Terminator Genisys ★★★

I've been waiting for you.
-Guardian

Arnold Schwarzenegger isn't just out to save Sarah Connor and humankind this time around, he's out to save the Terminator franchise. Lofty goals to say the least. Does he succeed? Well he saves Terminator Genisys from being a total disaster making it NOT the worst film in the franchise.

It's a small victory that hopefully changes the course of this dying franchise. It's by no means the same caliber of film as the original or T2, to even suggest so would be a sign of the apocalypse. No, instead writers Laeta Kalogridis and Patrick Lussier have turned the latest installment into a cheesy and shallow sci-fi B-movie, but one that has heart in an unexpected place.

The way they deal with explaining Arnold's age in the film makes sense, but it also opens the door for him to revisit the character he left behind in T2. In the first sequel the Terminator evolved during the course of a few days into an almost father figure for John Connor. Here the Terminator has been evolving for decades so despite him being technically not the same character, it still comes off as a natural progression of that T-800 from Judgment Day.

That is how Schwarzenegger of all people, playing a Terminator no less, comes off as the most human character in this artificial 5th installment of a franchise still living off the greatness of it's two first films. He's gone from father figure, to full fledged parent where his usual glances and frowns seem to mean so much more then any other Terminator film.

Emilia Clarke does go from "Mother of Dragons" to "Mother of Machines" here and I adore her, but there is no danger of her replacing Linda Hamilton as THE de facto Sarah Connor in the minds of any fan worth a dime. It's not the performance, but rather how the character was written.

Logically you'd think the character of Sarah would be a cross between her two personas from the original films, but instead she seems to be a cross between the original Sarah Connor and young John Connor from T2. In hindsight that actually makes sense and I love the dynamic between her and Arnold, but without the Terminator around her character simply isn't as compelling.

Hey look someone put Jai Courtney in another action movie. He's at his best here, meaning that although he doesn't ruin the movie, he adds NOTHING to it. My only consolation in the film was that he's playing a character that is destined to die, does he in this film though? You'll have to watch and see.

I don't want to come to his defense, but I feel I have to in one respect. The character of Kyle Reese is poorly written in this film. In the original he was a messed up soldier suffering from PTSD resulting in him being a somewhat interesting basket case. The Reese in Genisys has been reduced to a stereotypical action movie guy with no personality quirks.

Jason Clarke doesn't really bring anything special to the John Connor character either, while actors J.K. Simmons and Byung-hun Lee are completely wasted in a plot that takes huge leaps in logic or sometimes just lacks it completely.

Despite everything though, Schwarzenegger made me enjoy this film. It is something that I never thought I'd say, but everyone in this film is better when they are working off of Arnold. Even Jai Courtney comes dangerously close to being mildly entertaining when in scenes with good old "pops".

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