Terminator: Genisys (2015)

 

TERMINATOR GENISYS

Alan Taylor directs Arnold Schwarzenegger, Emilia Clarke and Jai Courtney in this sci-fi reboot of the classic time travelling killer robot from the future action series.

Mindless entertainment. I’m well aware this is a film with problems. Yet I like the opening half hour where the original film’s timeline is turned into a sandbox for twisty action sequences, I love ageing Arnie (bad jokes and all, “Old… Not Obsolete”), I think the Golden Gate Bridge chase sequence is thrilling if pointless, Emilia Clarke may be miscast but it is hard to hold that against her in her cute little leather jacket / ponytail hero outfit, and the trailer spoiled “surprise” that John Connor is the nano-infected antagonist this time around would have been a hoot if kept under wraps and better utilised. This was a pure popcorn, throwaway rush both times I saw it at the cinema. On the small screen the less forgivable negatives become more glaring. Jai Courtney isn’t just a charisma vacuum, isn’t just NOT Michael Biehn (nor even Anton Yelchin)… he’s just too well nourished and suntanned to be a frazzled guerilla survivor of a robo-apocalypse. Those last two action sequences are ropey CGI fests… wacky races with helicopters followed by the longest ticking clock countdown since Roger Moore’s heyday. Is Genisys salvageable?… Yes. I think if Reese was either recast or killed off at the midway point, our new little diddy Sarah Connor would have been given room to stand out and feel more badass, less bad grades. Equally, an extra 10 minutes of the John Connor / Skynet hybrid landing in the 2010s and impressing the Dysons wouldn’t have hurt. In fact, if the narrative shifted focus in the second half entirely to Jason Clarke programming and defending the birth of Skynet, warding off Arnie and the gang’s terror attacks then the film would have purpose and uniqueness. The elements are there for a more consistent and vital entry… instead we get some neat T-800 moments and another unexplored dead end cliffhanger for a series that used to be a cinematic sci-fi high point.

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