I can still remember watching Terminator 2: Judgment Day way back in 1992. Schools were closed for the day due to severe rain. However, I still braved the story weather to go watch with my friend. Despite having to walk all the way home during a torrential downpour, I still remember the day fondly because, well, Terminator 2: Judgment Day was a kick-ass movie.
Well, I have this strange feeling of déjà vu as I just came from watching Terminator: Genysis, the latest chapter in the franchise. And it just so happens the city is being battered by heavy rains. But will I remember this experience as I did with the second film?
If you’re worried I’ll be revealing the plot of the film, let me just say again that this will be a SPOILER-FREE review. I wouldn’t do that to you guys!
Anyway, if you saw the trailer above, you already have a good idea of what the plot for Terminator: Genysis is all about. Kyle Reese travels back to 1984 to protect Sarah Connor from a Terminator. But it turns out she isn’t the weak and helpless damsel in distress we saw in the first film. Somehow, another T-800 (played again by Arnold Schwarzenegger) came back before the “first” attack and already trained Sarah Connor to be a killing machine… or a person that knows how to kill machines.
I wish I could reveal more but, like I said, I don’t want to spoil anything more. And, yes, I know the other trailers actually revealed a major plot point but, just in case you haven’t seen those trailers, don’t watch them! I came in knowing that huge spoiler and I kind of wish I hadn’t.
Even though they ruined a great mindblowing spoiler, as this is essentially a reboot, you have to throw what you know about the franchise out the window. It definitely does help have watched the older films. And I mean older films! In fact, come to think of it, you only need to know the “history” from up to the second film. It’s like the producers of the latest film figured out that no one really cared about [the third and fouth films] and totally disregarded the events from those films… which is a good thing since those two films were bad!
It’s also nice to see Arnold back in his role of the T-800. Yes, it’s easy to make jokes about how robotic his acting is so it really suits him. But, hey, it worked before and it still works even up to now! However, the acting is pretty uneven overall. I like the overall performance of JK Simmons as a cop that actually believes that time travel is possible and I wish they gave him more screen time.
Emilia Clarke and John Clarke take over the roles of Sarah Connor and John Connor respectively and they both deliver decent performances. I actually feel sorry for Emilia Clarke as she has to fill out the shoes of Linda Hamilton (who was an awesome character). While I won’t picture Emilia Clarke as my mental image of Sarah Connor, she gets the job done. I actually liked John Clarke’s performance during the first half of the film but disliked it during the second half. It has something to do with the twist revealed in the second trailer. Let’s just say his “new personality” doesn’t suit him.
The worst acting performance has to be Jai Courtney as Kyle Reese. I just don’t know what’s wrong with his performance. He just doesn’t have very good chemistry with any of the characters. He doesn’t come off a sympathetic as well. It just feels so… vanilla.
All Terminator films have to have a good number of action scenes and Terminator: Genysis is no exception. The problem is they feel too short for an action film that runs just over two hours. It’s like the come in very short bursts. In the first two films, it feels like they were long, elaborate set-pieces. Here, it looks like they were put in to fill the time. They’re generally okay but just when the action is getting good, they just abruptly end.
This actually hurts the pacing of the film. Since there are so many smaller action sequences, it’s like they never have enough time to see the characters interact with each other. Some of the better scenes in first two films (most especially Judgment Day) was how John Connor bonded with the T-800 and how Sarah Connor grew to accept a Terminator. There are a few glimpses of this but they didn’t devote enough time to these scenes, which is a crying shame! It’s like the producers of the Terminator films forgot this and this is precisely why the movies after Terminator 2: Judgment Day underwhelmed fans.
Don’t get me wrong. If they do make a sequel to this movie, I wouldn’t be against it. Terminator: Genysis is an okay film. It’s a fine summer action blockbuster but just doesn’t have the same heart of the first Terminator films.Fans may not like this and I would understand why. This isn’t the Terminator film most people were expecting but I do appreciate them trying to do something different. If they do make another film, they should look at the older films and try to understand what made them so special. It wasn’t the action; it was the heart. It’s kind of funny since, well, Terminators don’t have hearts.
Have you seen Terminator: Genysis? How does it stack up with the rest of the films? Let me know in the comments section below!