Oh Terminator franchise… Whatever are we going to do with you?
During it’s four film passage throughout the world of cinema the Terminator series has been many things, scary sci-fi stalker, epic-eco actioner, rompy ropey joke-fest and rusty dusty war film.
With the release of Genisys we have a 5th description. Disappointingly pointless sequel whore.
Now, before I weigh in with the faults, I just wanna make a point. Be it through lowered expectation (almost NONE of it’s publicity leading up to release was particularly liked) or just a plain devotion to the series in general, I actually did not hate this movie the way some reviewers have (we’re talking sheer pathological rage here, like the Terminator franchise was their best friend and they came home to find it banging their wife, or something). This isn’t as aggressively awful as potential series-killers such as the fifth Die Hard 5 or AVP 2, but that doesn’t mean it’s any good. No siree Bob. Not by a long shot.
The premise is actually sound, these movies usually stick solid to their little pre-determined timeline, so using the kind of status-quo altering, time travel shit that reinvigorated the Star Trek and X-Men movies is a legitimate idea. And for a little while it works. All the stuff set in 1984 kinda works well, overlapping the original, Back To The Future 2 style, in genuinely interesting ways. An aging Arnold Shwarzenegger brawling with a younger, nuder, Arnold Schwarzenegger is truly a sight to behold and any more morphy, T-1000 stuff is also welcomed in my book.
So far, so decent. But then the film suddenly gets into a tailspin it can’t pull out of. Additional time travel, countdowns, introductions of characters who add nothing and conflicting flashback are all ladeled on in rapid succession until it all starts to groan with the weight.
And when it hits you.
This is The Amazing Spider-Man 2 all over again…
You see, in an effort to get one last trilogy in before the movie rights revert back to creator James Cameron, the filmmakers have put in so much stuff that won’t pay off until later (Matt Smith fans need not apply, his screen time is a joke) that they lose focus on what’s in front of them. Whole massive plot points are deliberately left unfinished in order to pay lip service to a sequel that may never happen. Who actually sent Arnie to the 70’s, and why? What are the ramifications of Sarah and Kyle being in 2018 and thoroughly unhumped? Why should we give a single rats ass? Sequel baiting has always been a dangerous game and this is exactly why.
So how about when the film ISN’T smearing on lipstick and whoring itself out to it’s velvet trilby wearing trilogy-pimp?
Nope. Still duff.
Arnie is just dandy (this IS his signature piece after all) but the film gives him almost no lines that stick. In fact none of film’s lines or humour stick.
Emilia Clarke proves that without platinum hair and triple-dragon backup, she could be just as easily standing behind you in a queue at Primark, she’s that boring. Also her choice of playing one of cinema’s most impressive warrior- women as “Bratty”? Not a fucking good one.
And Jai Cortney as Kyle Reece? Now I appreciate NO ONE can Michael Biehn like Michael Biehn can (Hell, not even Michael Biehn can Michael Biehn like Michael Biehn can these days) but I just hate the guy as an actor. The original coupling of Sarah Connor and Reece was a deft, genuine and touching love story which actually forwarded the plot AND character development, here they now bicker obnoxiously like they area couple of twats in the Big Brother house. I struggle to think of a more unappealing pairing this year.
Also, Terminator plots are usually run here, get there, shoot this, chase movies so that’s fair, but this one is kinda flabby (Kyle and Sarah manage to get arrested and put into custody TWICE).
But fuck all this, what about the action? Surely even a dodgy Terminator flick has brain blowing action? Actually it does. shame it’s brain blowing action from OTHER movies. You’ve literally seen everything before somewhere else, not just previous Terminator movies but everything from Dark Knight, Fantastic Four, Lost World, Drive Angry & Big Hero Six (and that’s just in ONE SCENE) to World Is Not Enough and many others.
Oh, and one last thing considering spoilers.
Notice I didn’t give away the identity of the villain?
Take note people in charge of promotion, it actually wasn’t that hard.
Anyway, Terminator Genisys should make money (anything released around July 4th will without trying) so it’s likely “he’ll be back” but, without a serious, SERIOUS overhaul, will we?