Movie Review: Unforgettable
Test of Time: Close Encounters of the Third Kind
The X-Files returns in 2018!
Insidious Chapter 4 pushed to 2018
New Alien: Covenant images
Cult of Chucky has picture lock!
James Wan and Alexandre Aja to build a Smart House
Chilling new trailer for Sofia Coppola's The Beguiled
New gameplay footage from Friday the 13th: The Game
Chris Pratt talks darker, scarier Jurassic World sequel
Black Sheep: Robocop 2 (Video)
Top horror titles hitting Netflix in May
For me, the true THE TERMINATOR storyline ended with T2 in 1991. There was no more story left to tell (TERMINATOR 3: RISE OF THE MACHINES proved that to me – it was basically a lesser dub of T2) other than going back to the future to get a full taste of the war (and TERMINATOR 4:SALVATION covered that). With that gunned out, although they didn’t live up to James Cameron’s two classics; I still enjoyed T3 and T4 for what they were: fun rides! I know I was in the minority, story of my life on every front. What can you do? And now here we are with TERMINATOR GENISYS, a film that has the thankless task of being a follow up/companion piece and a reboot to a 31 years old franchise that has already overused its key elements: “time travel”, “judgment day”, “stop Skynet”. So how did this bad robot fare? As per Part 3 and 4, I was entertained man!
If you’re a virgin to this series, you’ll get way more out of TERMINATOR GENISYS if you watch the original THE TERMINATOR and T2 beforehand. So do that! In a sly move GENISYS (written by Patrick Lussier and Laeta Kalogridis) acted as a prequel to the original film and then a sequel that toyed with our familiarity of the first two movies to mess with us! To say I had a big stupid grin on my face during the first half of this one would be an understatement. I was having a blast seeing old classic scenes redesigned and come with different outcomes and I constantly played the “spot the references to other entries in the franchise” game throughout my watch. Good shite! Now that I think of it, GENISYS kind of did the same thing JURASSIC WORLD did so damn well: play on my nostalgia via gunning out familiar elements while offering some new meat to chew on! Yes the old timeline, the one we know has now been “terminated”. But there was nothing left to say and it was the only way the series could start over, hence no love lost for me. Now we have more juice to play with for future follow-ups (I hear Paramount has already green-lit two sequels so the rights don't fall back in James Cameron's hands... we'll see...).
Acting wise; I thought the cast was fairly solid and they shared a cool vibe together. Jai Courtney was earnest, endearing and intense as Kyle Reese. Emilia Clarke did her best Linda Hamilton impression circa T2. She looked the part and did a fine job with the material (I hated that she blinked when she fired guns though, it took away from the badass chick aura). On his end, Byung-hun Lee was so damn effective as the T-1000 that it was a shame he wasn’t in the film more while Jason Clarke had a rip roaring good time as John Connor. It would have been swell if the trailers didn’t spoil the Connor surprise though. To quote the Terminator "F*ck you assh*les"... all I’ll say on that! But of course the show stealer here was "the man" Arnold Schwarzenegger who basically played an older version of his T2 Bot; a father figure/protector that won’t stop doing his job no matter what damage you toss its way. Arnold gave the role subtle nuances, had some money one-liners (my fav being the one about mating) and the screen came alive to a higher echelon every time he was onscreen. The Austrian oak has not lost his T-800 touch! I want more! Add to all a new and very “now” spin on judgment day that agreed with me (felt relevant in terms of today’s tech overdose society), genuinely funny nuggets spread throughout (adored the banter between our trio), some money visual effects, an able if not "Terminator enough" score by Lorne Balfe(the Brad Fiedel nods rocked though and the score keeps growing on me) some sly ideas (like time traveling to the VERY WRONG location) and a clipped action laced pace that barely stopped for a an ice-cream and a hand-job and you get a harmless good time at the movies. But this is The Terminator we're talking about here…should it be THIS harmless?
Sadly for me, although Alan Taylor’s visual style went from adequate to f*ck yeah stylized, some of the action scenes were too Marvel comic-book-ish and not down and dirty TERMINATOR enough for this die hard fan. I knew that would happen going in (by way of the trailers and the PussyG 13 rating) but even prepared for the “no we’re not in the 80’s and 90’s anymore, get over it Arrow” M.O. it simply didn’t feel 100% right for a Terminator movie. Yeah we got all kinds of money shots and cool wam-bam bits, but other moments were too generic, ESPECIALLY for a Terminator movie.
The overuse of CG also took away from some of my enjoyment; it just didn’t carry the same impact as the practical wizardry found in the older films. And why the f*ck would you cast J.K. Simmons and Courtney B. Vance and give them such throwaway roles? Their parts brought little to the story (J.K's bang on comic relief aside) and should have been nixed out entirely. Finally I loved the “idea” behind Matt Smith’s role; I just wish they would have explored it further (among other things, lots of unanswered questions in this film). I guess they’ll zone in on it more in the sequels. NOTE: The 3D did not enhance my experience much – do with that what you will.
On the whole, TERMINATOR GENISYS greased me right with its witty plays on key events from the series, its easy pace, non-stop kabooms and its amusing performances. Alas, it was too LIGHT and CGI infused to fully deliver what I expect from a Terminator film. He’s back and I got some sturdy kicks out of it! I just wish more edge and grit came with him...