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Gemini Man
  • Composed by Lorne Balfe
  • Paramount / 62m

A just-retired hit man faces a battle against a clone of his younger self in Ang Lee’s Gemini Man. (Yes, Ang Lee’s.) Said hit man is played by Will Smith and said clone is also played by Will Smith and he’s always watchable but that’s about the best thing anyone has said about the film. If it seems odd territory for Lee, then his choice of composer is also somewhat unexpected – last time he directed a mainstream action movie he tried to bring Mychael Danna along but his score ended up being rejected by the studio, but there was less chance of that this time because he chose Lorne Balfe (who’s done this sort of film many times).

The surprises end there because the score sounds pretty much exactly like you would expect it to, a typical modern Remote Control techno-thriller score following the Man of Steel template. There’s a sort-of main theme introduced in the opening titles which is interchangeable with the sort-of main themes these things usually get, there’s ostinato-driven action music (the main positive being that the snarling brass sounds much more like a real orchestra than the real orchestras usually sound), the HORN OF DOOM still going strong, and suspense sequences with pulses and buzzes that aren’t particularly interesting. The only track which feels interesting enough to want to hear again is the eight-minute finale, which does have a certain dramatic flow to it. You can tell from his social media comments that Balfe is genuinely proud of his work and he has a lot of enthusiastic fans, so I’m obviously missing something pretty fundamental that makes his music attractive to some; to me this is just extremely dull and as far away as you could get from the sort of thoughtful, multi-layered music you usually hear in Ang Lee movies (which is perfectly understandable given the film itself is also a long way from his usual).

Rating: * | |

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  1. James Southall (Reply) on Saturday 9 November, 2019 at 15:48

    OK, I’ve been told that Lee’s original choice was Marco Beltrami and he WAS replaced. I’ll leave the review intact so that all future generations have evidence of my lack of knowledge.

  2. Kalman (Reply) on Monday 11 November, 2019 at 20:10

    I’m here again to defend Man of Steel: it’s one of my favourite scores from the 2010s. Gemini Man sounds nothing like Man of Steel. It is, just like you write, dull and there’s not much melody in it. Not much in common with Man of Steel.

  3. mastadge (Reply) on Tuesday 12 November, 2019 at 03:11

    I like Man of Steel well enough but I hardly think it’s unfair to say that many of Balfe’s scores in this vein — this, Terminator, M:I — are highly derivative of that sound and also not very good.