“I am old, not obsolete”
Yes, this may seem like just another clever quip from the T-800 in Terminator Genisys, but it’s not. In fact, I’m almost positive that line wasn’t even in the script. Instead, it’s an ad-lib from Arnold Schwarzenegger telling moviegoers that he may be in his late 60s, but he’s not going anywhere. A man who almost religiously doesn’t believe in failure, Schwarzenegger has been nearly-indestructible throughout his near-40 years in the spotlight. Now he’s trying REALLY hard to remind people that he’s got plenty of gas left in the tank. While it remains to be seen whether or not the former Governator still has it in him, his tentpole franchise may have just had it’s Judgement Day.
Terminator Genisys (or as I’ve been calling it, Terminator Bad Spellyng) has a whirling dervish of a plot that shoots off on logic that makes little to no sense. Digging through the rubble, we find Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) sent back in time by John Connor (Jason Clarke) to protect John’s mother. Kyle arrives in 1984 to find John’s mother, Sarah (Emilia Clarke), a stone-cold badass with a vast knowledge of the horrible future and looking to stop Judgement Day before it ever happens. Sarah’s got some help too, in the form of a reprogrammed T-800 (Schwarzenegger) who raised Sarah. Together, Sarah and Kyle jump to 2017 where they meet up with the same (but aged) T-800 in hopes to destroy Skynet before it launches a full-scale war on the human race. Unfortunately, they run into a big problem: John, infected with a sentient liquid metal and changed to a human/Terminator hybrid sent back in time to kill the trio of heroes.
Now let’s be blunt, people: Terminator Genisys is one of the dumbest movies EVER MADE. It thinks it can explain it’s time-travel science through fast-spoken big words instead of comprehensive explanation. Logic and physics are thrown out the window from the very first action scene, and character development is so passe compared to gunfire and CGI. Explosions and car crashes happen out of nowhere for no apparent reason, and plot motivators pop up first to no explanation and then to end up making little sense. On top of that, it cribs elements from so many other movies before it (Matrix Reloaded and I, Robot to name a few).
As mentioned before, there isn’t so much “fleshed-out characters” as there are “people used to run from explosions.” Jai Courtney (Jack Reacher, A Good Day to Die Hard) is brawny but bland, never showing any excitement and very little charisma. His motivation seems to stop at “what the hell is going on?,” a common questions asked by commonly intelligent audience members. Emilia Clarke, one of television’s most imposing female characters on Game of Thrones, is totally wasted here as she’s never given anything to make Sarah Connor intimidating or memorable. It’s almost a shame she didn’t ask for pointers from her Game of Thrones co-star Lena Headey, who was far superior as the heroine in the short-lived (and underrated) TV adaptation Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. It would be a compliment that Jason Clarke plays the now-bad guy John Connor in a creepy way, but it still means his performance is robotic and stiff.
How fitting that the one star this movie gets is for the main star of the movie itself. Yes, 31 years after first stepping out of that time bubble nude and monotonous, Arnold Schwarzenegger still owns the role of T-800. Equal parts imposing ass-kicker, heartfelt humanoid and even comedic doofus, Arnold still knows how to make himself entertaining. Despite most of the action scenes looking mostly fake, Arnold still brushes off hits and crashes like a mosquito landed on him.
The crazy thing about Terminator Genisys is that it only wants to be a Terminator movie merely in its title. Otherwise, it wants to be every other action/sci-fi movie EXCEPT an actual Terminator movie. The PG-13 instead of R rating is clearly trying to bait younger audiences that fill the bank accounts of Marvel and Disney movie masters, clearly assuming that the T-800 might as well be Superman. But what the movie sacrifices is the apocalyptic mood of the previous movies, and makes Genisys seem utterly pointless. There are seemingly no stakes to this movie, whereas the previous movies added some visual gloom and doom to make the events seem more important. Even the much maligned Terminator Salvation created an impressive desolate wasteland and humans actually losing against the machines to show how important the coming events would be. Terminator Genisys feels so run-of-the-mill and just trying to get to the end. Stupid, boring and mostly dry in its action scenes, Genisys was created for one purpose: to add more gas to the career of Arnold Schwarzenegger. It’s nice to have Arnie back, it’s just too bad he didn’t bring a good movie with him
Final Verdict: 1 out of 4 stars