Gemini Man is a case where the naturalistic and reined in tone that HFR brings to proceedings means the film’s stranger and more interesting aspects are disappointingly subdued. However, as a technical tour-de-force, Gemini Man is a brilliant disc. Both picture and sound are excellent, and you’ll need a good home cinema set-up to get the best out of this disc
Gemini Man has been knocking around Hollywood since the late 90s. Every big actor of the last twenty years, from Harrison Ford to Denzel Washington, Tom Cruise and Arnold Schwarzenegger (and many, many more) were at one time rumoured to star.
In the end Gemini Man sees Oscar-winning director Ang Lee take the helms and Will Smith play a dual role as government assassin Henry Brogan and his younger, cloned assassin, Junior.
It’s about as high-concept as you can get, and employs the same High Frame Rate technology Ang Lee used to shoot Billy Lynn’s Halftime Walk. However, the film didn’t fare well either critically or at the box-office.
Gemini Man 4K Blu-ray – Film
The story is a fairly simple one. Smith’s Brogan has retired from the DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency), but is drawn back in after he learns something was iffy about his last mission, leading the DIA trying to assassinate him with a younger clone of himself.
Henry’s search for the truth takes him to Columbia, Hungary and the USA, aided by Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s DIA agent, Danny Zakarweski, and Benedict Wong’s Baron, as he zeroes in on a showdown with Clive Owen’s Clay Verris, the creator of Henry’s clone and a person whom he has some history.
Part of Gemini Man’s issue is that the final result is not as fascinating as its premise. The idea of a man confronted by his younger self should be more engaging on a philosophical and perhaps even a horror level, but Gemini Man is frustratingly insubstantial when it comes to mining these ideas.
The script, credited to David Benioff, Billy Ray and Darren Lemke, feels listless, and though the performances from Smith and Winstead are fine, they can’t wrestle the film from its perfunctory feel. Only Wong’s Baron really enlivens proceedings, while Owen’s restrained Verris could use more menace.
The action is terrifically staged though – from a bike chase in Cartagena, Colombia to the explosive gunfight in a town in Georgia, only a knockdown, drag out fight in a Hungarian catacombs looks less than assured in its application of CGI. However, it’s still thrillingly visceral with the use of high frame rate technology lending proceedings a natural look.
And Junior himself is an impressive creation by Weta. If it weren’t for some issues with the articulation of his mouth, this would have been an absolutely terrific attempt at crossing the uncanny valley. It is, nevertheless, very convincing at times.
Gemini Man 4K Blu-ray – Picture
Shot at 120fps in native 4K and 3D, Gemini Man looks so real that it seems unreal.
The 4K release is compromised from its original theatrical showing. There’s no 3D (4K Blu-ray doesn’t support it), while 120fps drops to 60fps for home viewing. If you watched it in 120fps/3D in the cinema, there is certainly something lost in the transition. The compositions of cinematographer Dion Beebe lose their dimensionality as some scenes look flat, but nowhere near as bad as some scenes looked in Billy Lynn’s Halftime Walk.
That said, the presentation is absolutely stunning. While the HFR will look strange to most, the amount of clarity and detail is stunning. Skin, clothes and environments are so clean and detailed it often feels like you’re looking through a window. Colours are strong, skin tones are impressively accurate and blacks are deep but also have detail within.
It’s a very impactful image, with the bright colours of the Cartagena sequence contrasting with the darkness of Hungarian catacombs. There’s no noticeable noise or imperfections either and the bitrate reaches 95Mbps at some points. This is as good an image as you’ll find on 4K if you can get past the use of HFR.
Gemini Man 4K Blu-ray – Sound
And the Dolby Atmos track is a stonking effort. It’s not one that gives the viewer an appreciable sense of the height channels – there doesn’t appear to be too many specific sounds placed there. What it does produce is a sense of scale that needs a proper Atmos system with rear speakers to do it justice.
The rears are engaged throughout, which helps the film’s expansive soundstage. Panning is also strong and the track is underpinned by a strong bass performance, partly from Lorne Balfe’s somewhat anonymous score, but also the raucous gunshots and explosions that pepper the film.
It’s exciting, intense and very involving once the action sequences click into the gear, if only the actual story was as strong as the disc’s AV credentials we’d be talking about a sensational experience. Instead it’s a decent film paired with a formidable video and sound performance.
Gemini Man 4K Blu-ray – Verdict
Gemini Man is a case where the naturalistic and reined in tone that HFR brings to proceedings means the film’s stranger and more interesting aspects are disappointingly subdued. While I don’t have as much a problem with HFR as others, it still takes a while to get used to.
However, as a technical tour-de-force, Gemini Man is a brilliant disc. Both picture and sound are excellent, and you’ll need a good home cinema set-up to get the best out of this disc.
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Picture: Native 4K 2160p, HDR10, Dolby Vision
Audio: English, Dolby Atmos/Dolby TrueHD 7.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Italian, Japanese, Spanish, Cantonese, Dutch, Korean, Malay, Mandarin (Simplified), Thai
- 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
- Visual Effects Progression presented by WETA—In 60fps, 4K and HDR (only available on 4K disc)