Review: Gemini Man (4K)

Henry Brogan is an elite 51-year-old assassin who’s ready to call it quits after completing his 72nd job. His plans get turned upside down when he becomes the target of a mysterious operative who can seemingly predict his every move. To his horror, Brogan soon learns that the man who’s trying to kill him is a younger, faster, cloned version of himself.

Plot: Henry Brogan (Will Smith), an elite assassin, is suddenly targeted and pursued by a mysterious young operative that seemingly can predict his every move.

Director: Ang Lee

Aspect Ratio: 1.85.1

Runtime: 117 min

Rotten Tomatoes Consensus: Gemini Man‘s impressive visuals are supported by some strong performances, but this sci-fi thriller is fatally undermined by a frustratingly subpar story.

Online Ratings:

  1. Rotten Tomatoes 26% (Audience 83%)
  2. IMDB 5.3
  3. Metacritic 38
  4. Cinemascore B+

“Bold and visually thrilling, but unfortunately, it’s attached to an underwhelming story.”

Review:

This movie was shot with Arri Alexa & Phantom Flex cameras and finished at a 4K Digital Intermediate which means you’ll get a native 4K presentation. On top of that, your viewing will be 60fps to really get your pixels working… does it get any better than that? As per the norm with UHD releases, it was also given a HDR color grade for your viewing pleasure in both Dolby Vision & HDR10.

The first thing we need to discuss is the fact that we have a native 4K disc at 60fps. This is remarkable feat on a technical level because we get 40 times the amount of data being captured in comparison to the standard 4K at 24fps. All this technology makes the image so remarkably clear and precise that it starts to create dilemmas for some viewers. Why? Hyperrealism is a problem because at times it doesn’t look like your watching a movie, its too real, which in turn, makes the movie less theatrical and immersive.

For example, there are many shots and scenes in this film that have a precise front to back depth-of-field. This means every single object and person in the frame, close or far, is practically perfect in focus. This is the aspect that pushes your immersion away from movie because it’s as if you’re there watching it happen in person. (Where it does work the best are in the action scenes in Chapter 7, Chapter 12 & Chapter 16.) That type of aesthetic to the average movie-goer is too much to handle and if you can’t adjust to it, you’ll fall right off. (Some people that saw it in theater went as far as to say they felt sick.)

All this talk about high frame rates and perfect focus sounds great for UHD right? For me yes, but maybe not for you.

If what I have said so far sounds confusing and you have no idea what I’m talking about, you’ll have to see it for yourself to understand which side you fall on. Why? This discussion on high frame rates comes down to personal preference — you can like it, hate it or adjust to it. The smooth motion the high frame rate showcases can be distracting at times and there were quite a few scenes where it lost theatrical touch — but it wasn’t so distracting (to me) that it made the movie below par, the movie itself was below par on it’s own. I try not to be one of those ‘online reviewers’ that destroys a bland movie because there are truly some horrible movies that come out each year — Gemini Man isn’t bad or great, just forgettable.

Back to the disc.

All that native resolution available brings out all the smallest details throughout the film — you will notice specs of dust on a sniper rifle scope, scratches and discoloration on buildings, the build up of debris on boat windows… the works. Beyond that, you will also get some of the best reference grade close-ups I’ve seen with all the included suspects; beard stubble, facial hair, sweat, makeup, blemishes, cuts, bruises, etc. Shockingly enough all of the detail and sharpness doesn’t draw out the CGI that was used on young Will Smith either. There was only one moment where I thought it wasn’t perfect, but other than that it wasn’t distracting at the slightest — I was really impressed how well it held up.

HDR-wise, you’re also in for a treat because the colors really POP! from time to time. A good example of this was during Chapter 7 inside Cartagena, Colombia. Every inch of the space looks great down to the different bright colored cars, streets, walls, rooftops, flags — it’s more reference grade material for your setup. Beyond that, you’ll notice it consistently in skin tones, background, foreground and in the blues of the Budapest hotel pools in Chapter 9 — more eye candy.

This majority of this movie is on the brighter side, but the darker scenes’ use of HDR really land with great depth and solid contrast. A good example of this is when Will Smith is under his house in Chapter 4 with light only emitting from his cell-phone and the help of the moon. This low-visibility really brings out great shadow detail and depth. There were only a few of these scenes to speak on (Chapter 13) — just know they all look great.

Side note, make sure you take a second to stare in awe for about 10 seconds in Chapter 16 during fire scene! The colors and movement of fire always looks great in 4K and this is a stunner!

If you can push the story aside, Gemini Man will be a great addition to add to your 4K UHD collection because it has a lot of eye candy to show off your display with — it’s a reference grade UHD disc. You can be safely assured that this film ultimately gets my recommendation to own, but I’m not sure if it’s worth day one price because it’s not a great movie outside of the top notch visuals. If you have money to blow and want some eye candy, go for it, but if you wait a little bit this would be a solid pickup to nab during a sale. The choice is yours, so grab it at your local retailer when it releases on 4K & Blu-ray Tuesday, January 14th.

Did you catch Gemini Man in theater? Were you a fan of this movie? Will you be picking it up to own? Let me know what you think in the comments below.

Cheers,

Matt.

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