They thought de-aging technology was far enough along to have Will Smith play a current and younger version of himself in the same film. They were wrong.
Unlike “Captain Marvel” or “The Irishman,” where the actors were in scenes only as younger versions of themselves, the de-aging falls apart in “Gemini Man” because you can directly compare the old and young editions of the actor.
Perhaps if my focus was constrained to the young Will Smith I wouldn’t notice (as much) that his upper lip doesn’t move. But then the shot shifts to the older Will Smith and it’s clear that his upper lip works just fine in the real world. The discrepancy is hammered home and the digital lie crumbles.
Also, there are scenes in “Gemini Man” (often dark scenes) when the young Will Smith looks passable. But then the setting changes and you’re shoved into the uncanny valley.
And are the clones in this film supposed to be superheroes, too? They jump and spin and scale buildings with supernatural ability. As far as I know, these enhancements are never explained.
All of my griping aside, this film does have one notable highlight: Mary Elizabeth Winstead is convincing in an action movie. I saw some of her action skills in “Live Free or Die Hard,” but she was mostly reacting to action in that film, not leading it. In “Gemini Man” she’s in control. It works.
Another sneaky son: There’s a point in “Gemini Man” where Danny (Winstead) asks Henry (Smith) if he has a son. It’s a fair question since they’d just done battle with a guy who looks exactly like Henry. We ultimately discover that the antagonist is Henry’s clone, not his offspring, but for a moment it seemed like we were heading into “secret child” territory. This is a realm Smith knows well since it’s also a plot point in “Bad Boys for Life.” Both films end with Smith taking on a fatherly air, so I guess this making-up-for-lost-time dad type is a new phase in Smith’s career. As such, Dad Law decrees that Smith must wear these in any sequels: