Confession time: I’ve never seen any of the ‘Terminator’ films. Actually, I’ve never been big on the “must-sees” and the “classics”. The ‘Terminator’ franchise, in particular, has never appealed to me; I just think the films look so dated and over the top, and I’m sorry but Arnie ain’t an actor in my eyes. Not one that I’m interested in anyway. But equipped with a Cineworld Unlimited card and a clear diary for the afternoon, I thought why not see if the latest offering, ‘Terminator Genisys’ holds up as a standalone film.
Sadly, the short answer is no, it doesn’t really hold up if you haven’t seen the rest of the franchise. Like an exam you haven’t revised for, I found myself frustrated and confused from the very start, well aware that had I gathered any prior knowledge of the plot, it would all make sense. I would struggle to offer a concise synopsis which would remain ambiguous enough not to spoil the plot, but I can tell you there is plenty of time travel, fight scenes and gunfire.
I’m not a fan of the action man turned actor, but Dwayne Johnson has already begun to change my opinion this year with his performance in ‘San Andreas’ so maybe Arnold Schwarzenegger could do the same. Again, sadly not. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t expecting anything outstanding, and for the kind of role we’re discussing, I guess he gets the job done. Tough guy, check. Robotic and emotionless, check. Cheesy, absolutely check! Emilia Clarke, of ‘Game Of Thrones’ fame, gets her big screen break as Sarah Connor, and is far and away the best thing about this film. I expect a few more powerful, leading lady roles for Miss Clarke in the near future. I really like Jason Clarke (no relation to Emilia as far as I’m aware), and ‘Genisys’ offers a very different side to the ‘Lawless’ tough guy which further enhances my opinion of him. The main offender when it comes to the cheesy tone of the film though is undoubtedly Jai Courtney. I can’t recall seeing him in any film before, and I really resent the fact that I will have to see him again in ‘Suicide Squad’.
The plot to ‘Genisys’ was an interesting one I have to say, it’s just annoying that I wasn’t able to get to grips with the context of it all. The first half an hour of the film, set in the apocalyptic, robot-run America of 2029 is actually rather fascinating and filled me with hope for the rest of the film. ‘Genisys’ is just full of disappointments however, and once the characters begin their time travelling exploits, the whole thing kind of unravels and loses any coherence and tension. One thing which I must give credit to though, is the visual effects. Whilst a little patchy in places, I was pretty impressed with many of the stunts and the dystopian wasteland of the future was quite the spectacle.
Aside from some powerful action scenes and a couple of good acting performances, ‘Terminator Genisys’ is not a film I would recommend to anyone unless they are big fans of the original ‘Terminator’ films. As a standalone film, it is hard to justify spending time and money on this. And ‘Genisys’ didn’t exactly tempt me into righting my cinematic wrongs and exploring the rest of the franchise. Maybe one day “I’ll be back” for more, but for now I’m happy to avoid these particular must-sees.
Director: Alan Taylor
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Emilia Clarke, Jason Clarke, Jai Courtney