As the industry has shifted towards brands, franchises and IP being the major selling point behind the biggest movies to hit theaters, the concept of the ‘movie star’ has shifted somewhat. Back in the day, whoever sat above the title on the poster was enough to build an entire marketing campaign around, but those sort of A-listers capable of using only their name to draw in a crowd are dwindling in number.
When you think of actors that possess the rare ability to convince people to watch their movies for the sole reason they’re in it and nothing else, there aren’t many who jump out besides the usual candidates of Tom Cruise, Dwayne Johnson, Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington and Will Smith. Even then, they’re not immune to the odd bomb or two, as evidenced when the latter’s Gemini Man spent a quarter of a century in development hell, only to flop when it finally escaped and arrived in the form of a $138 million clusterf*ck directed by Academy Award winner Ang Lee.
The concept remains sound, following a veteran assassin who discovers a clone of his younger self has been tasked to kill him, but the execution is way off. The CGI simply isn’t up to scratch, rendering Junior as akin to a weightless video game character any time he’s forced to do anything that isn’t remain completely still, and the action is painfully bland.
Gemini Man was one of the most notorious flops of 2019, losing over $100 million for Paramount, but it’s continually troubled the Netflix most-watched list, probably due to the Will Smith factor. After gaining newfound momentum in both March and May, it’s back again and can currently be found sitting in tenth place on the viewership rankings.