Terminator Genisys (12a)
Directed by: Alan Taylor
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jason Clarke, Emilia Clarke
Running time: 125 min
“Can’t repeat the past?” he cried incredulously. “Why of course you can!” Jay Gatsby
*Warning this review contains spoilers*
Arriving on the crest of the nostalgia wave created by Jurassic Word, Terminator Genisys looks to break off its own piece of the cash cow by lifting characters, plot and, in some cases, entire scenes from its original movie. If you have seen any Terminator film you already know the plot of this one. Resistance fighter John Connor sends Kyle Reese back to save his mother from a Terminator sent back by Skynet to prevent his birth.
The problems start when Connor sends back charisma vacuum Jai Courtney to 1984 to protect Sara Connor. Courtney gives one of the best robotic performances you have seen, he is the perfect embodiment of a machine trying to blend in. Unfortunately he is actually supposed to be playing a human.
Courtney – or Sam Worthington 2.0 – is staggeringly bad; he has zero chemistry with Emilia Clarke and it’s hard to see how they would ever fall for each other. At one point he is out-acted by her shadow during a particularly cringe worthy scene where I think he is trying to be charming. However, it is impossible to tell as Courtney delivers his lines as if just before the director called “Action” he was asked to divide 16 by 387. At points it felt cruel to give a man who obviously has difficulty speaking and emoting at the same time, so many long-winded speeches.
If Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is seen as franchise Viagra, Courtney seems to have the same franchise impotence that Jeremy Renner suffers from. As he has already seen mooted sequels to Die Hard, I, Frankenstein and Jack Reacher fall by the wayside. This isn’t the most encouraging sign for the upcoming Suicide Squad in which he has, again inexplicably, been given a big role in a potential blockbuster.
The film also suffers from a trailer that literally gives away every single plot point. In a way it’s actually impressive that they were able to boil a 125 minute long film down to a 1 min 45 second trailer and not make you feel like you have missed anything.
It’s poorly written with plot points coming and going at will with either nonsensical resolutions or just flat out none whatsoever. The writers seem to have excused themselves from any accountability simply by having a character declare at one point “hey, this time travel is confusing isn’t it?”.
The film is not a total disaster, although for my money it is the worst move in the series. Lacking either Terminator 3’s jaw dropping finale or Salvation’s boots on the ground fight scenes. JK Simons briefly shows up, steals the film and leaves. Jason Clarke is solid as a twisted John Connor (even if his motives are never addressed or explained), Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones) does enough to suggest that she will have career on the big screen long after her dragons fly the coup.
The star of the show however is undoubtedly Schwarzenegger. He still possesses the megawatt movie star charisma that is all too rare. He also shows a surprising amount of depth, his scenes with Sarah Connor are genuinely touching and there is a tenderness to his performance that hints that Arnie could have some signs of life in him yet. After reinventing himself from bodybuilder to actor to Governator. It’s not wise to back against the Austrian Oak.
Overall the only thing you need to know about this film is that with the Terminator rights set to revert back to James Cameron in 2019, Paramount have green lit two sequels to this movie already, regardless of box office with one due in 2017 and a third to follow in 2018. Every penny will be bled dry from this franchise before its lifeless corpse is handed back to the man who created it.
The recent Mad Max: Fury Road showed how to perfectly revive an old franchise by both staying true to the original while simultaneously blazing its own path. Terminator Genisys fails on both counts.
To be honest, I don’t think anything captures the confusing mess that is this film better than Triple H’s Terminator themed Wrestlemania entrance. Enjoy!
2 out of 5 Nerds