Until Ang Lee and Will Smith finally managed to bring the concept to life, Gemini Man was widely regarded as one of the most exciting movies that had never been made. The premise lends itself perfectly to a heady mix of existential sci-fi and blockbuster action, with a veteran hitman discovering that a younger clone of himself has been created to hunt him down and kill him.
Gemini Man was originally set up at Disney way back in 1997 after writer Darren Lemke sold his pitch to Mouse House subsidiary Touchstone Pictures, with Tony Scott signing on to direct and Clint Eastwood being eyed for the lead role. Over the next 20 years, countless writers and directors attached themselves to the movie, while stars such as Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford, Michael Douglas, Denzel Washington, Nicolas Cage and Keanu Reeves were just a few of the many A-list names linked with playing the lead role.
On paper, Gemini Man should have been a massive success given Smith’s status as a genuine draw and modern day action icon, while Lee is one of the most acclaimed filmmakers of his generation, but the $138 million effort was a huge bust, and it went down as one of 2019’s biggest box office bombs after ending its theatrical run with just $173 million in the coffers.
A killer concept with a huge name front and center in a sci-fi actioner sounds like a recipe for success, but Gemini Man is often painfully dull, while the effects used to replicate the Fresh Prince era Will Smith are far from convincing whenever he’s required to move. However, it’s become the latest forgotten genre film to hit big on Netflix, where it’s currently one of the 20 most-watched movies on the platform’s global chart.