Readers of a certain age will probably recall a time when Will Smith was still considered ultra-cool and relevant, with a string of hits seeing the beloved Fresh Prince riding the zeitgeist.

Those days, alas, seem ever further away, considering a string of often dreadful films and projects he’s bizarrely plumped for in recent years.

And, although Christmas isn’t here just yet, Smith has just delivered a prime turkey, with director Ang Lee’s Gemini Man (Cert 12A, 117 mins).

Ageing assassin Henry (Smith) decides to hang up his guns after a mission goes awry, but his shady agency decides that it wants to ‘retire’ him in a rather more permanent fashion.

It’s not long before his friend, and a mysterious woman, have also become caught up in things as Henry goes on the run, with a particularly powerful assassin hot on his trail.

As the trailers have made painfully clear, Henry’s being stalked by a younger clone of himself, who’s just as intuitive and good as he is, but with all the advantages of youth.

Can Henry and Dani (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) stay ahead of ‘Junior’ (also Smith) long enough to shut down the killer clone unit and ‘retire’ his doublecrossing boss (Clive Owen)?

Yikes. It doesn’t take too long to work out why the script was trapped in development hell for about 20 years.

Indeed, I vaguely recall reading about it some 15 or so years ago.

All kinds of stars, directors and studios had been attached to it down the years, until Ang Lee and Smith teamed up for this overcooked mess.

The CG effects to create a young-looking Smith as Junior works well – most, but not all of the time – but it’s something of a novelty distraction.

The core problem is the underwhelming plot and script, which really underscore why this film was kicking around the studios for absolute yonks.

Having gone from the highs of last week’s killer clown (Joker) to the lows of this killer clone tale, I’m afraid the stars just haven’t aligned for this particular Gemini.

  • Verdict: 4/10