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Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Terminator Re-Genisys

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Paramount Pictures pushed the "reset" button on the ‘Terminator’ franchise with ‘Terminator Genisys,’ the former governor of California’s first major role in a ‘Terminator’ film since ‘Terminator 2: Judgment Day’ 15 years ago.  T2 was also the last good movie in the venerated sci-fi series, as follow-ups ‘Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines’ and ‘Terminator: Salvation’ were ripped by critics and aficionados alike despite holding up well at the box office (the ‘final arbiter’ where Hollywood is concerned).
 
In light of the fact that the first two films are the best ones, perhaps it should come as no surprise that this fifth entry would try to bring back the elements that worked so well in those movies.  TG starts off in the dark future of 2029, when Skynet is reeling from the human resistance and their messianic leader, John Connor.  In a last ditch effort to save itself, it sends a Terminator Model T-800 Endoskeleton back in time to assassinate Connor’s mother Sarah (Emilia Clarke) and prevent him from being conceived in the first place.  In response, Connor sends his top lieutenant and right-hand man Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) to protect his mum.  Holy Déjà vu, Batman!  Fret not, my dear readers, for while the story starts in familiar territory it develops and ends quite differently.
 
Schwarzenegger is "old but not obsolete" as the fatherly bodyguard of Clarke's teenage Sarah, whose feisty and headstrong manner gives us a glimpse of the older version played by Linda Hamilton.  And while TG appears to fit in the canon of the first two movies, it's also saddled with sterile action scenes, a convoluted alternate timeline plot and gives us the feeling that something is missing despite its trappings.  On top of that, director Alan Taylor’s execution wasn’t nearly as fluid or sure handed as James Cameron’s.  Still, TG represents a marked improvement over the disappointing third and fourth entries, even as it falls short critically and commercially to ensure a sixth installment in the long-running franchise.  I'll be back?  Don't be so sure.
 
Grade: B
 
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