Alan Taylor grinds his way through Terminator Genisys making this the sixth film to bolster the franchise. As well as getting stuck in to the nuts and bolts of alternative timelines and redefining characters, this showy, tech-savvy, yet headache-inducing re-imagining of Terminator has another good go at beating Skynet… again.
On the prophesied final night of the war, despite victory being on the cards, John Connor (Jason Clarke) drops the big twist that the machines have a way of going back in time as a fail-safe if – and when – they lose. With few options left, Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) steps up to the plate. The mission is to protect Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke), however the 1984 he expects is very different from the one he gets when the so-called damsel in distress turns up out of the blue all guns blazing. After Reese’s “misunderstanding” with Sarah’s mechanical companion (, they formulate the plan to travel to 2017 in order to put a premature end to Genisys. This of course all goes to hell, when John Connor unexpectedly meets them there, having had a few disturbing upgrades of his own…
Terminator Genisys is a two hour punch-up that goes about explaining a lot of the complicated timey-wimey stuff, and although an appearance from Matt Smith as Skynet incarnate would prepare me for that, I felt the cogs in my head struggling to turn.
Effects and editing are sharp and are testament to its standing the test of time for around thirty years. The cast were also on form to make the best out of a difficult film and, as usual, Schwarzenegger did not let the team down with his overwhelmingly brutal combat scenes which decimated entire buildings – what’s not to love about that? The dialogue was a little backward, reflecting how mind-numbing the plot turned out to be, yet the movie’s self-aware nods to this were freshly welcomed and provided a little amusement.
With a franchise such as Terminator, you get exactly what it says on the tin. Timelines are complex, convoluted and it would be a ridiculous lie to slant it any other way. It’s not easy to bend time to your will, even in Hollywood, but credit to Terminator Genisys for the valiant attempt.