John Connor sends Kyle Reese back in time to protect Sarah Connor, but when he arrives in 1984, nothing is as he expected it to be.
The fifth film in the ‘Terminator’ series is a return to the time travelling premise of the original, bringing Arnie back after he sat out ‘Terminator: Salvation’ due to his recent spell as a politician. The good news is that ‘Genisys’ is mainly influenced by the high octane thrills of the first two films in the series, whereas the bad news is that it never feels like anything other than an imitation. Given the franchise had essentially run out of story by this point, we are introduced to a complicated plot that requires the invention of a secondary timeline and some heavy handed exposition to essentially justify the movie. The threat is now ‘Genisys’, an extreme macguffin that seems to be an amalgamation of all tech available in the world, banded together to create this unknowable threat.
Joining Schwarzenegger in this venture are Emilia Clarke, Jason Clarke and Jai Courtney, who all enter the franchise with varying results. As the latest Sarah Connor, Clarke is an excellent fit as a battle worn version of the character, and I liked Jai Courtney’s iteration of Kyle Reese, even if the actor would have been a better fit for a Terminator than a human. Jason Clarke is an actor I normally like, but I don’t think he’s particularly great here, largely down to the use of his character which is messy and badly written. Arnie is Arnie and its enjoyable seeing him back in his most iconic role, whilst I also enjoyed J. K. Simmons performance as a slightly crazed detective, fresh off his Oscar victory for ‘Whiplash’.
One of the biggest problems with this film, prior to release, was the trailer, which seemed to follow a general trend of giving away too much of the plot. That ruins a lot of the surprises in the film and does take away from a flawed, but ultimately fun entry in the ‘Terminator’ series. Overall, I found the film to be paced pretty well and the frenetic plotting barely allows the audience time to stop and consider the various plot holes from the convoluted time travel storyline. ‘Terminator Genisys’ is further evidence that the franchise has long ran out of steam, but whilst it’s here, this is a fun romp for fans of the series.
Directed By: Alan Taylor
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Emilia Clarke, Jason Clarke, Jai Courtney, Lee Byung-hun, J. K. Simmons and Matt Smith