August 21, 2016
Review #834: Terminator Genisys.
Arnold Schwarzenegger (The Guardian), Jason Clarke (John Connor), Emilia Clarke (Sarah Connor), Jai Courtney (Kyle Reese), J.K. Simmons (O'Brien), Dayo Okeniyi (Danny Dyson), Matt Smith (Alex), Courtney B. Vance (Miles Dyson), Lee Byung-hun (Cop / T-1000), Michael Gladis (Lt. Matias), and Sandrine Holt (Detective Cheung) Directed by Alan Taylor (#827 - Thor: The Dark World)
The Terminator franchise (#001 - Terminator 2: Judgement Day, #063 - The Terminator, #089 - Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, and #090 - Terminator Salvation) is a strange one in terms of where the story goes in these films...and also the quality of the movies. The first two films are great movies, both being hallmarks in the sci-fi genre because of the high quality writing and entertaining action. The third movie was a mixed bag that felt unneeded. The fourth one was flat out uninteresting to watch. As for this film...it's certainly a strange one. It's clear the people behind this film saw Star Trek (#009) and tried to make their own version...and it could have worked. The idea of a Guardian Terminator protecting and raising Sarah might've have worked as its own thing, instead of shoehorning Kyle Reese into the dynamic. One of the biggest problems is that Courtney and E. Clarke don't have real chemistry together, and while no duo could really compare to the chemistry that Linda Hamilton and Michael Biehn had in the first film, there is never a moment where they click together. He just doesn't give much to care about, resembling one of those blank slates in a fan-fic. Ultimately, this is a movie that is at best moderately entertaining but at worst just a bland retread, with a sequence mimicking the first film, and even a T-1000 (that is promptly beaten in less than 20 minutes) that is a bit laughable, for all the wrong reasons. It just feels weird seeing another film where they think they will destroy Skynet by doing X. I appreciate the idea of a retcon, but there really isn't anything presented here to demonstrate the need to have another film. There's no real style to the movie, nothing that you can really identify as memorable. Another problem is that there are no real stakes, with everything feeling predictable (in a way like the third film) and somewhat tedious. Schwarzenegger is as entertaining as ever, having better chemistry with E. Clarke than Courtney does. J. Clarke is pretty decent for what he's given to work with. The action scenes are pretty decent, though sometimes it comes off as a bit dull with regards to the colors. There really isn't much to the supporting cast, with Smith having barely any time to register a presence beyond occasional dialogue. It's a movie that works when it's about the action, but not so much when it's about the characters or story. Honestly, just stick to the first two films.
Overall, I give it 5 out of 10 stars.