky at times (why did they choose to speed up the clones bodies so much and use so much CGI for them? It looks awkward here, and unnecessary), but even with it being 24fps you can see that it was filmed at a higher frame rate if you really look. I’ve noticed that with HFR films that are put on Blu-ray you notice a smooth feel to certain motions, and even though it’s really subtle, I can still pick it up if I look for it. Blacks are deep and inky, and shadow detail leaves nothing to the imagination. The underground fight between Henry and his clone looks stunning, allowing the viewer to see every bit of the action without crush or other digital artifacting.








Audio: :4.5stars:
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The Dolby Atmos track (found on both the Blu-ray and the 4K UHD) is a stunner as well. Jumping around the sound stage at all times, it creates an incredibly immersive sound field for the listener. You can hear the wind whistling in the grass at the beginning, with that soft “schnick” of a bolt being ridden back, then the roar of a bullet train drowning out all other sounds. The dialog is well placed in the center of the room, with a solid balance as the action heats up and the fisticuffs, bullets and roaring motor engines revs into high gear. The LFE is powerful and deep, but doesn’t try to over cook itself like so many action movies do. When called upon it can shake the entire foundation, while at other times it adds a deep punch to an impact, or a low end hum that just pulsates and rises up from the background. Surrounds are wildly active, and the overhead usage is stunning. A motorcycle flies overhead and lands in the back of the room, and at other times you can hear the individual scrapes and footfalls as the clone leaps from wall to rooftop to floor.







Extras: :2stars:
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• Alternate Opening
• Deleted Scenes
• The Genesis of Gemini Man
• Facing Your Younger Self
• The Future Is Now
• Setting the Action
• Next Level Detail
• The Vision of Ang Lee










Final Score: :3.5stars:


For a film that has been in pre-production for almost two decades (so long that Harrison Ford, Clint Eastwood and even Nic Cage were once attached as the leads), I was expecting something a bit “more” if you know what I mean. The movie is a technological marvel as Ang Lee has really pushed the limits of high frame rate technology, but the story is just a paper thin framework for him to hang all of the technology on, and my enjoyment suffered as a result. I won’t lie. The 4K UHD disc is not going to be for everyone, and even though it was a marvel to watch, I guiltily enjoyed the Blu-ray more, as it felt like a real movie to me, rather than a soap opera tech experiment. That being said, both discs are reference material for their particular formats and the stunning audio mix is present on both discs.


Technical Specifications:

Starring: Will Smith, Clive Owen, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Benedict Wong, Douglass Hodge, Ralph Brown
Directed by: Ang Lee
Written by: David Benioff, Billy Ray, Darren Lemke
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 AVC
Audio: English: Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 Core), Spanish, French (Canadian), French, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Thai DD 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish, Cantonese, Dutch, Korean, Malay, Mandarin (Simplified), Thai
Studio: Paramount
Rated: PG-13
Runtime: 117 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: January 14th, 2020
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Recommendation: Decent Watch

 
Last edited:

tripplej

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Thanks for the review. I will check this one out once available on amazon prime/netflix. :)
 

jdubs75

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Thanks for the review Michael. Sounds like it’s worth a watch :T

I grabbed the Blu-ray version from the Red Box this evening.
 
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