“Gemini Man” (Paramount)
By Catholic News Service
Tedious sci-fi action-thriller in which a highly gifted secret-ops sharpshooter (Will Smith) is betrayed by his superiors (most prominently Clive Owen), goes on the lam together with a fellow agent (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) who was originally dispatched to surveil him and, after defeating a number of outclassed pursuers, winds up being chased by a younger, equally talented clone of himself (also Smith, digitally de-aged).
Although director Ang Lee marshals cutting-edge special effects, the clunky script, penned by David Benioff, Billy Ray and Darren Lemke, makes the story seem thoroughly familiar. Nor can pleasant visuals, especially scenic views of Budapest amounting to a free ad for Hungarian tourism, mask the film’s shaky moral foundation. While the mayhem is kept almost bloodless, the idea of a sympathetic assassin who only kills bad guys is questionable and the screenplay’s consistent message about the need to resist negative impulses is completely undermined in the climax.
Confused values requiring mature discernment, an incidental but benignly viewed adulterous situation, much stylized but sometimes harsh violence with little gore, about a half-dozen uses of profanity, at least one rough and numerous crude and crass terms. The Catholic News Service classification is L — limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 — parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.