TERMINATOR GENISYS Theatrical Review [UK]

I’ve been very vocal in the past with my reviews as to how much of an Arnie fan I am. It’s no secret that he is my all time favourite and have been a big fan of all his work that has been shown onscreen since his return to acting from Office. I loved THE LAST STAND, ESCAPE PLAN was great fun, SABOTAGE was just down right dirty and gritty as hell in my opinion and I’ve loved all of his extended cameos in THE EXPENDABLES movies (the exception so far is MAGGIE as I still haven’t had the chance to see it yet). Ever since TERMINATOR SALVATION left quite a sour taste in my mouth I have been longing to see Arnold return to the big screen in another TERMINATOR adventure, and as usual when you follow something these things seem to take forever to come to fruition. When it was confirmed that Arnold would be back for not one, but three new TERMINATOR movies, well I’m sure you could imagine my excitement! This was at a time when there was not any director attached or any other co-stars, so for me the sky was the limit!

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It was later announced that Alan Taylor (THOR: THE DARK WORLD) was on board to direct (come on, admit it, you all hoped that James Titanic-Avatar Cameron would be back to direct….I did!). Whilst slightly deflated I kept some hope as it was Arnold back in his signature role and I am in the minority that did not mind the THOR sequel that much. Next came the plot –

“John Connor sends Kyle Reese back in time to protect Sarah Connor, but when he arrives in 1984, nothing is as he expected it to be”

At this time it was then explained that the movie would be more of a reboot of the whole TERMINATOR franchise using the BACK TO THE FUTURE II model and taking it into a different direction. I was down with that, I could see what they were trying to do. At least it was not a full blown remake! So “John Connor”, “Sarah Connor” and “Kyle Reese” would all be making a return. Would that mean we could see Edward Furlong, Linda Hamilton and Michael Biehn come back? Nope! (You’ll have to forgive me, THE TERMINATOR AND TERMINATOR 2 are two of my all time favourite movies) We instead get Jason Clarke as John, Emilia Clarke as Sarah and Jai Courtney as Kyle….Jai Courtney! Then came those stupid and down right terrible set pictures of most of the main cast seemingly shouting and firing their guns at absolutely nothing. The final kick in the nuts for me was reading that it would be given a 12A rating…a TERMINATOR movie should be a 15 (or R rated) minimum! Right there and then my hopes of the TERMINATOR sequel that I had been longing for soon diminished and my expectations were low…..lower than low!

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Set pictures started to arrive and then the trailers arrived. With my expectations being more than grounded I have to admit I was very impressed with what I saw and that little glimmer of hope that I had started to shine through again. I soon came to realise that TERMINATOR GENISYS was pandering to the crowd of ‘now’ rather than what the ‘older’ generation witnessed on screen back in the 80s and 90s. Hearing also abut the additions of J K Simmons and Byung-hun Lee also gave me a little more hope. I kinda went in hoping for a movie that at least rivalled that of TERMINATOR 3: RISE OF THE MACHINES. Having watched that again recently it is a great fun action flick, but a poor TERMINATOR movie. The saving grace was that ending; nobody saw that coming!

As always, I digress, my apologies! Leading up to my screening of TERMINATOR GENISYS I made a point of watching both THE TERMINATOR and TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY to get me for TERMINATOR GENISYS. My expectations were still low, but I will admit it, I was excited to see Arnold back as the T-800!

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As the movie starts we are thrust into the ‘Future War’ with “John Connor’s rebellion” fighting the machines and “Skynet”. It’s at this point that the rebellion take down “Skynet” completely, but not before they send a Terminator back through time to kill “Sarah Connor”. This is where the movie pretty much starts and then takes it’s alternate timeline to what we have seen in the past. Without wanting to delve too much into the storyline for fear of spoiling it for anyone. However, I do want to touch upon the MAJOR twist that was revealed in the trailers. IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN ANY TRAILERS AND ARE GOING IN BLIND DO NOT READ THIS NEXT BIT – “John Connor” is not who he seems in this new timeline and is now part-man, part-machine. To this day I do not know why the film makers decided to reveal this in the trailers. It would have made such an impact on screen watching the T-800 finally ‘killing’ “John Connor”, completing the original mission all along, for him to only get back up again showing that he’s been taken over by the machines. It would have been a jaw dropping moment to see this for the first time during the theatre, rather than being forced in your face during all of the later trailers ahead of the movie’s release.

One of my main concerns with the movie was its casting. I have to admit however that whilst I wasn’t too keen on Jason Clarke as “John” he just didn’t seem as believeable as say the likes of Robert Patrick as the T-1000 or even Kristina Loken as the T-X, both Emilia Clarke and Jai Courtney do a decent turn in their roles. Don’t get me wrong, they are not a patch on either Linda Hamilton or Michael Biehn, but everyone knew they wouldn’t be. They aren’t going to win any awards or anything, but they are convincing enough. J K Simmons is great in a small supporting role but Byung-hun Lee was absolutely wasted, which was a huge shame. There is also a blink and you will miss it cameo from Matt Smith who, if the sequels get made, will feature a more prominent role no doubt. Arnold on the other hand, really was the stand out here. You could tell he was loving every minute making this movie. Admittedly there is not much ‘acting’ involved to play the T-800 but just seeing him back doing what he does best was just superb. 

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So, what did I think to TERMINATOR GENISYS? Having had my expectations lowered considerably over the past 12-18 months I have to say I had an absolute blast! Easily on par with TERMINATOR 3: RISE OF THE MACHINES and ten folds better than TERMINATOR SALVATION I thought it was great fun! The new direction for the storyline which was taken was done quite cleverly, however there were some huge plot holes which do not get answered throughout (but this is something I can see being addressed over the next couple of sequels if they get made). The CGI and effects are very well done, although I did miss some of the practical FX that I was more accustomed too from the original movies, but what was done was handled very well. The cast do a decent enough job to help the movie along, and Arnold really is the stand out star throughout the movie, showing there is still plenty of ‘movie life’ left in him; to quote him from the film “Old, but not obsolete”.

If you’re an Arnold or TERMINATOR fan, please watch this on the big screen and help get TERMINATOR GENISYS a successful box office taking. After TERMINATOR SALVATION and Arnold’s return to the big screen have not favoured so well, it would be great to see this do well and put him back on top of the box office. Coming from a huge Arnold fan and a massive lover of TERMINATOR – HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

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About the author

SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER | Matt is a huge movie fan with a big passion for all the 80s cheesy Action movies. Anything Arnold Schwarzenegger related is an instant hit too! Also a UK Blu-ray reviewer for Hi-Def Ninja and UK Editorial Manager.