Film Review: Spies in Disguise (2019)

2020-02-10_Spies-in-DisguiseSpies In Disguise is fanciful and lighthearted. It isn’t a great movie, but it’s good enough to enjoy for a first viewing.

Lance Sterling (voiced by Will Smith) and Walter Beckett (voiced by Tom Holland) are unlikely partners. The former is a super spy that work alone who is paired with an idealistic inventor that no one appreciates.

Walter’s inventions are admittedly silly, but they add to the charm of the movie. The film is about fun, transformation, caricatures and enthusiasm.

Walter thinks that fighting crime can be fun. It isn’t about killing the bad guys but rather capturing them safely to face justice. Lance is focused on getting in, getting out and winning the mission.

The villain Killian (voiced by Ben Mendelsohn) manages to trick the agency to think that Lance is their enemy and hilarity ensues. Quickly. There are several transformations through the movie. The pigeon “disguise” is just the most obvious. As the movie progresses, Lance is transformed to see things more Walter’s way.

The characters in the movie are all pretty 1 1/2 dimensional. They are caricatures of James Bond and Q, but in an enthusiastic and loose manner.

Spies in Disguise was inspired by a short film Pigeon Impossible by Lucas Martell The creative team had a lot of fun developing a story from a short vignette into a full-length film.

My biggest disappointment with the movie was how small the audience was the day after its release. Maybe it was competing with bigger name movies and I was at an afternoon showing?

Spies in Disguise is fun and enthusiastic.

Review: Gemini Man (2019)

Film canister
In Gemini Man, we meet a 50-year-old assassin who is retiring. Henry Brogan (Will Smith) starts the movie carrying out an astounding assassination on a train. After his retirement, strike teams attack him to “tie up loose ends.” The Gemini company attempts to kill Brogan, but he foils their plans. Brogan has an almost mystical level of vigilance that lets him escape. His gun acts with unbelievable precision. Without Brogan’s perfection as an assassin, the secret agencies would have been able to kill him.

On a fantasy/realism scale, Gemini Man takes a different turn than many movies. Commonly, a film tries to have realistic people who have physical fights that don’t injure the film’s heroes. In contrast, Gemini Man has heroes rooted in fantasy, possessing amazing skills and sketchbook characters. This film aspires to realism by showing real injuries after its knock-down fights. Smith and his allies undergo sutures and clean their wounds after the fights.

After the strike team fails, a mysterious figure comes to kill Brogan. That man is quickly revealed to be a clone of Brogan, 25 years younger. After their initial gunfight and chase, Brogan learns that the attacker is genetically identical to himself. Gemini had created the clone, Junior, to build a perfect soldier.

Gemini Man has successfully simulated a younger Will Smith with computer modeling. Junior is indistinguishable from a 25 years younger Will Smith. It’s commonplace to make an actor look older, but Gemini Man’s filmmakers worked hard at renewing the youth that Smith once had.

One conceit in the movie is that the genetic duplication of the character leads to identical struggles, weaknesses and attitudes. It works ok for making the plot flow, but it is another way the film is filled with caricatures.

Gemini Man was an average quality action movie. I went mainly to see the cloned Will Smith. It was an entertaining movie and left me with a positive feeling as I was leaving the cinema.