Mini-Review: Terminator: Genisys (2015)

TerminatorGenisys_1Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jason Clarke, Emilia Clarke, Jai Courtney, J.K. Simmons, Dayo Okeniyi, Matt Smith, Courtney B. Vance, Byung-hun Lee

Directed by Alan Taylor

Expectations: Absolutely zero.


Terminator: Genisys goes to great lengths to craft a story that can serve as both a reboot and a sequel to Cameron’s original movies, and while this is initially promising, it quickly becomes ridiculously convoluted and lost in a sea of nearly unending exposition and nostalgia hooks. In the end, I felt rather indifferent about the whole thing. I mean, I definitely didn’t like it, but it was entertaining in a generic science fiction manner (and I always enjoy watching Arnold do pretty much anything). It’s really missing the feeling of dread and inevitable apocalypse that permeates Cameron’s films, though, so it only feels like an approximation of a Terminator film and not an honest continuation.

The story begins in the Future War era in the hours before John Connor’s final assault on Skynet. Spoiler Alert: They destroy Skynet a few minutes into the movie! Woo hoo, that was easy! Roll the credits! But right before that happened, Skynet sent a T-800 to 1984 to take out Sarah Connor. Yes, this is the same Arnold Terminator that we all know from the original film. He said he’d be back, and he wasn’t lying! Anyway, mid-way through the 1984 Terminator’s encounter with the punks at the Griffith Observatory, an older Arnold Terminator comes over and starts blasting him with a shotgun! Whoa, what’s going on?

It does have a Terminator driving a truck, though.

It does have a Terminator driving a truck, though.

This is just one of many direct connections with the Cameron originals, but before too long Terminator: Genisys moves in an entirely new direction. Unfortunately, this brings about a barrage of exposition that continues for most of the movie. It’s never a good sign when a movie explains tons of stuff to the viewer — film is a visual medium and all that — but Terminator: Genisys is mostly explanation! Which is weird because it’s also mostly action. I don’t know, I can’t explain it. There’s a scene where the heroes get their mug shots taken to the Cops theme Bad Boys, for God’s sake. What am I supposed to say to that?

Terminator: Genisys is just a strange film, and one that’s hard to understand no matter how you look at it. On one hand it’s an entertaining, inoffensive sci-fi action movie, but it’s also horrendously convoluted and without an ounce of character chemistry or heart. I give them kudos for going in an interesting direction with the franchise (as opposed to just following the basic Terminator framework like T3), but all it does is expose how they shouldn’t really be making any more Terminator movies.

Next up in this chronological journey through the films of Arnold Schwarzenegger is… some cameos! If I knew better I’d just skip these and move on to other things, but I don’t know better! I am going to speed it up by just doing Quick Take reviews of them, so Arnold will continue to hit these digital pages for a little while longer. Up next is Happy Anniversary and Goodbye, a 1974 TV Movie starring Lucille Ball and Art Carney, the Ivan Reitman film Dave, and a starring turn for Arnold’s lifelong friend Franco Columbu called Beretta’s Island! See ya then!

6 comments to Mini-Review: Terminator: Genisys (2015)

  • Goddamn, this movie was shit. As much as I would love to see a return to form for the Terminator franchise, I have to accept the sad and bitter reality that it will probably never happen. Like you said, this movie was convoluted and had virtually no respect for what made the first two great. With the stupid-ass timeline manipulations and retcons I’m afraid they buried this franchise for good… how do you bounce back from something like this? It’s sad to me because I adore the fucking Terminator films and with the right kind of approach this series could have been something truly special. Instead we got two excellent films and three shitty ones that only got progressively worse (and yes, I will go on record saying that even the horrendous Terminator Salvation was better than this piece of shit). So yeah, I guess it’s time to pour a 40 out on the pavement for the Terminator franchise, cuz it’s dead homey.

    • Hahahaha, yeah it ain’t coming back. I didn’t have any expectations for this at all, so I’m not really disappointed or anything. It’s pretty much what I thought it would be. As much as I didn’t like Star Wars, it does a similar thing as a remake/reboot/sequel but does it successfully. I can only imagine the fanboy response if that one was like this junk.

      For me Salvation is the low point of the series, as I didn’t even make it all the way through that one. I’m far more lenient now though. Who knows. hahaha, who cares is more like it! I’ll just watch the old ones.

  • Brittani

    This movie wasn’t great, but it wasn’t as bad as I expected it to be. You’re right about it being convoluted, and the leads had no chemistry. I’m not really sure why I didn’t hate it, I probably should have.

  • You’re spot on – this film spent so much time explaining how complicated it all was (complicated = good, I guess….) it forgot to be any good.

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