By: Mike Agostinelli
I love Arnold Schwarzenegger. The guys an overly large, hilarious, blubbering fool. Yet everything he does is so damn watchable because of those qualities. There’s never been and likely never will be such a talentless yet successful movie star. And yet, with all that taken in consideration, he still cannot save Terminator Genisys.
This new installment in the decades-old Terminator franchise can proudly say it has the years worst movie title. It can also proudly say its one of the years biggest disappointments. I dig these movies, with the exception of 2009’s awful Terminator Salvation. They showcase all of what is magical about Arnold, and do so in a way where his terribleness actually works within the framework of the story. Terminator 2 can also be considered one of the greatest action films ever made. That’s why its such a rotten shame that this movie, which could have saved this dying franchise, only serves to prove why it should bury itself deeper into the ground.
By weaving a narrative that takes us back to the original Terminator but adds in twists to the established timeline, you would think creative ideas would be ripe for the picking. But what we get are the same old tired Terminator tropes half-heartedly presented in a different context. There’s only so many times we can watch a Terminator get shot up but then reform itself to its original visage before the image itself becomes monotonous and repetitive. Here, director Alan Taylor seems to think this is the coolest freaking thing in the world. Literally every five or six minutes a Terminator gets shot or smashed up and then reconstitutes itself, and we’re supposed to be bedazzled. What we really want to do is throw our shoes at the screen.
The special effects are also overused and fairly cheap looking, like something a skilled film student would produce with a giant budget, not professional designers and graphic artists. Even things that shouldn’t be CGI are given the CGI treatment, likely to save time. But why give us CGI cars and T- 800 heads when the real thing could be cheaper? Even the action scenes have a been-there-done-that, going through the motions quality. There is no flow, no narrative drive to propel them onward in a dramatic fashion. They simply exist, as if declared a necessity by the studio.
There are some bright spots among the drudgery though. Arnold is incredibly game for the role here, clearly relishing putting his leather jacket back on and slinging that shotgun over his shoulder. He also gets to display more shades of emotion than usual, giving us a Terminator that might actually be capable of some level of feelings. Emilia Clarke from Game Of Thrones makes an attractive and capable Sarah Connor, finally giving us a woman in the role who’s badass AND attractive. Linda Hamilton is a good actress, but she literally disgusted me in the first two Terminators with her almost unwatchable looks. Terrible to say, but I know at least someone reading this can relate. The “it” action guy of the moment with the idiotic first name, Jai Courtney, is serviceable as the new Kyle Reese, but doesn’t exactly pop as much as he should.
The first half hour of the film is actually not all that bad, recreating scenes from the first and second installments almost shot-for-shot before adding in twists that seem exciting intitally but end up not panning out to their full potential as the movie progresses. If this project was put in the hands of a more talented director and writer then it could have been something fresh and special. Instead it becomes just another unoriginal, sci-fi failure that will also likely fail at the box office. Arnold, please pick them better bro. I’m rooting for you. Somebody give the guy a mockumentary style HBO show that has elements of self-parody please. I’ll write it. Call me. Would be epic.
I give Terminator Genisys a 6 out of 10.
Next up: Ant-Man