Apparently the concept of redundancy is completely lost on the producers of Terminator movies. Seriously, how many times can a human looking robot be sent back in time to kill Sarah Connor? Better yet, how many action films does Arnie have left in him? But, this is the era of sequels, remakes, adaptations, and reboots. So here we go, for no real reason, with another Terminator film.
If you’ve seen any Terminator film before, then you know the gist. An artificial intelligence known as Skynet kills most of humanity in 1997 on “Judgment Day”. A freedom fighter named John Connor (played by Jason Clarke this time around) leads the human resistance that defeats them in the year 2029. To prevent their defeat, Skynet sends a humanoid robot (Arnold Schwarzenegger) to the past to kill Connor’s mother (Emilia Clarke) before she can give birth to him. In response, Connor sends back a soldier named Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) to protect her.
It’s best to think of Terminator Genisys as its own entity and not a sequel or reboot. It borrows concepts from James Cameron’s original films, while completely ignoring the more recent incarnations (2009’s Terminator Salvation). The film starts off almost exactly like the original, with John sending Kyle Reese back to 1984 to protect his mother. Many of the scenes are, in fact, shot-for-shot recreations. The twist is that this time when Kyle arrives, Sarah is not only a tough soldier in her own right, but she is also being protected by a reprogrammed Terminator she calls Pops (Schwarzenegger).
At this point, you’re probably expecting me to go on and on about why this movie shouldn’t exist and how it is a soulless cash grab that doesn’t come close to the original. Well, while that is true, it should be noted that there are plenty of things that Terminator Genisys does well. Things that actually make this movie worth seeing. For one, the villain is up to par. The T-3000, a human-robot hybrid, is as menacing and visually stunning as Arnie’s T-800 from the original 1984 film and Robert Patrick’s T-1000 from my favorite, 1991’s Terminator: Judgment Day. This helps create some awesome action sequences, which is inevitably what you come to see a Terminator movie for in the first place. The cast, while mediocre on the surface, isn’t half bad either. Emilia Clarke is certainly no Linda Hamilton, but she holds her own. And the actors seem to at least have a hint of noticeable chemistry even if the film’s romance feels nonexistent.
But don’t be mistaken into thinking Terminator Genisys is either inventive or necessary. The plot is overly convoluted, filled with tons of plot holes the minute you stop to think about it, and the ending is unfittingly meager. This film exists only to squeeze out every last drop of a franchise with few surprises left in it. But if you’re bored, or a few months down the line you want to rent something from Redbox, you can do much, much worse than Terminator Genisys.
FINAL GRADE: C+