Director: Alan Taylor (2015)
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Emilia Clarke, Jai Courtney
Find it: IMDB
Thanks to JJ Abrams and his 2009 Star Trek effort (which I thought was okay at the time, but really isn't), the reboot-quel is a thing. This, when it's at home, being an instalment in a franchise which rewrites previous entries but acknowledges that no, it did all happen - it just doesn't really matter anymore. At best, that gets us Mad Max: Fury Road (which, granted, barely counts). At worst, Terminator Genisys. And yeah, the lack of a colon in that title is bugging me too.
Disregarding the events of previous sequels, the story here sees John Connor (Jason Clarke) send best friend and secret dad Kyle Reese (Jai fucking Courtney) back to 1984 to save mother dearest Sarah Connor (the film's other, even worse Clarke) from the plot of Terminator. Only when he gets there, things are not as we remember them. Sarah is not only already savvy to the existence of Terminators, but has her own in tow - the aged 'pops', played by a returning Arnold Schwarzenegger. Just one or two Terminators isn't enough though, and it's not long before Sarah, Kyle and Pops are battling swathes of machines, new and old (including a digitally de-aged Arnie and a tacked-on T-1000). This being my own personal dystopia of movie blockbusters, that involves heaps of CGI, stupidly bloodless violence and big, loud action sequences so busy that it's impossible to tell what's going on most of the time. Not since Transformers 2 have I been so actively bored by a film with so many action sequences. And this is a franchise I actually like, most of the time.
Jai fucking Courtney is Kyle Reese:
Truly, we are living in the darkest timeline.
There's a bit of amusement to be had in the earlier sections, which replay moments from the original Terminator with a nudge and a wink (the fight between old Arnie and de-aged young Arnie being a highlight) but that falls apart the moment the characters start speaking. Courtney and Clarke have no chemistry whatsoever, completely failing to sell the love story element. While we expect Courtney to be wooden, there's no excuse for Clarke (Emilia, not Jason), who fails to convince on every level of being Sarah Connor. She's not helped much by a script which turns Sarah Connor into a woman who uses the word 'like' as a form of punctuation. Like, not cool.
This generation's Michael B- No, I can't. Not even in jest.
By the time the film skips to 2017, fucking about with a Smartphone app, Matt Smith (simultaneously wasted and awful in a glorified cameo), and a time-travelling John Connor (not a spoiler), I had pretty much given up on Genisys. As Kyle and Sarah are arrested for the second time in one film, I was screaming at the movie to end already (it's three times for Kyle, who is arrested almost as soon as he gets to 1984). Only J.K Simmons and a wry Arnie manage to enliven matters, the latter even tugging a couple of heartstrings in spite of the contrivance of it all. It ends baiting a sequel (of course it does) but here's hoping that particular future can be averted. Now, where's that time machine at?
Terminator Genisys may be lacking a colon, but that doesn't stop it from being full of shit.