Better alternatives to Gemini Man.
Actor, rapper, philanthropist, and a cool dad in general. I believe that description alone is enough for a lot of people to know who I want to talk about. That’s right, I want to talk about one of my favourite actors of all time: Will Smith.
To be precise, I want to share with you guys my list of favourite sci-fi movies that Will Smith has acted in. With Gemini Man coming out soon (we didn’t really find it hot), I thought it’d be a great time to recap on some great science fiction stories that Will Smith has helped bring to life.
Men In Black
I trace back all the references and jokes about secret government agencies handling extraterrestrial contact and intergalactic crimes on Earth to the original Men in Black. The movie established a lot of interesting concepts; my personal favourite being the neuralyzer, a memory-wiping tool. Absolutely brilliant stuff.
It’s probably been more than 5 years since I last rewatched Men in Black but I still fondly remember it, mostly thanks to the amazing chemistry between Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones. Will Smith’s approach to the young and street smart cop role who’s thrown into the secretive world of the MiB is still funny to watch today.
There’s an early scene where James (Smith’s character) goes for the MiB candidacy assessment. One of the first things all candidates have to do is fill up a questionnaire. Despite everyone else besides James being some kind of super competent army personnel, everyone is struggling on how to write on the fragile papers since there’s no flat surface for them to use.
James just pulls the nearby coffee table, albeit very loudly, uses it and then calmly asks the uptight soldier next to him if he wants to join. Classic Will Smith.
As how Men in Black solidified multiple tropes and cliches that would characterise movies and other works of similar nature, I, Robot popularised Isaac Asimov’s three laws of robotics and gave everyone a basic understanding of some fundamentals in incorporating robots in future stories.
At the exact moment of writing this sentence, I just realised that Smith is still cast as another street smart cop, just with more paranoia towards robots instead of aliens. In a future where robots have become an everyday part of life, Detective Del (Smith’s character) represents an outlier in his lack of trust towards robots.
Despite all the mixed responses towards the movie, I still think it’s one of the most thought-provoking films out there. Perhaps that’s because I watched it while I was very young and found every message in the film to be extremely eye-opening. However, it still has one of the most memorable exchanges I’ve ever heard in a movie:
When people talk about awesome silver screen fighter pilots, they often mention Tom Cruise first. For me, it’s always been Will Smith.
I’ll be fair and admit that the dogfights in Top Gun were way more exciting but Independence Day wasn’t about its sky-high battle scenes. It was about humanity’s struggle against an overwhelmingly powerful enemy and how it united us all.
With that being said, watching Will Smith outmaneuver an alien ship and then hitting the eject button moments before a head-on collision was one of the most exhilarating scenes I’d ever seen. However, the best came right afterwards: Will Smith punching an alien, says “welcome to Earth”, and then lights up a cigar.
I Am Legend
Admit it, you cried at THAT scene too, didn’t you?
One of the reasons why I love Will Smith’s acting so much is that he’s able to portray a level of genuine humanity that other actors are never really able to pull off. In no other movie is this more obvious than in I Am Legend.
In a setting where humanity itself is pretty much extinct or at least, non-existent for the majority of the film, Smith is able to carry the film on his own (and with the wonderful dog) thanks to the fact that his presence alone is enough to induce the humanity we need to see on screen. It’s a very sombre, lonely, and yet strangely endearing show of what it’s like to be the last man on Earth.
The only gripe I still have with I Am Legend was how it handled the ending. Apparently, there are two endings (which shouldn’t be the case for films, in my opinion) and there’s one that seems to be the more “satisfying” ending, whatever that means. Personally, I’ll just go with the one where Smith’s character dies and he becomes a legend for being humanity’s saviour.
Bonus Raspberry Round:
Wild Wild West
In terms of its writing and overall plot, Wild Wild West was a trainwreck but that didn’t stop me from enjoying it. It was also the first time I saw a giant mechanical spider, so that might have influenced me too.
Judging by Will Smith’s performance in the movie alone, it was pretty damn good. Directed by the same guy who brought us Men in Black, Smith was cast again into another role which gave him the name James and made him some sort of agent belonging to some sort of secret agency.
Smith maintains his great ability to carry comedic roles in this movie and in my opinion, he’s pretty much the only thing that saves this movie. Everything still remains a mess and it’s one of those movies I’m not very proud to recommend. However, I will still rewatch it for sh*ts and giggles.
So if you guys haven’t any of the above films, I wholeheartedly recommend you to do so. Well, except for Wild Wild West.
Piling into the list of sci-fi Will Smith movies is Gemini Man and it’s coming out very soon. We got to watch an early screening so if you’re on the fence about it, here’s what we thought about it.