Terminator back but boring

Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator Genisys.
Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator Genisys.

NOSTALGIA is rampant at cinemas with Mad Max: Fury Road, Jurassic World and Terminator Genisys resurrecting beloved but dormant franchises to varying levels of success.

Terminator Genisys is by far the least successful of the recent restorations, using its time travel mythos to alter popular characters, their relationships and dynamics, and pile on technical mumbo jumbo to subdue its audience.

In 2029, soldier Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) volunteers to go back in time to 1984 to protect Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke) from a Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) sent to kill her before she gives birth to the future leader of the human resistance in the war against machines John Connor (Jason Clarke).

When he arrives, Sarah is already military-trained and with a T800 model in tow dubbed Pops (also Schwarzenegger), preparing for the one sent to kill her (contrary to events in the original).

In developments that make little sense, Reece begins to have memories of an alternate childhood on a farm (not the war-ravaged wasteland he experienced), indicating there is a possible alternate, war-free timeline, so he and Sarah jump ahead in time to 2017 (she has been busy building a machine) to stop Genisys, a program that prompts the war.

The trouble with the time travel theory is that people can go back and forth in time and alter events, something that the Terminator series is clinging to as a thinly veiled excuse to keep revisiting the well, to its detriment.

In doing so, characters we grew to love are almost unrecognisable. Sarah Connor�s arc from waitress to warrior is wiped, leading one to wonder why the makers would want to betray what was already established in the first two far-superior entries.

With seemingly more time travel in its runtime than Back to the Future had in its entire series, Terminator Genisys becomes a confusing bore; I could not even keep up. I lost track of who had been where and when. This story has been twisted beyond recognition.

A few cute one-liners (out of countless attempts at good ones), an Arnie versus Arnie showdown, recreations of scenes from the original film and some zippy action sequences may satisfy fans, if they do not end up with a migraine from all the exposition.


Terminator Genisys (M)

Directed by: Alan Taylor

Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jason Clarke, Emilia Clarke

Two stars

Review by: Julian Wright

In cinemas now