johnlink ranks TERMINATOR GENISYS (2015)

Recently went back through the first three TERMINATOR films. Didn’t have the new one in mind, but it turns out that it’s good to have them fresh when considering this newest – fifth – film in the series. Seems like a series that will not ever really go away, so is this installment a sign of a rebirth or merely a rehash?


I watched TERMINATOR GENISYS (2015) on 7.28.15. It was my first viewing of the film.

The first half of TERMINATOR GENISYS is probably better than it has any right to be. The movie introduces us to yet another set of actors playing the familiar characters: John Connor (Jason Clarke) once again sends Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) back in time to 1984 in order to save Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke), and there is a Terminator there to destroy our heroes (Arnold Schwarzenegger). This new film mirrors the 1984 scenes exactly (albeit with some new actors, we don’t get to see Bill Paxton playing the blue haired punk anymore, sadly) until we learn that another Arnold terminator – this one aged semi-appropriately – has been protecting Sarah since she was nine years old. And so, we have a diversion in the timeline and things begin anew.

We meet another T-1000, this one played by Byung-hun Lee, who attacks our heroes, only this time they know how to handle one of these guys. Soon we are shot into semi-present day (with an excuse to age Arnold again to his current look) and everything becomes new. Once the movie morphs into present day, it is a little less effective. But it still manages to entertain.

This is a film which is not afraid to take liberties. We can set aside some time-travel logic which is about as bad as any science fiction movie might care to go, but even the ways in which the plot brings in familiar characters is both surprising and bold. This doesn’t always work. Making a series stalwart its villain may play well in terms of wow factor, but it sort of makes us all feel like this movie is trying a little too hard.

Additionally, the theme of the interconnectedness of technology being our new downfall might seem apropos for this time period, but it also seems like the most obvious choice the script could make. The fish-out-of-water stuff of having 1984 characters interact with 2017 technology is barely there, because the audience already knows everything it needs to know about what this movie might consider saying about technology. Sure. Connecting all of our tech to one network and one AI hub may result in some bad things. Tell us something we haven’t seen a hundred times in a hundred movies this century.

But, as always, this is when it is important to remember that TERMINATOR GENISYS is an entertainment film first and a thought provoking film second. We know this doesn’t have to be the case with this series, as James Cameron proved twice before, but it is where this series stands in modernity. The special effects, though, are as good as any in this series. The look of the T-1000 and the later villain really works. The action sequences are solid – especially a surprisingly effective helicopter chase – and the PG-13 nature of the violence isn’t nearly as bad as some other series which have softened their palates.

TERMINATOR GENISYS is an above average action film with decent enough performances and solid action. In terms of the series it is a step in the right direction, but nowhere near the lofty aspirations of T2.



Some of the best special effects in a big budget action movie in awhile. What does it say about the state of modern action cinema that NOT being lazy with special effects is now surprising.


FINAL SCORE: 6.75 out of 10

~ by johnlink00 on August 1, 2015.

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