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Movie review 'Terminator Genisys': Out of time

Published Jul 4, 2015, 6:22 am IST
Updated Mar 28, 2019, 4:16 pm IST
The action movie as a genre has suffered unexpected decay

Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jason Clarke, Emilia Clarke, Jai Courtney, J.K. Simmons, Matt Smith
Director: Alan Taylor
Rating: 2 stars

Terminator Genisys follows the latest battle between humans and time-travelling robots to have control over history. The final decisive battle between Skynet’s machines and the humans led by John Connor (Jason Clarke) and Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) faces a major hiccup when Kyle Reese is sent back in time to an alternate timeline. Rather than the 1984 of James Cameron’s first Terminator, he’s in a world where Sarah Connor is played by Emilia Clarke (from TV’s Game of Thrones), and rather than the unaware girl from the first film, this one is already a soldier, having been raised by a Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) since childhood. Time is out of joint and spinning uncontrollably as the heroes decide once more to defeat Skynet in the past as they are pursued by robot agents from the future who seek to hunt them down.

Terminator Genisys is filled with all sorts of references and knowing winks and expects the audience to know Sarah Connor, Terminator and Kyle Reese. The constant references make it next to impossible to discuss it on its own terms. They also do the film serious discredit because it only reiterates what made Cameron’s films so exciting, suspenseful and terrific.


The action movie as a genre has suffered unexpected decay. What seemed simple, tense, suspenseful and exciting in Terminator 2: Judgment Day has been replaced by conspicuous CGI and boring action scenes without any real weight. A film about a Terminator and killer robots is highly physical in nature, so you would assume that this would feature several exciting foot chases, tense encounters and relentless pursuit on roads. Why did anyone think a helicopter chase with two Terminators chasing each across the sky of Los Angeles was a good substitute? As for the performances, Arnold Schwarzenegger returns to the role that made him a star, which, while welcoming, is highly suggestive of one of those embarrassing cameos made by stars in spoof comedies. In the case of the other two actors, Emilia Clarke is not as good as Linda Hamilton, she’s too young and too beautiful for the part of the survivalist tactician, though she does fare much better than Jai Courtney who strikes me as being miscast in the role of Kyle Reese, a poor shade on Michael Biehn. Jason Clarke is wasted while J.K. Simmons, a welcome surprise as always, seems to have wandered in from another movie.

The writer is programmer, Lightcube Film Society