When two-time Oscar winner Ang Lee makes a movie, it’s an event. And when that movie stars Will Smith and is billed as a never-before-seen science fiction experience, it has the potential to be even more. At CinemaCon 2019, Lee was on hand to reveal the first footage from Gemini Man, a film about an assassin who faces his most difficult challenge ever: His younger self.
How does that work exactly? Smith plays both versions of the character, one at the age the actor is now, and the other in his mid-20s. So basically the entire film hinges on the de-ageing process we’ve seen in many recent movies, such as Tron Legacy, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Captain Marvel, but it’s on another level because the younger character is the second lead.
The younger version of Smith looks almost exactly like he did back in his Fresh Prince of Bel-Air days. It isn’t 100 per cent there, but it’s 90 per cent there. There’s almost a digital sheen over the actor that just makes him look a tad non-human. That could very well be fixed in the coming months, though.
In the footage, we see a man riding a motorcycle in slow motion. He’s shooting back over his shoulder but can’t hit the target.
Later, the man is being healed. It’s the young version. He’s asked, “Why is it so hard to kill this man?” Because, he explains, “he knew every move of mine before I made it. I had him right there and he’d be gone like a ghost.”
Later, we see the older Smith find and capture the younger one. That’s when they both realise who’s involved in this mutual hunt — and suffice to say, they’re in shock.
The young one asks why someone would send him to kill himself. The older one says it’s because there’s never been anyone like him. Clive Owen plays the character who created the younger version, and he explains that the younger one is better because he doesn’t have any of the older version’s baggage.
Later, we see the characters angry and confused about the situation, and someone says, “We have to end this.” So it seems as though Gemini Man is going to end up being a film about two versions of the same character working together to get rid of the ability to clone people.
Visually, the film had the kind of real-life action aesthetic of a Mission Impossible movie, except of course with more sci-fi guns, drones and clones.
The team of Lee and Smith working with this mind-bending concept means there’s a lot of potential for this movie to be something special. That said, so much of Gemini Man will depend on technology being able to make not just today’s Will Smith sympathetic, but the younger Smith, too.
However, if there’s any filmmaker you can trust to make something visually incredible, it’s Ang Lee.
Gemini Man will be released on October 10.