Wednesday, July 8, 2015

[Review] Terminator Genisys

The Terminator franchise has been fairly on the downward slope following James Cameron's classic first two films of the series, The Terminator & Terminator 2: Judgement Day. Judging by the Terminator Genisys trailer, there was a glimmer of potential, especially considering how another recent big franchise sequel (Jurassic World) was able to deliver some roaring fun. However, Genisys turns out as a thorough disappointment, reaching to be what it can't.

In the future, most of humankind has been obliterated by robots and machines. John Connor (Jason Clarke) sends his bud Kyle (Jai Courtney) back in time to save his mother Sarah Conner (Emilia Clarke of "Game of Thrones" Queen of Dragons fame) from being assassinated. But a rift in time screws things up, and the roles of everyone (including the returning Arnold Schwarzenegger) have been twisted. All the time-hopping makes this a very convoluted plot. Instead of being ambitious or complex, it's just a drag to keep tabs on. And aside from a couple of Arnold's lines, and a strangely timed cue of the Ramones' "I Wanna be Sedated", it doesn't help that this is a mostly humorless load of clunk and an onslaught of exposition.

Despite the upgraded technology and special effects, Genisys doesn't even come close to packing the metal haymakers of the beloved first two installments. It lacks the same sci-fi intrigue, the charm, and yes, the beating heart. And even when we toss the comparison factor to its lofty predecessors out the window, this is still a run-of-the-mill action flick. The action sequences don't even match some of the things we've already seen on the big screen this year. The only real surprise is how early in the film the Golden Gate Bridge (Hollywood's punching bag) gets destroyed. It also indulges in another Hollywood action trend--the lighting of each scene is unnecessarily dark, so the images sort of fade into each other and don't really pop. Most of the first two Terminators take place in broad daylight (if not under better light sources) and are still notably more menacing and brooding without having to drench itself in shadows.

Terminator Genisys never really feels like a true Terminator movie. And all its callbacks don't come off as thoughtful crowd-pleasing odes, but more-so desperate retreads. Worst of all--in somewhat infuriating fashion, it messes around with the plots of T1 & T2. It's the epitome of a throwaway. It's aggressively inessential, and it might as well be lowered into the flames.


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