Director: Alan Taylor.
Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Emilia Clarke, Jai Courtney, Jason Clarke, Lee Byung-hun, J. K. Simmons.
|"Alas, poor T-200, I knew him well."|
WHEN Arnie uttered the immortal line “I’ll be back” in T2: Judgment Day, it felt like a promise to fans – the promise of more action, more awesomeness and more groundbreaking cinema.
In hindsight it was a threat – the threat of an increasingly Frankensteined corpse of a franchise, regularly re-animated to the point that it looks less and less like the thing it started out as.
The Terminator and T2 are classics for a reason, but they kickstarted something that just won’t die (and I don't mean the T-1000).
T3: Rise Of The Machines was passable (but forgettable) and T4: Salvation was kinda cool (but equally forgettable), but now we've reached T5: Genisys - a film as bad as its spelling and easily the worst Terminator movie to date.
It’s plot itself is a warning about the dangers of time travel – mess with the space-time continuum too much and you’ll end up with a bizarre mish-mash that ruins everything ... just like this screenplay.
Initially it sets out to retell the story of the first film from the perspective of Kyle Reese (Aussie Jai Courtney inhabiting Michael Biehn’s old role) instead of Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke instead of Linda Hamilton).
Except that when Reese arrives in 1984 to protect Sarah from futuristic killer robots, he finds the first film’s Terminator (Schwarzenegger) is already a good guy and has been in the past protecting and training Sarah for about a decade.
As a result, Sarah is no longer the scared waitress needing Reese’s aid – she’s now a gun-toting war machine ready for battle, which is convenient because more Terminators are on their way to 1984 to kill Sarah and re-write the future.
From there the plot gets more convoluted and annoying, with some big questions left unanswered, but that’s just one faulty cog in this busted machine.
Emilia Clarke’s performance is terrible. You don’t need a time machine to foresee a Razzie nomination in her future. When you’re getting out-acted by Arnold Schwarzenegger playing a robot, you know you're in trouble.
It’s not entirely her fault. The lame characterisations don’t help the situation, leaving the Aussie duo of Courtney and Jason Clarke struggling to make us care about Kyle Reese and John Connor. Even a brattish teenaged Edward Furlong made us care about John Connor.
In fact, the best defined character is Arnie’s T-800. Just let that sink in for a moment – a robot with no emotions elicits the most empathy and has the best character arc. That’s how bad this movie is.
The attempts at humour regularly bomb and the action sequences are largely forgettable. The only set piece that doesn’t just wash over you comes early in the film and features a battle between two T-800s. I’d like to say that fight alone is worth the price of admission alone, but it’s not.
Director Alan Taylor (Thor: The Dark World) does a decent job trying to capture the look and feel of the original Terminator in the 1984 scenes, but the rest of the movie feels toneless and interchangeable with so many contemporary CG-heavy actioners.
There are few things to recommend in this hot mess of dumb repetitive action and idiocy. You just know they’re already planning more ways to revive the franchise, but you’ll leave the cinema wishing they would turn off the life-support and walk away.