Gemini Man (2019), a recap (part 3 of 6)
NOTE: This article is a work in progress.
Please check back soon for more installments!
Last time: Henry met his younger self. It did not go well.
Henry’s in jail and looking pretty dejected. I guess if you just got your ass handed to you by somebody half your age and got stuck in a cell in a foreign country while being on the run from your own intelligence agency, you might be justified in wearing a frowny face. The cell doors open and Henry looks up uncertainly, as there’s no telling what’s coming next. “Next” turns out to be Henry marched out of the station in handcuffs, with Danny in a pantsuit and an official badge pinned to her jacket. And… just how is Henry moving under his own power? The dude was thrown off and then kicked in the face with a motorcycle; unless the Colombian PD hands out complimentary packs of percocets, I don’t see him going anywhere on his own two feet. I just think that if they’re playing up the age difference between Henry and his clone then we should see what being fifty’s really like, that’s all. I don’t care how fit Henry is; he’s going to be feeling every scrape, sprain and contusion.
Henry gets put in the back of an SUV while Danny shakes hands with the cop, and we see Baron is behind the wheel. I’m all for brevity to move a plot forward, but I’m all sorts of curious as to what story Danny told to explain the cuts all over her face. If I were a Colombian police official, I’d be thinking she got into a fight with the real feds and stole her credentials. Or hell, maybe the cop’s just glad to see these crazy gringos gone from his country.
Later, the trio is on a rooftop and Henry lays down their next move: Baron has to get them a ride to Budapest. Henry explains that the DIA is trying to kill him, not because he retired, but because Jack told him about Yuri, and right now he and Yuri need a sitdown. All Baron has to do is borrow/steal a Gulfstream private jet. How hard could that be?
Not hard at all, apparently. As Baron flies the jet, Danny treats Henry’s wounds in the back. Wouldn’t they have done this at the police station? Wouldn’t she have done this while Baron was getting the Gulfstream? You leave those wounded untended too long and they tend to get infected. I guess they wanted to give Danny something to do while they talked, but I can think of a few other things she could be doing, like drinking a beer. I guess it’s nitpicking, and I don’t know why this movie is making me so pick-nitting? At least Ang Lee avoided the obvious and didn’t put these two in bed. Danny notes how much the guy who fought Henry looked like him and she asks if he has any kids, or might have some out there he didn’t know about, but he’s certain that’s not the case. I’m… just not buying this. Danny saw the guy zip by on a motorcycle at a distance, as well a quick fight with him wearing sunglasses. The suspicion feels somehow less plausible than the grenade shot earlier. Henry admits that when he saw the sniper it was like he was seeing a ghost, or a kind of retribution for all his past sins. Well at least that explains his expression earlier, so now I feel a little guilty for being so critical last time. Actually no, I don’t, not really.
Cut to Glenville, Georgia, and I give props to the producers for finding interesting places for this movie to take place other than New York or Los Angeles. Cut to a sprawling mansion, and it’s the sort you could imagine rich plantation owners living in once upon a time while the slaves picked cotton in the fields. Naturally, this is the home of Clay Verris, who wakes up in the middle of the night when he seems to hear something. What does he hear?
So… Clay, living in a plantation manor, pretty much owns a black man. I’m actually impressed; I didn’t think Ang Lee could have possibly made the man any more reprehensible. Clay tells his shooter he was supposed to stay in Colombia and wait for orders, but the young man has got questions. Clay begins to treat the sniper’s wounds, and it’s nice to see that in all that tussle he didn’t get away unscathed. It just appeared that way because adrenalin is the true wonder drug and he was able to ignore all those aches and pains. Clay asks if he got a good look at the target’s face and the sniper says no, not really, and isn’t it weird how the guy who was six inches from Henry couldn’t get a good look at him, but somehow Danny did from a hundred yards away?
We get our first really good look at the clone, and… he looks okay. I mean, the equivalent would be Will Smith circa Six Degrees of Separation and yeah, it’s comparable. Clay calls him “Junior”, which means his name is “Clay”. Will Smith portrayed Muhammad Ali in a film and Ali’s birth name was Cassius Clay. Is that just a weird coincidence? Was it intentional? I dunno. Junior wonders who the target was and Clay avoids the question, and instead asks Junior if he’s hungry and if a bowl of cereal sounds good. The two leave the room and the scene ends with Junior looking at the nightstand.
That really drives the creepiness home, so kudos to Ang Lee for this.
Cut to daytime and a bunch of people come erupting out of a set of double doors in a panic being chased by gun wielding maniacs. A group of guys in black body armor spill out of the back of a van with the Gemini logo on the side and damn, this street looks a lot like a cheap movie set. I guess all the money was spent on making Will Smith look young, huh? And then… the guys in body armor take out the shooters with paint pellets. It turns out this is all a simulation and that street really is like a cheap movie set. Points to you for subverting my expectations, Mister Lee. Junior watches the action—
—and in the daylight the effects still look pretty good. We see this is a vast training facility, with soldiers jogging and scaling walls and just making me feel tired watching it. Clay drives up and you sense Junior is starting to question it all when he watches a new crop of fresh faces rolling out. Uh-oh, might be time for Clay to get a new Junior. Does he go back to the well and get another sample off of Henry, or does he just get it from the model he already owns? But anyone who ever watched Multiplicity knows what happens when you make a copy of a copy.
If Clay’s worried, he keeps it hidden and tells Junior the target landed in Budapest; he’s heading out to get another shot at his target.
Cut to Budapest, Hungary, and Danny walks into what looks like a library reading room to meet a woman. Danny pulls out Junior’s hat and Henry’s bloody bandage and I guess she wasn’t treating Henry’s wounds on the plane, after all; she was changing the dressing the cops had probably put on him. Damn you, Ang Lee, for being so competent! Danny also pulls out a thick wad of cash and the woman says the earliest she can do it two days. Another wad of cash appears and Danny says she needs it in two hours.
She meets up with Baron and Henry, who says he’s got a meeting set up with Yuri. Both guys note how upset she looks, and she explains how she contacted a DNA lab and they ran the samples. Danny explains she thought the sniper was Henry’s son, but it’s confirmed: the sniper is Henry’s clone. Henry wonders why if people can be cloned, why not make a second Nelson Mandela? But Danny points out Mandela couldn’t kill a dude on a moving train from two kilometers away. Personally, I’d clone Kate Bush five times to make the ultimate girl band, but that’s just me. It might be for the best: five young Kate Bushes singing in harmony might shatter reality itself.
Later at a spa, Henry and Danny are chilling in thick white bath robes near a pool at the swankiest of resorts. Baron shows up with Yuri, and I’m guessing the reason why everyone’s decked out like this is they’re naked underneath to make sure they aren’t wired for sound. Yuri leads Henry inside to hang out by a fountain.
Yuri admits he’s a fan, and Henry is surprised the Hungarian knows him. They talk about the train assassination and Henry explains how his government lied to him. Yuri says in Russia, that’s called “Tuesday”. Heh. Yuri lays down the exposition, about how Clay is their common enemy and Dormoff, the dude on the train, was lured to the West to work for Varris. In 1995, a year before Dolly the sheep got cloned, Henry was the sheep. Yuri explains that Henry’s clone was raised by Clay and damn, you’d think Henry would look a little more upset at this news. It seems Dormoff had a falling out with Clay and was coming back home, but Varris couldn’t let that happen, because apparently the scientist had a breakthrough and came up with a way to create even better soldiers. You mean, like Kurt Russell?
Actually, this part really does sound a lot like the plot to Soldier, with Will Smith being Kurt. Yuri explains these new soldiers would have no conscience and would be better, faster, stronger. Henry wonders why Henry doesn’t just fire a missile at Clay’s lab. Yuri replies that Henry is his missile. Yeah, but I’d still want a real missile. Yuri ends the conversation by admitting he watched the whole Colombia thing go down, and again, he’s a big fan.
Henry then meets up with Baron and Danny, and she says he’s got to talk to the kid. Henry doesn’t think this will do any good, but Danny says it’s their best shot at getting to Clay. The problem is, Henry’s not so sure twenty-five-year-old him would listen to fifty-year-old him. Me, my twenty-five-year-old self probably wouldn’t believe the bald fat guy sporting a goatee to hide an extra chin was me in the first place.
Later, we find Lassiter sitting in a coffee shop. A bike messenger shows up.
I love the look on her face, like no one is supposed to know about her little coffee shop, the place where she gets away from the politics and bullshit of her life. And in walks this guy in a really ugly spandex shirt, showing off his disgustingly fit torso and probably making her feel all her fifty three years and how she should be spending more time in the gym and stop spending all her time sitting on her ass in front of a computer, eating those big chocolate chip cookies from Kroger, and downing two-liter Diet Pepsis and fooling herself that it really is zero calories and it’s not all going to her ass—no, I’m not projecting at all. Why do you ask? Anyhow, her expression is that of a woman who’s used to getting lots of bad news, and today isn’t going to be the exception.
Next time: Yes, it’s bad news. And will we witness the Battle in Budapest? Hostility in Hungary? The Brawl in the Balkans? Will it match the Clash in Colombia? Tune in next time to find out.