Terminator: Genisys

Terminator: Genisys

For a franchise that hasn’t actually delivered a decent film since Terminator 2: Judgement Day back in 1992, the Terminator series sure does seem hard to kill. Oddly, this time-travelling reboot in which Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) is sent by resistance leader John Connor (Jason Clarke) back in time to 1984 to protect his mother Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke). Only to discover Connor has been raised by a T-800 named “Pops” (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and everything he thought he knew about everything is all messed up all largely harks back to the first film, while everyone knows it was the second instalment that made the franchise what it is today.
So while the future war scenes continue the Terminator tradition of largely being rubbish – there’s a reason why Terminator: Salvation, the only instalment set entirely in the future, is easily the worse – the early 1984 scenes provide both extreme fan service as they re-enact scenes from the first film word-for-word and the film’s only moments of real tension as our human heroes battle against killbots who just want to kill them. Later scenes where they face off against a more chatty killer are a lot less effective, and the film eventually collapses in a series of depressingly ineffective CGI-heavy action sequences.
It’s tempting to dismiss many of the performances here as mis-judged – of the new guys only Jason Clarke is really convincing, while Schwarzenegger (playing an increasingly aged Terminator) uses his age well as easily the stand-out performer here – but the fault really lies with the script. A decent Terminator movie should move so fast that the characters barely have time to chat; instead this plods along, giving us plenty of time to see the characters as the B-movie cyphers they are as they clumsily bump up against each other while we twiddle our thumbs, waiting for a legitimately thrilling sequence that never arrives.