**/**** Image A Sound A Extras B-
starring Will Smith, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Clive Owen, Benedict Wong
screenplay by David Benioff and Billy Ray and Darren Lemke
directed by Ang Lee
by Walter Chaw Many stories are like this, about how heroes reach an age where a younger doppelgänger shows up on the scene to establish their reputation at the expense of the old Alpha. As hairless primates fond of the Oedipus story, we're attracted to this tale of the son becoming the father. When a phantom Marlon Brando frames Superman Returns thusly in that film's prologue, it's stated so magisterially it rings with the heft of cathedral bells. What Ang Lee's Gemini Man presupposes is: what if the young gunslinger looking to make his mark is a literal clone of the old gunslinger? It's kind of an intriguing idea, if you think that cloning someone from DNA and a surrogate uterus will result in shared skills and memories--like those stories about identical twins marrying women with the same name and knowing when the other is in danger or some shit. It's considerably less intriguing when its premise relies on this but, knowing that's stupid, then tries to shoehorn in a ton of exposition and backstory to explain what should probably have been left unexplained. At the mid-point of Gemini Man, when what millions of dollars of advertising have already spoiled needs to be explained, it's poor spook Danny (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) left to mouth the "you just need an egg!" explanation. Better if said explanation were that they'd figured out some way to clone someone and then implant the training. Oh, never mind.