If a movie makes money then sequels usually follow. ‘The Terminator’ series has been no stranger in raking in dollars. The franchise has delivered in over four films a dazzling array of spectacular action. It has also made Arnold Schwarzenegger a star and despite his advancing years, it isn’t surprising seeing him in ‘Terminator: Genysis’. Not only is the star recycled but so is the script with originality seemingly vanishing in the time portal its characters use.
When his enemies send a deadly terminator to the past to kill his mother Sarah (Emilia Clarke), John Connor (Jason Clarke) devises a plan. Sending his loyal lieutenant Kyle (Jai Courtney) to protect her, John hopes she will be safe. Upon arrival, Kyle is surprised to find a terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) helping Sarah. As a myriad of villains cross their paths, they battle to prevent the future’s dreaded ‘Judgement Day’ with the fight for survival becoming increasingly intense.
Despite being slammed, ‘Terminator: Salvation’ had the sense to progress ‘Terminator’s’ mythology. ‘Terminator: Genysis’ doesn’t, instead playing like the franchise’s greatest hits. The most popular moments from the first two James Cameron directed films are all here. When not slavishly copying them, ‘Genysis’ works much better. Sadly there aren’t enough original sequences to truly make it stand out.
Some of the plot twists are genuinely surprising, even if they rely on viewer’s knowledge of previous instalments. The actors provide adequate performances with Clarke admirably conveying Sarah’s determined toughness. Alan Taylor directs with competency without exerting any flair. Handling the action and sparkling CGI well, Taylor’s timidity in conjuring any series freshness is notable. It’s fun seeing Schwarzenegger return however, having the most fun in an otherwise frustratingly lazy instalment.
Undemanding ‘Terminator’ fans may find superficial enjoyment with ‘Terminator: Genysis’. Those yearning for a James Cameron-style blockbuster will be disappointed. Whilst Schwarzenegger’s character will always be back, hopefully new ideas will return to a franchise currently living off past glories.
Movie Review Rating out of 10: 5
Movie Review by Patrick Moore
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