History fails to repeat itself in ‘Terminator Genisys’

By Bob Bloom
“Terminator Genisys” reboots and reimagines the sci-fi action franchise with mixed results.
The good news is that Arnold Schwarzenegger has returned as the original T-800. However, his mission has changed — he is older and utters more wisecracks.
Schwarzenegger and other variations of Terminators have been sent by the evil Skynet to kill Sarah Connor and anyone else who gets in the way.
terminator genisys sarahThe movie starts out with a familiar premise from the original 1984 film — soldier Kyle Reese is sent back in time to protect Sarah, the mother of John Connor, leader of the human resistance in the futuristic war against the machines.
But when he arrives, Reese discovers a Sarah different from the one he was assigned to guard. This Sarah is a warrior who spends most of the time protecting Kyle and acclimating him to various changes in the timeline that sent him into the past.
Where “Genisys” falters is the casting. The chemistry between Jai Courtney’s Reese and Emilia Clarke’s Sarah is basically nil.
Sarah displays more warmth and affection for her robotic guardian than she does for her new human companion.
Jason Clarke’s John Connor gives a one-note performance, delivering his lines as if reading them off a teleprompter.
It says something about a movie when Schwarzenegger is the most charismatic character — and he’s playing a robot.
And, of course, he gets the best lines, including reiterating iconic phrases from earlier features.
The movie tries to pay homage to the first two films in the series, while also tweaking plotlines in a manner that will keep the franchise viable.
On the other hand, the convoluted plot leaps from point to point, making you believe you need a cheat sheet to know where you are and who is chasing whom.
The visual effects, explosions and stunt work are first rate, but they also have a deja vu quality to them.
Director Alan Taylor tries to mesh self-referential vibes from the earlier films with his added twists, creating a hybrid that while moving quickly, seems to huff and puff.
The film’s major flaw is that it fails to move the series forward in any meaningful fashion.
“Terminator Genisys” is not a bad film. It will entertain and keep your attention. But it tries much too hard to please fans of the earlier efforts without expending enough energy to create an identity of its own.
“Genisys” doesn’t feel obsolete, but it does seem old.
Bloom is a member of the Indiana Film Journalists Association. His reviews appear at ReelBob (reelbob.com) and The Film Yap (filmyap.com). He also reviews Blu-rays and DVDs. He can be reached by email at bobbloomjc@gmail.com or on Twitter @ReelBobBloom. Other reviews by Bloom can be found at Rottentomatoes: www.rottentomatoes.com.

 

TERMINATOR GENISYS

2 stars out of 4
(PG-13), intense science-fiction action and violence, partial nudity, language, disturbing images

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