You’d think that after two films in a series that have actually lost the studio money, that someone would maybe say, “you know, I think we should just stop trying.” Nobody seemed to listen after Terminator 3 because they made the bomb of Salvation. But somebody had to have addressed concerns after that, right? Well, Terminator Genisys is out now, which means nobody listened and clearly time-travel hasn’t been invented in the future in order send someone back to put an end to the never-ending lineage of robots (no, I’m not talking about Transformers but the theory applies to that too). Let’s just say that if Arnold Schwarzenegger isn’t the biggest problem with your movie, then you must have some serious issues.
In the ever-convoluted time-traveling universe of Terminator, the humans are on the verge of winning the war under John Connor (now played by Jason Clarke). This is the beginning of the very first Terminator as he sends Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) back in time in order to save Sarah Connor (Game of Thrones’ Emilia Clarke). What follows is a bit of a subversion of the series with a new timeline, but it’s not one without its repetitive fight scenes, stunted acting, bizarrely hokey moments, and lack of excitement for anything more (there are two green-lit sequels already.)
I will say this: Emilia Clarke is a spitting image of Linda Hamilton from the original films. With the new timeline, Sarah is essentially being cared for by Arnold’s Terminator. While she kicks a lot of butt, her dialogue is pretty awful at times, referring to her “Guardian” (as Arnold’s Terminator is listed as) as “Pops.” This, in a way, belittles her character and takes away some of her ferocity. Other than that, Clarke does what she can and occasionally rises above it to prove her worth as not just the face of Game of Thrones. Arnold, for whatever reason, does not suck. Maybe it’s because he has performed this role so many times, but aside from a few forced one-liners, he does an excellent job in doing the role he originated.
Kyle Reese’s character, after being sent back in time, becomes a constant barrage of annoyance as he continuously does not listen to anyone while never trusting Arnold despite the fact that the very person he is trying to protect trusts him immensely. It seems like the writers just needed to give Courtney dialogue and this was the easiest way out. Jason Clarke, whose big character twist was revealed not only in the trailer but on the posters as well, is wooden as well. His character has some of the biggest inconsistencies to it, making it feel like he wasn’t entirely flushed out.
Not only does the time-travel get more confusing than it needs to be, but the entire movie contains blatant plot-holes that are completely ignored just so they can tell the story they want to tell. It’s not very often where fight scenes actually become less exciting as a movie goes on, but there comes a point in the repetitious barrage of people flying through walls and wasted bullets shot at Terminators where you have to say, “Ok! We get it.” Their attempts to alleviate the tedium result in a jaunty helicopter chase scene with horrendous CGI and a tacky comedy attempt that includes the theme song from Cops.
If there wasn’t already two more sequels planned, this would have to be the end of the line. Terminator Genisys tries so hard to be an appeasement to fans of the original, and it might succeed briefly like during the fight scene between young Arnold and old, but these moments are overshadowed by its own attempts to constantly try and dig itself out of a hole that was started 12 years ago when they tried to bring back the Terminator after two excellent films. The Terminator “Will be back,” but at this point he just needs to stay gone.