Terminator Genisys (2015)

Well, the first act is a lot of fun. The recreation of elements from the first film is joyful, and the film rollicks along well in these sequences. When the two leads (Clarke and Courtenay) come into focus, the movie loses its way, and not because neither of them act well in the film, but the story sags as well. There are some great ideas in the film, and a few enjoyable performances (Schwarzenegger is a lot of fun, Lee Byung-hun is a knockout in his short appearance, and Matt Smith is irritatingly wasted), but the longer it went, the worse it got, eventually devolving into typical convoluted sci-fi franchise lunacy. Still, it was certainly more interesting than the other two unnecessary Terminator sequels.

Genisys seems somewhat divisive. I think it’s worth a watch if you like the franchise or science-fiction action films in general. I highly enjoyed the first act of the film (the second act not as much, and the third act not much at all really), the action is above average for Hollywood directing, and the film does do some interesting things.

My main problems with it were some of the actors – Emilia Clarke as Sarah Connor and Jai Courtney as Kyle Reese in particular – were extremely mediocre (though Clarke had a moment or two), Jason Clarke as John Connor was nothing interesting (wish they’d at least gotten Bale back for the role). Matt Smith’s a great actor, and I truly do hope he succeeds in Hollywood one day, but he had so little time in the film that his acting is inconsequential.

Amusingly, it’s the robots (Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lee Byung-hun) that gave the most enjoyable performances, in my opinion.

My other problems were that the film is overlong (second act and third act are much longer than they need to be), a lot of the dialogue isn’t great, and the story becomes needlessly confusing later in the film – a shame, because I think the premise is pretty much the perfect sequel to the first two Terminator films if a sequel must be made. The score was just serviceable. I’ll repeat that I think the action sequences in the film are definitely better than most action sequences in Hollywood films these days, and if you enjoy that sort of thing (particularly in sci-fi films) then the film is worth your time.

I give it two recasts, and an unearned post-credits scene.

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