It’s tricky in this day and age to take a successful movie franchise from a previous decade and completely rejuvenate it through a sequel or reboot. When it works it really pays off, like with Jurassic World or Mad Max: Fury Road earlier this year. When it doesn’t work, you end up with movies like this tire fire – Terminator Genisys.
Going into Terminator Genisys with low expectations, all I really wanted was a fun revisit to the battle against Skynet and a welcomed return to the series for Arnold Schwarzenegger. However, while watching the film it quickly became apparent that assuming Terminator Genisys would be even the slightest bit of fun was too much to ask for.
The first 30 minutes or so of the movie consists of all the iconic moments from the first two Terminator installments – and that’s the high point. From there, Genisys introduces the plot about, of course, time travel. But this time around there is an alternate timeline because Terminators were sent back even further in time to when Sarah Conner was nine years old.
She grows up with a T-800, played by Schwarzenegger, whom she calls “Pops.” They are joined by other Terminators and time-traveling ally, Kyle Reese. (For Genisys, Reese is portrayed by Jai Courtney, who you may recall from his involvement in ruining the Die Hard franchise.)
That’s about all you can make out of the plot without foaming at the mouth in a feeble attempt at logically explaining anything else. Every time the plot takes a turn, you can tell yourself the plot doesn’t matter, just keep watching. The longer this film goes on, the less willing you’ll be to forgive its mistakes, until eventually enough is enough. No matter how many times Arnold tells the audience, “Theoretically, it’s not that complicated,” nobody is buying it.
Not one theme that made Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day into classics are present at all. All of the jokes and charm that come from a robot trying to “blend in” fall flat. There is a gag about the T-800 trying to smile, and despite not being funny the first time, is used three times throughout the film. Even when they finally get around to incorporating the series’ iconic music, it’s wasted on an unimpressive scene already shown in commercials.
There are more scenes in Terminator Genisys about putting ammunition into weapons than there are attempts at developing the characters on screen. It’s a big pile of recycled cliches and locations the series has visited previously.
For a movie that uses CGI for 90% of its action sequences, one would hope they at least make it look presentable, but again Genisys falls flat. The action itself is so dull and repetitive it becomes absolutely mind-numbing.
None of the acting is notably horrific, but there is also no performance worthy of any praise. Sarah Connor is played by Emilia Clarke, who looks enough like Linda Hamilton (I guess). J.K. Simmons has a role in this movie for absolutely no reason other than he was probably doing a favor to someone.
Going in to Terminator Genisys, I thought that there was no way it could be worse than Terminator Salvation and having Arnold back could only be a good thing. I was so very wrong. This is a true testament to studios beating a dead horse of a movie franchise.
The only positive to come from this Terminator movie is that it will probably be the last. Uninspired, unexciting, unintelligent, unimaginative, unnecessary. The only reason this film didn’t earn a 0/5 is because I love Arnold Schwarzenegger unconditionally and Terminator Genisys being a total let down isn’t his fault.