You had me at two Will Smiths.
As a Will Smith ride-or-die, that was my declaration upon hearing the premise for Ang Lee’s Gemini Man, in which the actor stars as both Henry, a middle-aged assassin, and his younger clone, Junior, who’s been sent to kill him. Now, reviews have slightly dimmed the excitement for Smith vs. Smith, with the execution not living up to the promise, but the idea of having two Will Smiths for the price of one is still pretty intriguing.
So intriguing, in fact, that it got us wondering (okay, just me): What past Smith movie would have benefited most from featuring a second Will Smith? (Unsurprisingly, this question comes from the same mind behind this and this).
Let’s look at the contenders.
The new story: I love Martin Lawrence as much as the next Lawrence, but everyone would be all in on seeing smooth-talking Mike Lowery (Smith) partnering with his equally charismatic twin brother, Marcus Lowery (sorry, not sorry that I stole Lawrence’s character’s first name). Téa Leoni wouldn’t know what to do with herself!
Men in Black II
The new story: Considering that this disappointing sequel missed the mark, another Smith couldn’t hurt, right? With Agent J now established as the Men in Black’s new top agent, why wouldn’t an alien race trying to take over Earth send one of their own in an Agent J disguise to infiltrate our world’s greatest defense?
Wild Wild West
The new story: Dr. Loveless (Kenneth Branagh) was out creating giant mechanical spiders, so what’s stopping him from being really ahead of the times and building a James West (Smith) robot? Imagine the music video possibilities!
The new story: Smith finally gets his Nutty Professor. Sorry, Kevin James, you’re out, and in as Hitch’s (Smith) latest client is Aaron Hitchens, who is the complete opposite of his matchmaking younger brother.
I Am Legend
The new story: Imagine thinking you’re the only person left on the planet after a deadly pandemic, and then you run into someone who looks identical to you. That would be a mind f—.
The new story: Throw a scar on Smith and make him the superpowered villain Hancock has battled throughout history. Anything would be better than the random bank robber they turned into the antagonist midway through the movie when they realized that there was no big bad.
The new story: Does it matter? Anything would be better than the original After Earth. Okay, since it’s a sci-fi movie, let’s say there’s a multiple-dimensions situation, so Kitai (Jaden Smith) and Cypher (Will Smith) arrive on Earth and while Kitai is running around he meets the Earth version of his father. Here’s hoping that this Cypher actually has emotions and does stuff.
The new story: You wouldn’t need some twin scenario here, as we keep Smith as human cop Daryl Ward and just add him in a bunch of makeup as orc cop Nick Jakoby (instead of Joel Edgerton). Necessary? No, but it would at least make this movie somewhat interesting.
And the winner of best double Will Smith movie is…
Hancock is one of the great unfilled-promise movies of the last decade or so. Will Smith as a reckless, alcoholic superhero? C’mon, slam dunk! Well, with a second Smith getting to be the villain — which the actor never does — then we’re finally fulfilling this potential.