By Nico Beland
Movie Review: C- (2 ½ stars)
PARAMOUNT PICTURES AND SKYDANCE ENTERTAINMENT
Arnold Schwarzenegger (Total Recall, Predator, True Lies) certainly doesn’t lie when he says, “I’ll Be Back!” in every Terminator movie that gets released. And now we’re at the fifth installment of the long running Terminator film franchise that all started in 1984 when director James Cameron stepped in and made Arnold Schwarzenegger the action star we know and love as the iconic T-800 in the sci-fi action classic, The Terminator.
With unanimous praise and successful box office results, The Terminator stands as one of the most popular sci-fi movies of all time, thus resulting in a monster hit with the 1991 sequel, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, also directed by Cameron. Besides Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park and Robert Zemeckis’ Forrest Gump, Terminator 2: Judgment Day was one of the early films of the 1990s that perfected the use of computer special effects and while some of the effects are a tad dated, I still stand as them being some of the best special effects ever to be put in a movie, all thanks to Robert Patrick as the liquid metal Terminator sent to kill John Connor, the T-1000.
After Terminator 2, the franchise slowly went downhill with the adequate third installment, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines and the action dominated fourth installment, Terminator: Salvation, which was Schwarzenegger-less and plot and character development were non-existent, it honestly felt like a pre-Transformers 2 because both Terminator: Salvation and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen came out the exact same summer and both films tanked hard. And now director, Alan Taylor (Thor: The Dark World) brings us this new fifth installment of the Terminator franchise, Terminator: Genisys, which Arnold Schwarzenegger reprises his role as the T-800, the first time reprising the character since 2003’s Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, the Terminator: Salvation CG Arnold cameo doesn’t count.
Unlike Terminator: Salvation, Terminator: Genisys is closer to what I expect out of a Terminator movie, Arnold Schwarzenegger making cheesy puns, over the top special effects, robots, and time travel. But that’s not saying much, because this movie really hammers in references and plot elements from previous Terminator movies where you just wish you were watching the first two movies again, as well as some random plot elements that don’t go anywhere, the overall film seeming confused of whether or not it’s trying to be a sequel or a reboot, and a lot of stupid moments, and I mean incredibly stupid moments.
In the year 2029, the world has been taken over by Skynet and the machines and taking humans to prison camps to be exterminated. John Connor (Jason Clarke-Public Enemies, Zero Dark Thirty, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes), the leader of the Resistance, who leads the war against the machines, is notified that Skynet will attack both the past and the future, thereby changing warfare forever.
Connor recruits his future father, Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney-Jack Reacher, Divergent, Unbroken) to travel back in time to 1984 to find his mother Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke-Game of Thrones) and stop the T-800 that was sent to kill her. Once he finds Sarah Connor, Kyle realizes that another T-800 was sent to protect her that she nicknamed Pops and Sarah has a plan to put Skynet out of a commission before it’s even born.
Unfortunately their plan suddenly changes when they hear of a new program designed by Skynet called Genisys (and no, I’m not talking about Sega!) that is soon to be going live on every computer, tablet, and smartphone in the world, and once it does Skynet will have control of the entire world. So it’s a race against time to save the future as Sarah, Kyle, and the T-800 battle a new T-1000 (Lee-Byung-hun-G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, G.I. Joe: Retaliation, RED 2) as well as their latest Terminator model, the T-3000, and take the fight to Cyberdyne Systems and put an end to Genisys as well as the war against the machines.
Overall, Terminator: Genisys is quite an ambitious movie; I’m not surprised that my thoughts were all over the place, but thankfully, for better or for worse, it gave me more to talk about than Terminator: Salvation, which can pretty much be summed up as loud, obnoxious, explosion fest that came out a month before the louder and even more annoying Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.
It’s far from being good, I mean Oh My God, it doesn’t even come close to being as awesome or engaging as The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day, hell even Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, while nothing spectacular is a much better example of how to do a proper Terminator movie and it’s where the franchise should have ended in the first place. This one just hammered in the stuff we saw back in 1984 and 1991 but most of it feels really half-ass and almost seems like what you would expect from a Transformers sequel where they don’t even try to give something new.
But with that said, I came into the movie, not expecting much to begin with, I was mainly just expecting a dumb Schwarzenegger sci-fi movie, and pretty much that’s exactly what I got. Arnold, while the guy is definitely too old to Terminate, he certainly gives it his all and he is fun to watch, undeniably, even in a bad movie like Last Action Hero, he tries his best to be the fun action star that he is, even if the movie is a serious waste of time.
Some of the ideas are a little creative like the idea of traveling to the future and of course the action for the most part are the best aspect of the film, especially this great helicopter chase in the middle of the movie, but overall this could have just been a theatrical film adaptation of the TV show, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.
So if you just want something stupid and mindlessly entertaining this might be a guilty pleasure, but if you’re a die-hard Terminator fan, don’t even try, go back to the first two movies.
I’LL BE BACK…WHEN TERMINATOR 6 COMES OUT!