The world needs saving. Again.
Terrifying machines have come back from the future to wreak havoc on their past to ensure their future becomes the present they left behind!
And then it gets more confusing, as multiple timelines overlap and different models from different parts of the future are flung to different time periods and the future which they want becomes unwritten and malleable but still written and unmalleable enough that more machines make it back into the past.
The Terminator concept has worked really well twice, not so well twice, and so Terminator: Genisys aims to get the parts that worked well from the ones that did work into a formula that can ensure the survival of the Terminator franchise into the future.
Take Arnie. Sprinkle in lots of references to the first two films in the first 30 minutes of the movie. Add in actors from Game of Thrones, Whiplash and quite a few other films and TV series (including one wasted cameo, which I will not spoil here) and see what comes out…
…and it’s a lot of action, a bit of comedy, and not a huge amount of excitement.
Let’s face it: the story is quite silly and I had very little idea what was going on. In fact, the problem with a lot of this is that the more interesting story is elsewhere: what happened during Sarah’s childhood? What happened during the Terminator’s wilderness years? And what was going on with John Connor? And why is San Francisco the place for disasters be they natural, giant reptiles or nuclear apocalypses?
There are not a lot of answers though the film does try and show how things will develop in the future, now that it has been rewritten and judgement day is sometime later this century. Quite why Arnie can build a time machine out of 1980s radioshack components and the cellTerminator is unable to do so despite wildly increased time, resources and manpower is one of those curious "don't think too much about it" moments.
And you really shouldn't think much about it. While there are attempts to explain the time discrepancies and paradoxes, they don't really bear much scrutiny. Neither do the characters: the actors playing Sarah (Amelia Clark) and Kyle (Jai Courtney) have next to zero chemistry together. And the new Terminator is meant to be a bit crazy, but the Terminator films work better with an implacable machine trying to kill the main characters than a cyborg with relationship issues. And where did J K Simmons go?
Not that that all matters much. This is because about half way through Arnie and the action take over, and that is really what this film is all about. Things blowing up, getting derailed, battered, rammed, blown up again - all great stuff. Unstoppable machine versus a machine that is even more unstoppabler - until something happens that stops everything.
OR DOES IT!?!?!
Yes sequels are planned I believe. But I will be curious to know if they keep the same cast (besides Arnie of course) considering how little they brought to the film. One of the few questions raised by this film I am actually interested in knowing...
Verdict: Terminator: Genisys is best when it rests on the laurels it got from the first two movies, and passable when it moves from that in trying to reboot the franchise for a bunch of more sequels. When the bad Terminator is no longer scary and the effort goes in to trying to make a "coherent" timeline (it fails, but still), you know something is a bit off. 6 blue boxes out of 10.