Cert 12A 117mins Stars 3
Twice as much Will Smith adds up to far less than half the fun in this bloodless globetrotting action thriller which was dreamed up last century and feels its age as it creaks along.
The hardworking star puts in a double shift as a hitman battling a twenty-something year old clone of himself, and is aided by state-of-the-art CGI which convincingly de-ages him.
After Smith’s magical performance powered Disney’s Aladdin to a billion dollar box success, I was hoping the charismatic actor would consolidate his restored career momentum, but his best efforts are wasted by director, Ang Lee.
Having previously made an incredibly dull Hulk movie, the Oscar winning director of Brokeback Mountain has little feel for the material, and seems more interested in continuing experimenting with technology as he did in recent box office flop, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk.
A combination of shooting at a much higher than normal film speed, and compensating for the darkening effect of 3D, results in a harshly lit and cheap looking movie.
Fight scenes seem edited for minimum impact and the stunt work lacks the invention and energy displayed in 2002’s The Bourne Identity, where Clive Owen played a bad guy, as he does again here.
Benedict Wong makes himself laugh as the comic relief character and though Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s sardonic spirit and action ability is mostly wasted, she does enough to suggest great things will happen when she pops up as Batman super-villain, Huntress, in next year’s Bird’s of Prey.
This was first conceived over twenty years ago in the manner of glossy and violent over-the-top thrillers such as Sean Connery’s The Rock, who at the time was in consideration to star in this.
But all the good stuff has been toned down in order to appeal to the broadest possible 21st century audience, leaving it neutered and uncertain of its identity.