Terminator Genisys (2015) Movie Review Terminator Genisys (2015) Movie Review
"Despite never reaching the technical heights of Cameron's two first films, "Terminator Genisys" is nevertheless a pleasant addition to the franchise, delivering plenty of... Terminator Genisys (2015) Movie Review

Back in 2003, when Arnold Schwarzenegger decided to shelve acting and enter the world of politics, I don’t think any of us thought he would ever come back to the movies, let alone his beloved Terminator franchise. But as it turns out, he did come back, and now he is ready to return with “Terminator Genisys” – part reboot and part sequel, created with the purpose of re-igniting the series after the horrendous train wreck that was “Terminator Salvation”. In that regard, I’m happy to inform that they’ve successfully managed to revive a property that seemed to had run its course. The T-800 is at it again, stronger than it’s been in decades.

The movie opens with a monologue by Kyle Reese, play by Jai Courtney, who talks about the time before the machines. Then we cut to the future. The human resistance is still at war with Skynet, and they’re getting ready for the final showdown. They succeed, only to find out that a T-800 has been sent back to 1984 to kill Sarah Connor. They themselves decide to follow the act, sending back Reese to protect the woman who will eventually give birth to the leader of the resistance, John Connor. But when he gets there, everything has changed. Sarah is no longer a vulnerable waitress, but a warrior trained by an old T-800 played by Schwarzenegger. Together they travel through time to prevent Skynet from launching a dangerous app.

I’m not quite sure what people expect from a film like this. It’s not like it was intended to be a high-brow science-fiction mind-twister. The premise has always been very simple. Mankind creates artificial intelligence, which then turns on us and triggers the apocalypse. From that point on, it all is a fairly straight chase picture. Someone has to be killed, someone is sent to do the job, and someone is trying to prevent that from happening. That’s all there really is to it. Not that it’s a bad thing. Just look at how riveting the first two movies turned out to be. My point is that the execution has always been more intriguing than the idea itself, and in that sense ‘Genisys’ delivers exactly what you would expect; beautifully shot, high-octane action with lots of one-liners, warnings against excessive science, and a clever allegory to tie it all together in a clever way. Arnold is at the top of his game here, kicking ass and cranking out golden dialogue that only he can pull off. He’s also surprisingly human this time around, which the movie explains by having him absorb human behaviour through many years of living in our society. The reason for his age is also neatly presented to us, and it actually makes sense. He still is the star, giving us his best T-800 performance since T2.

As for the rest of the cast, everyone is playing their part efficiently. Emilia Clarke is a slightly more emotional Sarah Connor than Linda Hamilton was, but that doesn’t make her any less appealing to watch on screen. She perfectly portrays the toughness and the strong personality of the character, while never trying to copy Hamilton’s approach, which isn’t exactly easy considering how iconic that performance was. Jai Courtney, believe it or not, also provides a serviceable Kyle Reese, and most of the other cast members likewise do their characters justice. However, it’s kind of sad to see recognisable names like J.K. Simmons and Matt Smith being put on the back-burner for most of the film, despite initially being led to believe that they are going to have much more intricate roles to play in all the interconnected timelines.

Speaking of timelines, I guess an argument could be made that the time travel doesn’t really make sense, which is true. But I don’t think anyone goes to see a Terminator film for the scientific accuracy. I do understand, though, how someone might be a little confused at times, because you really need to know your Terminator trivia to keep up with the brisk pace of it all. Sometimes it also tries a little too hard to be smart and profound, but at least they’re trying again for the first time in 24 years. Watching it, I felt a sense of love and respect for the universe. There are competent people behind the wheel of this production, and it shows. Alan Taylor clearly understands what makes the concept so exciting, and he knows the importance of doing something new and different, even if it may not necessarily sit well with fans of the Cameron movies. He does it anyway, and so for all the problems that it might have, it still does a mighty good job of bringing the sinking ship back to the shore. I’m telling you, it could’ve been a lot worse. They could’ve just pumped out another T3, which would’ve been the safe choice. But they choose to be playful, and that is what pays off.

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Mathias Folsted Film/Music/TV critic, columnist, and news-writer

An aspiring filmmaker, film critic and YouTuber. Previous experience include extensive work for the largest danish film site, www.filmz.dk, where I served as junior editor, film critic, columnist, and news writer. Also a graduate from the European Film College, I've been a lover of motion pictures for as long as I can remember. My criticism is always honest, but above all emotional.

  • Frimmel

    It is meant to. You’re missing the context.

  • Stalkeye

    ” The man forgets that his fanbase is made up by the blood and guts crowd who love movies like T1, Commando, Predator, The Running Man, Total Recall and T2. If he had been smart he would have tried to recruit Paul Verhoeven for one last film and let it rip. “

    Exactly, Creepy! I just now got off the phone with a good friend of mine who had seen the Movie over the Weekend and he said, that there was no need to have “Ahhnuld” in the sequel and that Sarah Conner was “Corny”.
    Another Quote: “Save your Money, the action and FX are the only good thing about the Movie”.

    Beh, I’ll just stick to Arnold’s aforementioned Films which still holds up.
    Including The Running Man-

    Richards:”You’re that Asshole on TV”

    Killian: “funny, that’s the same thing i thought about you”.


  • Stalkeye

    I see your “Last Stand” and raise you “Sabotage”!

  • Stalkeye

    “Keep cool, Birdboy”!!

  • Tarmac492.1

    Need to see that.

  • Stalkeye

    Oh yes, you do! it’s gritty and dark as Fuck. Directed by David Ayer who is also working on the Suicide squad Movie.

  • Serpico Jones

    All of those scenes are in the movie. I thought it was a pretty solid flick.

  • Tarmac492.1

    I am glad Ayer is branching out. I thought he was gonna be all LA, gangs, crooked cops and whatnot. Although I still love me some Training Day even though he didnt direct. Denzel owns that shit, but give Hawk some credit–he was damn fine in what may have been a tougher role. The kitchen/bathtub scene with the priceless Cliff Curtis is a fave.

  • Zed

    That movie gets better every time I watch it, and it was pretty great to begin with.

    “What happened to Buzzsaw?”
    “Oh, he had to split.”

  • Sagamanus

    We really need to stop speculating on the time-travel aspects as to whether they have holes in them or not. Let’s agree they are metaphors or something to guide the plot along. If we really have to deconstruct it to the point where we’re talking physics and mechanics then we might as well not go see a Godzilla film because radiation doesn’t do that to lizards.

  • Kyle Fulton

    This flick kicked ASS. Long time fan of the Terminator films, and I fucking loved it.

  • Well, you are absolutely right, the problem is that this film puts exactly that aspect in the middle of the movie and tries to be smart about it.

  • Coupon: The Movie

    How about a light?

  • Coupon: The Movie

    As good as his Terminator score is, I though he outdid himself with T2. That score is fucking amazing.

  • Stalkeye

    I still prefer the first one.

  • Saw it last night. It’s not bad, not great. Maybe a 6/10 from me.

    Liked Jai, Arnold, and JK. Didn’t like the Clarkes.

    I thought the timeline stuff was fine actually. Made sense for the most part, which is about all you can expect when it comes to convoluted time travel.

    The action was sometimes good, sometimes meh. There wasn’t really a brilliant set piece like what the original two had, or even the 3rd’s opening chase scene.

    Biggest issue is the same problem they all have since T2; tone. It’s more of an action movie than the sci-fi horror/thriller that the first two were. Sure, both T1 and 2 have action, especially 2, but there’s a lot more drama, character building, suspense, etc. You actually fear the Terminators and for the lives of the characters. T3 and beyond, not so much. Genisys might have been able to combat this with more focus on the Matt Smith character.

  • The Nexus Point was convoluted bullshit. Many explanations, like who sent Arnie, “to be explained in the sequel” (writers). Why did Arnie wear his 80s outfit when he came to Sarah in the 70s? Why did he age so rapidly in one decade? The T-3000’s weakness were magnets. It was established shortly before that the time machine creates a strong magnetic field. How did he get back through time?

  • Yeah as a stand alone movie it loses points due to the “we’ll let you know in the sequels” stuff. Most of that nitpicky stuff I don’t care about though. However, that magnet plothole you brought up at the end is a fairly what the fuck.

  • Coupon: The Movie

    I’ll have to give it another listen. Haven’t heard it in a while.

  • Orcus

    Orcus saw this movie this week. Fuck the haters, this was actually good as it was presented.

    Granted Jai Courtney was meh and did not invoke anything from Michael Biehn’s Kyle, but once you got into the movie that went away. While Emilia Clarke might be considered a major cutie by human standards, she came off as a kid playing as an adult. Those were the two issues that Orcus had

  • Orcus

    BEHOLD! Orcus comes from the future! Quite frankly it kinds sucks there now, mind if Orcus hangs out here for a while?

  • Dee-abolik

    can you kill somebody so T6 doesn’t happen?

  • Orcus

    Bad reviews did the heavy lifting for Orcus on that one