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PARAMOUNT

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Ang Lee
Cast:
Will Smith, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Clive Owen
Writing Credits:
David Benioff, Billy Ray, Darren Lemke

Synopsis:
An aging hitman faces off against a younger clone of himself.

Box Office:
Budget:
$138 million.
Opening Weekend:
$20,552,372 on 3642 Screens.
Domestic Gross
$48,546,770.

MPAA:
Rated PG-13.

DISC DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Audio:
English Dolby Atmos
English Audio Description
Latin American Spanish Dolby 5.1
French Dolby 5.1
French Canadian Dolby 5.1
Italian Dolby 5.1
Japanese Dolby 5.1
Brazilian Portuguese Dolby 5.1
Thai Dolby 5.1
Subtitles:
English
French
Latin American Spanish
Brazilian Portuguese
French Canadian
Malaysian
Korean
Japanese
Mandarin
Thai
Cantonese
Dutch
Italian
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English
French
Latin American Spanish
Brazilian Portuguese
French Canadian
Malaysian
Korean
Japanese
Mandarin
Thai
Cantonese
Dutch
Italian

Runtime: 117 min.
Price: $31.99
Release Date: 1/14/2020

Bonus:
• Alternate Opening
• Deleted Scenes
• “The Genesis of Gemini Man” Featurette
• “Facing Your Younger Self” Featurette
• “The Future Is Now” Featurette
• “Setting the Action” Featurette
• “Next Level Detail” Featurette
• “The Vision of Ang Lee” Featurette
• DVD Copy


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RELATED REVIEWS


Gemini Man [Blu-Ray] (2019)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (January 9, 2020)

Back in 2016, Oscar-winning director Ang Lee made Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, a film that delivered ambitious technical elements. Shot in 3D at 120 frames per second, hardly any screens showed it that way, and the flick failed to find any form of audience via its standard 2D/24 fps version as well.

Fast-forward to 2019, and Lee gave the 3D/high fps technique another go with Gemini Man. Once again, he shot the movie 120 fps/3D, and once again, almost no screens showed it that way.

However, this time Lee got better distribution via a compromise version. For Gemini, the movie played 60 fps/3D on a reasonably wide array of screens.

Did this bring butts to seats? Perhaps to some degree, at least, as Gemini certainly sold a lot more tickets than the nearly non-existent commercial profile exhibited by Walk.

Nonetheless, Gemini didn’t do especially well. Worldwide, it took in $173 million, a figure that seems passable but not good compared to its $139 million budget.

That occurred despite the presence of Will Smith as the lead and an action/sci-fi story much more palatable for the masses. I suspect Lee will continue to pursue his technical ambitions, but so far, the movies themselves haven’t produced profits.

For years, Henry Brogan (Smith) acts as one of the planet’s premier assassins. However, he feels that he starts to lose a step, so he decides to retire.

Unfortunately for Henry, the life won’t easily leave him behind, so he finds himself re-involved pretty quickly. Henry learns that he was deceived as part of an operation, and this leaves him as a potential threat to his superiors.

Rather than let Henry come after them, these honchos send an assassin to take him out: “Junior” (Smith), a younger clone. Henry attempts to stay alive and find out how this Xerox copy came to exist.

Ang Lee just doesn't seem to be the guy to make commercially successful traditional tentpole movies. For instance, his Hulk became a notorious disappointment, and now this.

Lee’s biggest hits - Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Life of Pi - aren't the same kind of films. He's obviously talented but it might not be a good idea to give him the reins of big Hollywood action movies.

Not that I view Gemini as a bad film. The reviews tended to be pretty awful, and I suspect some of that came from expectations attached to Ang Lee's presence, as critics expect more from him than just a "C+" action movie.

But "C+" is still pretty watchable, and that's how I feel about Gemini. The character moments provide its weakest element, as they never really click. The various roles tend to feel like cliches, and our lead Henry never develops into a particularly interesting hero, anti or otherwise.

Obviously the clone factor gives the movie a twist, but it still feels like a riff on a Terminator movie. There's not a lot to differentiate Henry battling with Junior vs. various Terminator models going after each other.

Gemini probably takes too long to get to that twist as well. We all know eventually it'll be Will vs. Will, and we wait an extended period to get there.

I'm all for good development and character exploration, but the pre-Junior scenes don't feel that way. At the very least, the film should've introduced Junior to Henry in a shadowy way as a teaser and not forced the audience to suffer through cheesy exposition for so long.

In terms of visual effects, Junior comes from a motion capture Will Smith. I initially assumed they'd just "de-age" Smith, but instead he went full mo-cap.

I think this works pretty well. Junior looks a little "Uncanny Valley" at times, especially during the horrifically bad representation we see in the movie's denouement, where Junior strongly resembles a video game character.

In general, though, the filmmakers pull off the visuals. If I'd not known Junior was a CG character, I wouldn't have suspected most of the time.

The action scenes save the movie. I really like the initial Henry/Junior battle on motorcycles, and while the rest of the film doesn't live up to that sequence, we still get some strong set pieces, ones good enough to redeem the rest of the movie.

I think a director as distinguished as Ang Lee needs to give us more than just a serviceable/occasionally exciting action flick, though. Gemini Man works better than its critics indicate, but it never totally clicks.


The Disc Grades: Picture A/ Audio A-/ Bonus C+

Gemini Man appears in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Even at plain old 24 fps, this became a great-looking image.

Sharpness excelled. At all times, we got a tight, well-defined presentation without a sliver of softness.

I saw no signs of jagged edges or shimmering, and edge enhancement was absent. Source flaws failed to mar the presentation, so it always was clean and fresh.

Colors looked fine. The film opted for a stylized palette, with an emphasis on teal and amber. Within those parameters, the hues were well-reproduced.

Blacks came across as dark and firm, while shadows were smooth and concise. Overall, this was a stellar image.

I also felt impressed the lively Dolby Atmos soundtrack of Olympus. Downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1, it offered enough pizzazz to merit “A”-level consideration.

The soundfield created a terrific sense of place and threw out fine action when appropriate. The movie’s various fight/pyrotechnic sequences boasted vivid material that showed up around the spectrum in a lively manner.

Other aspects of the track satisfied as well. Music always offered good stereo imaging, and quieter scenes were convincing, too. These showed a clear sense of place and meshed together in a pleasing way.

Audio quality always excelled. Effects were dynamic and clear, with deep bass and good punch.

Music showed similar strengths, as the score was lively and full. Speech came across as natural and concise. I liked this track and thought it added a lot to the movie.

Six featurettes appear, and The Genesis of Gemini Man lasts two minutes, 54 seconds. It offers notes from producer Jerry Bruckheimer, director Ang Lee, and actor Will Smith.

“Genesis” provides a brief overview of the movie’s path to the screen. This seems like too short a clip to tell us much.

Facing Your Younger Self, we get a five-minute, 40-second clip that features Smith, Bruckheimer, Lee, and actor Clive Owen. “Self” looks at Smith’s dual performance and aspects of the two connected characters. It leans toward fluff and doesn’t give us a lot of substance.

Next comes The Future Is Now, an 18-minute, 32-second featurette that involves Smith, Bruckheimer, Lee, Owen, visual effects supervisor Bill Westenhofer, Weta visual effects supervisors Sheldon Stopsack and Guy Williams, Weta animation supervisor Paul Story, Weta head of shader’s department Emiliano Padovani, Weta facial lead Alessandro Bonora, Weta motion capture supervisor Dejan Momcilovic, co-stunt coordinator Brad Martin, stunt coordinator JJ Perry and editor Tim Squyres.

During “Future”, we get a discussion of the technology used to create a younger CG Smith. Despite some of the usual happy talk, we find a pretty good investigation of the topics.

Setting the Action goes for 15 minutes, 46 seconds and brings comments from Bruckheimer, Perry, Martin, Lee, Smith, Owen, stunt performer Jeremy Marinas, supervising location manager Ronnie Kupferwasser, executive producer Chad Oman, Dynamo CEO Andres Calderon, location manager Douglas Dresser, cinematographer Dion Beebe, technical supervisor Ben Gervais, E-bike operator Regis Harrington, stunt doubles Tony Carbajal and Jay Lynch, special effects supervisor Mark Hawker and actor Mary Elizabeth Winstead.

“Setting” looks at locations, camerawork and aspects of the movie’s stunts/action. Like its predecessors, it mixes facts and fluff.

Via Next Level Detail, we discover a three-minute, 45-second reel with Lee, Bruckheimer and production designer Guy Hendrix Dyas. During most of “Level”, Dyas gives us a tour of the movie’s catacombs set to show the work involved. Some of this feels self-congratulatory, but we still find some useful material.

Lastly, The Vision of Ang Lee fills six minutes, four seconds with comments from Smith, Lee, Oman, Owen, Bruckheimer, Gervais, Winstead and Beebe. “Vision” mixes praise for Lee with thoughts about the film’s high frame rate presentation. I’d like more about the latter and less about the former.

In addition to an Alternate Opening (5:49), we find two Deleted Scenes. In the latter domain, we see “I Found a Plane For Us” (0:40) and “Original Yuri Scene” (3:54).

With the “Opening”, we get the same content found in the final film, but it adds a tease of Junior. Given how long it takes to get to that character in the released version, I like the hint of Junior found here.

“Plane” offers a minor bit of exposition but nothing memorable. The “Yuri” scene in the final film offers a reshot/recast version, so this one lets us see the original take. That makes it a decent curiosity.

As far as big action flicks go, Gemini Man seems middle of the pack. Though this makes it a disappointment given the talent involved, it still musters occasional thrills and remains wholly watchable. The Blu-ray boasts excellent picture and audio along with a smattering of bonus materials. I’ve seen better action movies, but I’ve also seen worse.

Viewer Film Ratings: -- Stars Number of Votes: 0
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