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Oscar-winning Life of Pi director Ang Lee continues to fall flat when he’s given the reigns of a blockbuster movie.

He made 2003’s Hulk dull and plodding among his attempts to master the latest computer-generated technology – and here he tries it again.

And fails again.

Because he’s made not just one, but two, Will Smith’s rather dull.

And as we’re sure to see in the forthcoming Bad Boys for Life, that’s rather hard to do.

Smith stars as ageing government assassin Henry Brogan, who is about to retire from his career after becoming disillusioned with, erm, killing people.

But when an old friend informs him his last ‘kill’ was of an innocent man, Brogan gets put in the cross-hairs of Clive Owen’s Clay Varris, the head of a top-secret black ops unit codenamed ‘Gemini’, after he stumbles across a highly confidential deception – and Mary Elizabeth Winstead’s (Die Hard 4.0) young DIA agent Dani Zakarweski aids him after she becomes inadvertently embroiled in the plot.

Things get weird for Brogan though when he realises the assassin sent by Varris to kill him is actually a younger clone of himself – who knows his every move – and it’s up to him to persuade his ‘junior’ version that he’s playing for the wrong side.

And much like with this year’s Alita: Battle Angel, the computer-developed wizardry is extremely impressive – particularly when viewed in High Frame Rate (HFR) 3D – bar the last few minutes when it looks a tad ropey.

But sadly that is all the film could possibly be remembered for, because everything else is quite remarkably tepid. Basic clunky dialogue, stereotypical plot we’ve seen (in some way, shape or form) from action movies twenty years ago, and a generally sub-par story that lacks very few stand-out moments.

Even the pay-off is underwhelming, and it simply ends up being a ‘guinea pig’ for the latest technology.

Why Smith chose this project is quite bewildering, and if he had his time over again he’d surely clone a younger version of himself to stop him from making it – so it wouldn’t become a stain on his generally impressive resume.

ESP Rating: 2/5

Gavin Miller

Cast: Will Smith, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Clive Owen, Ralph Brown, Douglas Hodge, Linda Emond, Ilia Volok, Ej Bonilla & Clive Owen

Running Time: 1 Hr 57 Mins

Director: Ang Lee

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