Thursday, June 22, 2017

Now on Amazon Prime: Terminator Genisys (2015)

Terminator Genisys (2015) - Directed by Alan Taylor; Written by Laeta Kalogridis, Patrick Lussier; Starring Emilia Clarke, Jai Courtney, Arnold Scharzenegger, Jason Clarke, J.K. Simmons, Courtney B. Vance.

By Kenny Howell

Over five films, there is only so much story you can tell, especially when the first two films in the franchise are so good.

In the fifth Terminator film, Terminator Genisys, they have deviated from the lore, creating a new timeline, one of which is nowhere near as good, and they try to hide that fact with nostalgia.

Arnold Schwarzenegger returns for this one after taking Terminator Salvation off to run the state of California. He plays the protector in this one, much like he did in the second film Terminator 2: Judgment Day. But while that one was set in the 1990s, this one goes back to 1984, at least for most of the film. Kyle Reese, here portrayed by Jai Courtney (Suicide Squad) is sent back to that pivotal year, which is the story of the first film.

But the timeline is now different. Sarah Connor, played here by Game of Thrones' Emilia Clarke, is expecting him this time, instead of unaware the terminator is hunting her down to keep her from getting pregnant with eventual resistance leader John Connor, which of course Reese had a hand in the first film. She is protected this time by Schwarzenegger's terminator, while the type from Terminator 2 come after her, and a new one that is possibly part of the new threat to humanity, Genisys, which takes place in the timeline. It is tied into modern technology, something the first film couldn't obviously foresee, and could have been interesting, but deviated from the original work too much.

It all just seems a little convenient that this new timeline appears since the series has run out of material, and the new timeline kind of throws everything on its head that was known before. Plus, the replacement actors, Clarke and Courtney, just don't have the same thing that Linda Hamilton and Michael Biehn had in the first film. They lack the grit (as does the film as a whole) that Cameron created with the original, and something the fourth film, Terminator Salvation had way too much of.

They try to cover all of that up with nostalgia as Schwarzenegger says all his favorite catchphrases, even though he does slip back into the part well. And there are numerous instances where the new style of terminators get shot in the head, and the hole closes back up. We know how that works. Even the second one only did it once or twice, and that is when it is cool. This one acts like it is the first time its happened over and over.

Terminator Genisys ends up being a somewhat nice trip down memory lane in instances, but there aren't nearly enough of them there to make this series any more than what it should be, a memory.

Terminator Genisys is now streaming on Amazon Prime.

Rating: **

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