To give you an inkling of just how long Ang Lee and Will Smith‘s Gemini Man spent in development, when writer Darren Lemke first sold his pitch to Touchstone Pictures with Tony Scott attached to direct, Clint Eastwood was the number one choice for the lead role in the action-packed big budget sci-fi blockbuster. That’s the same Clint Eastwood who turned 91 years old earlier this ear, just to hammer it home a little harder.
Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford, Michael Douglas, Denzel Washington, Nicolas Cage and Keanu Reeves were also considered for the project as it continuously came close to getting into production, and when it finally escaped the abyss of development hell after almost a quarter of a century, people were right to get hyped. After all, Smith is one of the biggest stars of the modern era and Lee is one of the industry’s most acclaimed filmmakers, with an Academy Award for Best Director under his belt. What could possibly go wrong?
The answer, unfortunately, is an awful lot. The concept is the highest of the high, finding a veteran hitman being hunted by a clone of his younger self, which presents plenty of scope for cutting edge effects and bombastic action. Instead, Gemini Man is relentlessly dull, and the CGI recreation of Fresh Prince-era Smith only convinces when he remains perfectly still.
The movie bombed hard as the box office, earning just $173 million against a $130 million budget and going down as one of 2019’s most notable disasters. However, Gemini Man just won’t die out on Netflix. After cracking the Top 10 most-watched list in March, May and July it’s back again, giving the flop a repeated lease of new life on streaming.