Gemini Man Ultra HD Blu-ray Review

Gemini Man is an innovative action-thriller starring Will Smith as Henry Brogan, an elite assassin, who is suddenly targeted and pursued by a mysterious young operative that seemingly can predict his every move. Ralph Potts review the Ultra HD Blu-ray release from Paramount Home Media Distribution.

The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Film:

Extras:

Audio/UHD Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )

95

Details:

Studio and Year: Paramount – 2019
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 117 minutes
Genre: Thriller

Disc Format: BD-100
Encoding: HEVC
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Resolution: 2160p/24

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1, French/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Starring: Will Smith, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Clive Owen, Benedict Wong
Directed by: Ang Lee
Music by: Lorne Balfe
Written by: David Benioff, Billy Ray, Darren Lemke
Region Code: A

Release Date: January 14, 2020

“Who Will Save You From Yourself”

Synopsis:

“Will Smith stars as retired hitman Henry Brogan, forced on the run by a young, highly skilled operative who will stop at nothing to eliminate his target. Now on a race around the globe, Henry must outsmart the mysterious assassin at every step – but how far will he go once they finally come face to face?” – Paramount Home Media Distribution

My Take:

Henry Brogan is an elite 51-year-old assassin who’s ready to call it quits after completing his 72nd job. His plans get turned upside down when he becomes the target of a mysterious operative who can seemingly predict his every move. To his horror, Brogan soon learns that the man who’s trying to kill him is a younger, faster, cloned version of himself.

If you’ve seen the trailer for Gemini Man you know exactly what lies in store in terms of story. The script, penned by David Benioff, Billy Ray and, Darren Lemke, is abysmally shallow, lacking character building and any true elements of suspense. In terms of concept, there isn’t much originally there, although that not necessarily a shortcoming. Hollywood’s penchant for rehashing familiar themes isn’t something I see as a problem as long as effort is put into using that foundation to build something tangible.

Gemini Man isn’t bad per se but, relies too much on the strength of its lead and the innate possibilities of the special effects needed to properly convey its plot. Sci-fi action thrillers are something I have a pretty high tolerance for so I was willing to go into this one knowing that it probably wasn’t going to wow me with its narrative depth. Unfortunately, there isn’t enough meat on the bone to piece together an engaging story. Things are tossed together, leaving the much-needed human connection required in a story like this, lacking. The solid supporting cast, which includes Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Clive Owen and Benedict Wong, aren’t the problem. They simply aren’t provided with anything viable to work with.

The action is nothing to write home about and Ang Lee’s direction fails to draw forth any palpable drama or tension. The visual effects are indeed quite good but, given how the film was shot, using high frame rate video, there were too many times that I found myself taken out of the story by it.

Gemini Man certainly had the potential to be more than it turned out to be. Its overemphasis on technological elements above story resulted in a somewhat boring and ineffectual genre entry that simply doesn’t pass muster.

Replay Value: 2.5 Stars

Parental Guide:

The rating is for violence and action throughout and brief strong language.

AUDIO/VIDEO – By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100/EXCELLENT = 83-91/GOOD = 74-82/AVERAGE = 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

UHD Presentation(HDR-10): 100
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 

  • HDR: Dark Highlights: 
  • HDR: Bright Highlights: 
  • HDR: Expanded Color: 
  • Resolution: 
  • Visual Impact: 

 

UHD Presentation (Dolby Vision): 100
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 

  • HDR: Dark Highlights: 
  • HDR: Bright Highlights: 
  • HDR: Expanded Color: 
  • Resolution: 
  • Visual Impact: 

 

Dolby Atmos Rating: 90
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 

  • Level of immersion: 
  • Soundstage integration: 
  • Audio object placement: 
  • Effectiveness of Atmos platform: 
  • Entertainment factor: 

 

Gemini Man comes to Ultra HD Blu-ray from Paramount Home Media Distribution featuring 2160pHEVC encoded video and lossless Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 channel sound.

Gemini Man was shot in 3D 4K at 120 frames per second. Its presentation on Ultra HD Blu-ray is derived from the 4K digital intermediate and rendered at 60 frames per second.

The 1080p transfer for Gemini Man looks great and this Ultra HD rendering takes it to another level with a discernible increase in detail, emboldened contrast, and a noticeably sharper image. The film has a multitude of sequences containing streaming/cascading light, and mixed light dark elements, that simply look terrific. Its low-level sequences, such as those that take place in the catacombs and later on the darkened streets of the small Georgia town, have excellent depth and dimension.

Color reproduction is consistent, with primaries like blue, red, and green appearing richer, even a bit more delineated. Secondary hues look great as well. During interior sequences whites are emboldened, detailed and bright, especially during light to mid-level transitions. Contrast abounds, lending an authenticity that underscores the subject matter, particularly during the action sequences later in the film. The use of shadows mixed with light looked very natural.

Resolution received a boost with the differences between the UHD and 1080p renderings being quite obvious. Close-ups tend to look amazing, with resolvable texture visible in the various interior/exterior sets, physical features, and CGI backgrounds being quite noticeable. The sun splashed exterior shots of Columbia have superb depth which added an enriching, and eye-catching aesthetic to them. In comparing the 1080p and Ultra HD renderings during the sequence in Columbia where Henry first encounters Junior, both are very detailed however, when looking at the rows of stone buildings during the motorcycle chase, the detail in the bricks in the Ultra HD version are visible from the closest building all the way to the furthest ones that trail off in the distance. In the 1080p version the detail is resolvable in the closest buildings/streets and becomes less so in those in the distance. To put it another way, the image has superb depth and dimension.

The application of HDR is always on display but, when applied, adds an enriching visual element. Specular highlights during the various explosions look terrific. The scene in Georgia that begins in chapter 14 is the presentation’s highlight in terms of HDR. The extended encounter with the assassins from Gemini features a host of pyrotechnics and mixed bright/dark elements, all of which shine in Ultra High Definition.

Gemini Man was shot in 3D/4K at 120 frames per second and rendered at 60 frames per second here. I am not particularly a fan of how this comes across in a cinematic process, as I found it to be distracting. This was not taken into account with respect to rating the video’s quality. The video has an overtly smooth/glistening sheen (aka the soap opera effect) that left it appearing less filmic and, more like a documentary, or after school special. At times the high frame rate combined with the razor sharpness made visual effects much easier to see. While that sometime proved distracting, I must admit to finding that there were other times where the image drew me with its 3D like appearance. At the end of the day I didn’t dislike the presentation due to the high frame rate, I simply prefer the traditional 24 frames per second for filmmaking.

Having not seen this film’s theatrical presentation, I can’t be certain but, I believe that what we are seeing is a faithful rendering of the film elements which are excellent.

Dolby Vision vs HDR-10:

I utilize the TCL 55P607 UHD Dolby Vision HDR flat panel in my review system to enable me to compare the visual quality of titles that contained the Dolby Vision metadata versus its HDR-10 counterpart on the same disc. All titles are first watched via my JVC front projector. I then select specific scenes which are watched on the TCL, first via HDR-10 then via Dolby Vision. The TCL isn’t among the top tier flat panels with DV, however it came recommended by AVS Forum Senior Editor Mark Henninger, and calibrates/performs extremely well for a set at its price point.

* The cumulative A/V score will still be based upon the HDR-10 rating, with the DV rating serving as informational only for now.*

Comparing the DV and HDR10 presentations for Gemini Man, I found the HDR renderings to be very close. Each presented similarly in terms of color rendering, but I did take a close look at contrast, and delineation, during scenes containing dark and bright elements. When I switched back and forth between the DV and HDR10 renderings, I felt that the DV presentation revealed slightly better interstitials in the darkest portions of the image, and white detail that wasn’t quite as hot, resulting in better definition. These differences aren’t especially noteworthy, but in the grand scheme, made for a more pleasing image. At the end of the day both looked terrific, leaving me equally satisfied with what I saw.

Dolby Atmos:

In listening to the Dolby Atmos surround mix I found it to be of the active variety that made steady use of the platform. Its use of audio objects is a mix atmospherics, discrete effects and music. This is done to very good effect and creates a tangible level of immersion that coincides with the onscreen events nicely. During the first act, there are several instances where the mix generates a noticeable improvement in dimension and depth of field. This continues with the film’s action-based sequences as they convey the breadth/expanse of interiors and exterior venues, which bristle with enveloping ambience and discretely placed effects.

For those not familiar with the details regarding Ultra HD Blu-ray you can refer to my article that includes some pertinent data on the subject. Here is the link:

Ultra HD Blu-ray Has Come to AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Blu-ray Video:

Video: 100
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 

  • Resolution/Clarity: 
  • Black Level/Shadow Detail: 
  • Color Reproduction: 
  • Fleshtones:
  • Compression: 

 

Audio: 94
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 

  • Dynamics: 
  • Low frequency effects: 
  • Surround Sound presentation: 
  • Clarity/Detail: 
  • Dialog Reproduction: 
  • DSU/DTS Neural:X Rating * (non-rated element): NA

 

Gemini Man comes to Blu-ray Disc from Paramount Home Media Distribution featuring 1080p AVC encoded video and lossless Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 channel sound.

Shot digitally, this is a terrific high definition rendering that sports oodles of fine detail and crisp definition that provides discerning dimensional perspective. Colors range from warm and vivid to cool, reserved and almost tonally neutral. This is obviously a creative decision that draws definitive visual boundaries and works quite well. Contrast is strong and blacks are deep without compromise to delineation. Shadowy areas exhibit excellent depth of field and visible gradational stages. Gemini Man looks fantastic on Blu-ray.

The 7.1 channel soundtrack features crystal clear dialog, robust dynamics and when called upon, an engaging surround sound mix. I was impressed with the implementation of both spacial dimension, and directional effects. This worked hand in hand with a resonating low end that underscored the film’s thematic tone. I found this to be an involving audio presentation that complimented the video resulting in an entertaining listening experience.

Bonus Features:

  • Disc 1: Gemini Man Ultra HD Blu-ray
  • 4K Exclusive: Visual Effects Progression – 60FPS Ultra HD/HDR
  • Disc 2: Gemini Man Blu-ray
  • Alternate Opening
  • Deleted Scenes
  • The Genesis of Gemini Man
  • Facing Your Younger Self
  • The Future is Now
  • Setting the Action
  • Next Level Detail
  • The Vision of Ang Lee
  • Digital Code

Final Thoughts:

Gemini Man is a middling sci-fi action thriller that features solid casting that is undermined by an underworked script and a somewhat distracting high frame rate filming process. It comes to Blu-ray from Paramount Home Media Distribution featuring excellent technical chops mated with a worthwhile supplemental package that looks behind the scenes at the production. If you’re curious Gemini Man is certainly worth checking out, both on standard and Ultra HD Blu-ray, just know what you’re in for regarding the high frame rate video in Ultra HD and, if that’s not your thing, then steer clear.

 

Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS2000 4K Ultra High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman color calibration software and Portrait Displays C6 HDR2000 colorimeter from Portrait.com)
Stewart Filmscreen – Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16×9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV7704 Audio/Video Processor
Emotiva XPA-7 Gen 3 Seven Channel Amplifier
Emotiva XPA-11 Gen 3 Amplifier
Panasonic DP-UB820 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/Roomie Remote V6 Universal Remote Control
Canton “Ergo” and Canton In-Ceiling Series Speakers
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
Dual SVS PC4000 Cylinder Subwoofers
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) – Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems