Terminator Genisys

 

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He said he'd be back...

 

Terminator Genisys

Time - and then again: Emilia Clarke and Jai Courtney

  

“One thing is certain,” we are told. “The future is not set.” Nor, for that matter, are the characters, the actors playing them or their mortality. The problem with this blatant manipulation of logic, not to mention the jettisoning of the accepted rules of narrative, is that we, the audience, have nothing to believe in.

 

It is back to the past – 1984, the year of the original film (and a year before the release of Robert Zemeckis’s Back to the Future) – and Kyle Reese (now played by Jai Courtney) has returned to San Francisco to warn the mother of the heroic John Connor about the impending war of the machines. However, Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke) is well ahead of the game because 1984 ain’t what it used to be. She’s now rather fond of the ageing T-800, a reprogrammed version of the original Terminator (Model 101), played by Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has done battle with the original T-800, thus prompting a fight sequence in which today’s Arnie fights a computer-generated version of his younger self.

 

The CGI is suitably impressive but adds little to the imaginative effects of James Cameron’s original The Terminator (1984) and Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991). With the return of Arnie, now something of a joke, the whole film takes on an air of self-parody. Attempting to fine-tune his ‘humanity,’ T-800 (Model 101) grins stupidly for the camera while new catchphrases are tried out. “I’m old, not obsolete,” is one. And to an obviously ineffectual cop in his car: “Nice to see you. Get out.” Riffs on the conundrums of time travel are now old news and have been done much better than here. Indeed, the franchise has run out of credibility, even by the standards of low-rent sci-fi, and the idea of the internet as a force of evil manipulation is becoming a very tired trope.

 

JAMES CAMERON-WILSON

 

Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jason Clarke, Emilia Clarke, Jai Courtney, J.K. Simmons, Dayo Okeniyi, Matt Smith, Courtney B. Vance, Lee Byung-hun, Sandrine Holt.

 

Dir Alan Taylor, Pro David Ellison and Dana Goldberg, Screenplay Laeta Kalogridis and Patrick Lussier, Ph Kramer Morgenthau, Pro Des Neil Spisak, Ed Roger Barton, Music Lorne Balfe, Costumes Susan Matheson.

 

Skydance Productions-Paramount Pictures.

125 mins. USA. 2015. Rel: 2 July 2015. Cert. 12A.