Main cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger (“Pops”), Jason Clarke (John Connor), Emilia Clarke (Sarah Connor), Jai Courtney (Kyle Reese), JK Simmons (Detective O’Brien), and Lee Byung-hun (T-1000)
Director: Alan Taylor
If you have any fond memories of the first two Terminator movies, be warned: if you watch Terminator Genisys, anything good you remember would be crapped upon so badly that you would feel as if you’d just bent over in the shower of a prison full of sex-mad Pepé Le Pews. Imagine the first movie, only to have Kyle Reese be completely supplanted by Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character from Jingle All the Way, and have poor Reese reduced to playing the butt monkey.
This time around, we throw back to the first movie, when John Connor and his gang of rebellion manage to take down Skynet, the computer program that has gone all Adolf Hitler on human beings, only to have Skynet send a Terminator back in time to kill Sarah Connor and prevent John from ever being born. So Reese goes back in time to protect Sarah. Only, this time around, Reese goes back to 1984 to find that Sarah knows all about him. She has been protected by another Terminator, whom she calls Pops, since she was 9 when her parents were killed and Pops showed up to be her guardian. Pops was sent by someone, but identity of that person is conveniently erased from the files in Pops’s head.
Pops quickly dispatched the Terminator sent by Skynet, while Reese in somewhere else in town finds himself attacked by another Terminator, a T-1000 who has been expecting him all along. Sarah and Pops rescue him, and Reese spends the rest of the movie playing the sidekick and arguing with Sarah like they are both school kids unable to decide which member of One Direction is the hottest. Pops does everything in this movie, from setting up traps to facilitating travel to removing the worst threats in their paths, making the entire movie some kind of perverse equivalent to a crazy stan’s tribute to Arnold Schwarzenegger. I am surprised that Mr Schwarzenegger is not listed as a producer, because this is exactly the self-congratulatory masturbatory nonsense an egomaniac would produce as his own star vehicle.
Meanwhile, the story is an incoherent mess full of loop holes and plot logic black holes. Characters turn extremely stupid to facilitate more explosions and car chases. Meanwhile, the Terminator villains are as scary as dumb puppies that keep charging against the wall – they may be hard to kill, but they are so hopelessly inept at killing anything that their constant appearances soon cause more tedium than excitement.
Worst of all, the human characters, Sarah and Reese, have all the maturity of teenage brats and none of the likability or humanity present in the first movie. What makes the first movie, especially, work is the well-done contrast of very human emotions against the cold and emotionless technological nightmare of the setting. Here, it’s all non-stop chases and explosions that get old very fast because they are all flash but no substance.
Oh, and really now. Casting Jai Courtney as Reese? He’s such a downgrade from Michael Biehn. At least Emilia Clarke looks a bit like Linda Hamilton from some angle. Mr Courtney looks like a dumb meathead of a hairless mice.
Anyway, as I’ve said, avoid Terminator Genisys at all costs if you want to retain fond memories of the first two Terminator movies. And tell all the young kids to watch those two movies instead of this one – they will thank you later.