SYNOPSIS: When John Connor (Jason Clarke), leader of the human resistance, sends Sgt. Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) back to 1984 to protect Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke) and safeguard the future, an unexpected turn of events creates a fractured timeline. Now, Sgt. Reese finds himself in a new and unfamiliar version of the past, where he is faced with unlikely allies, including the Guardian (Arnold Schwarzenegger), dangerous new enemies, and an unexpected new mission: To reset the future…
"Terminator: Genisys" isn't so much a sequel or a reboot but a nicely done piece of big-budget fan fiction brought back to life in the most grandeur way possible. As a much needed or necessary entry in a series of movies about indestructible time-traveling robots and genocidal computer networks, it's pretty spot-on with having to satisfy the tech-savvy millennials of today along with the die-hard Terminator fans of yester-year. And Three decades removed from its original script, key roles have been nicely casted, while the movie efficiently and sparingly regurgitates some of its “greatest-hits” moments of its predecessors.
Exploiting the narrative possibilities of time travel on a more vigorous and elaborate scale than its relatively self-enclosed predecessors, “Genisys” effectively returns us to the events of James Cameron’s “The Terminator” (1984), stirs in the action dynamics of “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” (1991), borrows the man-machine-hybrid plot device from McG’s “Terminator Salvation,” and more or less pretends that Jonathan Mostow’s “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines” (2004) never existed…lol. Essentially, “Terminator Genisys” takes everything about the first movie and twists it into an almost paradoxical story within itself. And for a bit of nostalgia, it’s great to see Schwarzenegger back in action, having him utter all his famous lines as a kind of link to the past and a way to bring the Millennials along for Schwarzenegger ride.
Because this latest release, tend to twist or morph some of the details of the first couple “Terminator” flicks, some fans may object to this alteration and see it as a negative aspect, but it’s actually immensely enjoyable, despite all the (what some would say is) messed up, confusing technicalities associated with time travel. The action sequences are fun and exciting, and there are a lot of throwbacks to the first two releases, plus some impressive special effects that allow a young Schwarzenegger to appear as another Terminator.
Unfortunately, the opportunity to turn this into a cautionary tale about technology is missed out on in favor of a generic “let’s blow up the building” type of story. Quit a shame, really, considering how far along technology has come in terms of smartphones, the internet, social media, and so on since the first “Terminator” flick. And the movie does give us an enjoyably dumb crash course in time-travel specifics that explains how a “nexus point” can give rise to parallel timelines and alternate memories, opening a narrative wormhole that’s intended to justify the movie’s wholesale re-imagination of its material. (It’s roughly the same maneuver J.J. Abrams pulled off, though much more cleverly, in his 2009 “Star Trek” re-launch.)
Regardless of any possible short-coming the flick might have, this latest effort is a fun action-packed movie that is a far improvement over the last two “Terminator” films. Giving four and a half stars out of five here is probably pushing the envelope, but is probably deserved and should be seen in theaters with popcorn in tow.
By Movi-Man Stan
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