Will Smith plays a man who is haunted by his past: all those years pulling a trigger for the government have taken their toll, to the point where he tells people he’s having trouble looking in a mirror. (Though from his swaggering carriage and bulked-up physique, it’s clear he’s aware of his appearance.) But uh-oh, no peace for this 51-year-old retiree: he’s also hunted by his past, both in the form of his old commanding officer and his past self — or at least, a much younger clone. Our man is a weary, lonely, wounded soul, but you’ll have to take his word for it, because he mostly just seems bored. Why are we here again? Oh right: someone’s trying to breed a new kind of soldier, one without the kind of pesky conscience that’s been bothering Smith. I mean, big baddie Clive Owen is already running a paramilitary org that seems comfy shooting civilians and making “12 Saudi Princes disappear,” but things could always be better! More to the point: what is director Ang Lee doing here with this bargain Bond flick? (Well, $138 million.) Oh — he’s playing with tech, and not just the de-aging sort that's got folks excited these days. The same High Frame Rate that make the actors look like they’re on Days of Our Lives makes the colors absolutely pop: a royal blue truck against a tangerine wall, a lime-green bike before a butter yellow church. Oh, and just look at those textures on the skulls in the underground ossuary fight scene! It’s cooler than the action, anyway, which feels utterly detached from the supposed story. Old Man Smith holds his own just fine against Smith in His Prime, and he’s tough enough to take a motorcycle to the head, so there’s really nothing to worry about. Or care about. (2019) — Matthew Lickona
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