Terminator: Genisys

by | Jul 13, 2015 | 0 comments

The Fifth Installment Flops Critically and Fails To Reboot the Franchise

Some films are not necessary. After Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgement Day people thought that the Terminator franchise should have stopped. Of course you can’t blame the studios after two big box office successes. So Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines happened and it was terrible and what’s worse: completely unnecessary. So you would be surprised that a fourth Terminator (Terminator: Salvation) was greenlit, and unfortunately it was terrible as well. So when we come to Terminator: Genisys, you don’t see the point in franchise anymore. Clearly the studio prepped up a negative response to where the franchise had been headed, so they take advantage of time traveling and try to change the whole story of the whole franchise, but instead of helping reboot the franchise it simply makes us shake our heads.

Terminator: Genisys picks up before the events of the first film (Terminator of 1984) take place. In the post-apocalyptic world, the war of humans vs. machines is nearly over and John Connor (Jason Clarke) is leading the human side to victory. However, he finds out that the machines (led by the computer program Skynet) have sent a killer robot (Terminator) to murder John’s mother: Sarah Connor (Game of Thrones‘ Emilia Clarke) before John is even born. So John sends one of his best men, Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney), to stop the Terminator from murdering his mother. BUT there is a twist in this part of the story. Apparently when Reese arrives, the Terminator sent back has already been “taken care of” by Sarah Connor and… another Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) who an unknown person from the future sent to protect Sarah. However, there is still a T-1000 liquid robot (which has the exact same visual effect quality as the T-1000 in 1992’s T2) after them, plus there is a whole lot of time travelling left to do.

The bad thing is that the film tries to be smart and thinks it achieves it. Unfortunately there are so many illogical problems and paradoxes regarding time travel that I would think it unfair to count it when rating the film. The writers didn’t seem to have mapped out the time travelling aspects at all; they were too focused on creating new one-liners and fitting explosions into the story.

I think that another big problem in the film is the casting. Now the biggest challenges in the cast were probably John and Sarah Connor, since they are the most charismatic and iconic characters of the franchise, and in that aspect I feel that the respective actors (Jason and Emilia Clarke – no relation) did a fine job; they clearly tried very hard to avoid previous actors’ shadows and they ended up succeeding. However, we need to talk about Jai Courtney. Courtney plays Kyle Reese; a role which Michael Biehn brought to life incredibly well in Terminator; so well that he made Reese an omnipresent character even after he disappears from the next two Terminator films. But Jai Courtney not only failed to rise to Biehn’s status, he completely flopped in every aspect of acting. Now I don’t normally like to shame on actors like this, but Courtney felt: as if he was being fed lines between the edits of the scene, he didn’t seem to understand what he was saying, no one bought his reactions, and his chemistry with every other actor was invisible (and this is surprising since he is a couple with Emilia Clarke and she plays his love interest in this film). So unfortunately Courtney ruined most of the scenes he was in, which were practically all of them (he’s the narrator). We also have a supporting cast, which seemed to be ignored on purpose. J.K. Simmons, the Oscar-winning actor was given a role so small, that if you blink you might miss it. And then you have the Doctor Who alum Matt Smith, who was a big part in the marketing of the film, but he ends up getting seconds of screen time (I’m totally serious, count it if you go see this film: he doesn’t reach a minute on the screen).

The only thing that worked in this film was what has always worked in the other Terminator films: “Ah-nuld.” Arnold Schwarzenegger is a better actor than most people credit him for. Of course I can’t really judge him in this film since he’s been playing this role for over 30 years, but he’s had some nice turns in indie films like the recent Maggie and if we look even farther back he succeeded in Total Recall and even had a comedic turn in True Lies. Anyways, Schwarzenegger gives his Terminator an emotional battle to deal with. He teases the audience as we see him struggle to comprehend if he is actually experiencing emotion as a machine. He certainly displays more emotion than Jai Courtney. Schwarzenegger also brilliantly delivers his burnt out lines: “Get out” and “I’ll be back,” and adds a bit of sarcasm to his role that relieves the audience with some humor. Essentially he is the only actor who truly understands this film and gives it his all.

Overall the film is carried on the shoulders of Schwarzenegger, and even so that is not enough. The film ends up being another typical blockbuster that will probably be forgotten in a few days. If you do end up seeing it, just try to forget that it’s connected to the first two Terminator films, out of respect. 

  • OVERALL MOVIE RATING 39% 39%

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What is your favorite Schwarzenegger movie? Let me know in the comments section.

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