Director: Alan Taylor
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jason Clarke, Emilia Clarke, Jai Courtney, J.K. Simmons, Matt Smith
Written by: Laeta Kalogridis, Patrick Lussier, (based on the characters created) james Cameron and Gale Anne Hurd.
Running Time: 125 mins
Release date: 2nd July 2015
It’s been six years since the last Terminator film, Terminator: Salvation and twelve years since Arnie last donned the leather jacket and uttered those immortal words “I’ll be back!” in Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machine. Now we have Terminator Genisys, which tells us to forget films 3 and 4, they didn’t happen, Instead, concentrate on James Cameron’s original first two. Got that? Good. Now forget those as well for Terminator Genisys is going to change everything and at the same time, add absolutely nothing to a series that should have stopped after Cameron’s originals.
During the war with the terminators, freedom fighter John Connor sends Kyle Reese back to 1984 to protect Connor’s mother. When Reese gets there, he discovers that Sarah Connor doesn’t need protecting, even though a T-1000 terminator (the molten metal shape shifter) is after her. She is being protected by The Terminator, the same machine sent to kill her in the first place. Sarah and Reese have to be propelled to 2017 when Judgment Day happened, only to find a familiar face who isn’t all he seems.
Many people criticised Terminator: Salvation for being a little lacklustre. Well it’s positively unique compared to this new entry in a series that, frankly, has seen far better days. What we have here is a carbon copy of the first two movies, without any of the entertainment value or that sense of wonder you got from first watching them.
Sure, the original Terminator, made back in 1984 on a shoestring budget, does look very dated now, with its cheap effects. Yet it still manages to make the heart pace with excitement. Cameron then took the series up another level with Judgment Day but here, director Alan Taylor gives us nothing we haven’t seen before. So we get the same old running around, blowing things up, pyro extravaganza that we have seen in countless other movies but with a plot that leaves you wondering who came up with it.
So time lines that have occurred have all been changed. Instead of this happening at this point, something completely different happens instead, making us immediately scratch our heads and say, how is that possible? Fans of the earlier films will certainly be up in arms at what a mess the writers have made of this franchise. But that’s okay. If you throw in another dull, unimaginative set piece, no one will notice. Yes, they will!
It’s all well and good having chases in school buses or in helicopters but do something different with them. We’ve been down these roads a thousand times before and executed a whole lot better. Even the effects seem dated and clichéd. Considering Judgment Day was so groundbreaking, they could have at least upped their game.
The new cast does their best. Emilia Clarke, from Game Of Thrones, tries her best to be as tough and spunky as Linda Hamilton yet it doesn’t quite work. wherever this is supposed to sit in the timelines of the other films, Sarah was bulked up and mean as hell. No matter how hard Ms Clarke tries, she just doesn’t convince as a tough as nails woman who can save the world. Jai Courtney is fine as Reese while there’s a blink-and-you’ll-miss-him appearance from former Doctor Who, Matt Smith (calling himself Matthew here).
As for Arnie, his most famous role is starting to look tired. There are a few moments when we see the old Arnie magic but on the whole it looks like he’s going through the motions, like some aging dog who learnt a few tricks years ago and needs to show them off once in a while.
Terminator Genisys is not the re-invention we all hoped it would be. In fact, it just shows how good Cameron’s films were and that nothing has come close to capturing those glory days. Rumour has it that the series is going to run for a few more movies. Frankly, it’s time to move on and put the Terminator out to retire, so he won’t be back!