Terminator Genisys (2015)

Image 001Where to start?  Where to stop?  That’s kind of the film’s problem too.

I couldn’t take notes in the theater or rewind to catch anything I missed, so this pretty bare bones.

Arnold – Great!  They were smart not to try to make him look 30 years younger.  I was disappointed, though, that they didn’t find some way to have Bill Paxton play one of the punks again.  Or Brian Thompson.  They probably could have picked up the 3rd guy pretty cheap.

John Connor – Played by Jason Clarke.  Didn’t like him in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, don’t like him here.  He is this year’s (and this Terminator’s) Sam Worthington.  He was tolerable in the future, but when he got to present day, he was awful.  I’m willing to say part of that is because his character arc was so ludicrous (nay, blasphemous!), and the action scenes were tedious.  The metal shavings bit could have been fun, but was derivative of T3, and just not well staged.

Sarah Connor – Played by Emelia Clarke who is on my shit list.  Game of Thrones made her a famous millionaire star and now she’s too good to do the nude scenes? Ironically, it is her hesitation to “mate” that provides some of the film’s few laughs. She is adequate here, although she is no Linda Hamilton or Lena Headey.  I can see her as an alternate timeline version of the waitress in T1, but she didn’t have the benefit of 20 years to prepare in that universe.  In this timeline, she had 20 years to prepare, and with a real Terminator, but she lacks the attitude and gravitas of T2 Sarah.  This is the woman who has been training 20 years for this day?

Kyle Reese – Played by Jai Courtney.  I can’t blame him for the shitfest that was Die Hard 5, but I can say he was such a non-entity that I can’t remember a single scene or line from him in that fiasco.  Hell, I saw Terminator Genisys yesterday and can say the same thing about him in that.  He and Aaron Taylor-Johnson from Godzilla must be from some new charisma-free school of acting.  Tobias Fünke honed his craft better at the Method One clinic.

J.K. Simmons – Great, basically playing the Dr. Silberman role.  Except this time he is trying to be part of the solution.  Or maybe just because they’re both bald.

Sadly, the only things that resonate in this movie are callbacks to the first two.  Even throwaway shots like the garbage man chomping on his cigar before the first time transport, Kyle’s feet slowly touching the ground in his new Nikes, the T-1000 incorporating a stray piece of his liquid metal into his body — they will be remembered long after the cartwheeling bus.

But mostly it is Arnold that saves the movie.  He is older for a legitimate reason, he has made slight progress in his humanity, and they gamely try to go for a “not obsolete just because you’re old” theme but don’t quite make it.  His T-800 is blatantly, yet improbably, set up for a sequel here, but where can they possibly go now that they have screwed things up so badly in this one? By the time we get to the third act, the nostalgia has been milked, the timeline is a mess, we are uninterested in the god-awful characters, and the action is just boring.

Reading a few other reviews, what strikes me is the lack of respect many have for T3. That was a fun, solid movie, even in spite of Nick Stahl and Claire Danes being grossly miscast.  Kristanna Loken as the Terminatrix, however, was every bit as good as Robert Patrick in T2.

Even better, and unmentioned in most reviews was The Sarah Connor Chronicles with Lena Headey in the titular role, and Summer Glau as another Terminatrix.  Say what you will about those hunter-killers . . . they can turn out some smokin’ product.

Headey made for a perfectly believable extension of Sarah Connor, despite lacking the natural resemblance that Emelia Clarke has.  Glau was great as the Terminatix, but sadly, they once again missed the boat on casting John Connor.  He was just too whiny and had a horrible haircut (seriously, it was awful enough to affect the quality of the show).  The writing seemed to go downhill in season 2, so maybe it was best to end it there.

Terminator Salvation — don’t remember a single frame.  I think a motorcycle came out of a robot leg or something.

I’ll probably give Terminator Genisys another chance on Netflix someday.  However, I own T1, T2, T3 and just bought Blu-Ray of The Sarah Connor Chronicles.  I don’t see me ever purchasing T4 or T5, even in the $5 bin.  You are Die Hard 5 to me.


  • Robert Patrick and Michael Biehn were missed.
  • This might be the first incarnation of Terminator where Danny Dyson isn’t sent to his bedroom.  And WTF is Joe Morgan as Miles?
  • Arnold’s “upgrade” in T5 immediately reminded be of the nanite-driven upgrade of Jason Voorhees in Jason X (Jasonnnn innnn Spaaaaaaaace!).  I’m not a fan of the series, but Jason X is a vastly underrated hoot.
  • C’mon Spellcheck, I type nanite, and you want me to change it to Canaanite?  Well, they were also waiting for J.C. so maybe it fits.

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