I’ll be bad

SFX - - Reviews -

re­leased 2 Novem­beR 2015 | 12 | Blu- ray 3D/ Blu- ray/ DVD

Di­rec­tor Alan Tay­lor

Cast Arnold Sch­warzeneg­ger, Emilia Clarke, Jai Court­ney, Jason Clarke, JK Sim­mons, Byung- hun Lee, Matt Smith

James Cameron may have de­scribed this fifth Ter­mi­na­tor movie as a “re­nais­sance”, say­ing he sees it as the third film in the se­ries, but don’t get your hopes up. Call­ing Genisys a su­pe­rior model to Rise Of The Ma­chines and Sal­va­tion is hardly a ring­ing endorsement – and it’s de­bat­able whether it’s even true.

Like the Alien saga, The Ter­mi­na­tor is a fran­chise des­per­ately cling­ing onto past glo­ries, a fact Genisys tac­itly ac­knowl­edges by shame­lessly riff­ing on the clas­sic orig­i­nal. Un­for­tu­nately, watch­ing Sarah Con­nor ( Emilia Clarke) and an age­ing Arnie- model Ter­mi­na­tor in­ter­act­ing with the events of the 1984 movie – he was sent back to pro­tect her when she was a kid; she now calls him “Pops” – feels more For­rest Gump than Back To The Fu­ture Part II. Even throw­ing a new liq­uid me­tal T- 1000 and Jai Court­ney’s pumped- up Kyle Reese into the mix can’t make what hap­pens here feel in­te­gral to Ter­mi­na­tor mythol­ogy. If only this ’ 80s- set first act wasn’t the best bit of the movie…

Then the ac­tion jumps for­ward to 2017, and another Skynet­shaped threat to hu­man­ity. It’s here things re­ally start to un­ravel. The Ter­mi­na­tor movies have al­ways fea­tured time travel as a plot de­vice, with­out ac­tu­ally be­ing about time travel. Here the story buck­les un­der the weight of mul­ti­ple time­lines, a com­plete lack of logic, and the sense that the rules of the saga are be­ing hap­haz­ardly rewrit­ten be­fore your eyes.

Even tak­ing the tan­gle of a plot out of the equa­tion, Genisys misses the tar­get. The set­pieces are com­pe­tent with­out ever wow­ing, it’s im­pos­si­ble to be­lieve Clarke and Court­ney are the same char­ac­ters Linda Hamil­ton and Michael Biehn played in the first two movies, and the in­sis­tence on re­peat­edly re­cy­cling clas­sic lines like “Come with me if you want to live” and “I’ll be back” gives the movie the feel of a bad catch­phrase- based sit­com.

But all that pales into in­signif­i­cance ( spoil­ers ahead!) next to the id­iocy of giv­ing away the movie’s big twist in the trail­ers. While John Con­nor’s turn­coat fate is ut­terly ridicu­lous and im­plau­si­ble, it might have worked as a rug- pull re­veal. In­stead, it’s just one stupid mo­ment among many. It’s a mis­step akin to putting an arrow point­ing at Keyser Soze on the poster for The Usual Sus­pects. If Skynet has any sense it’ll be trav­el­ling back in time pretty soon to stop this movie be­ing made.

Ex­tras The DVD fea­tures a “Fam­ily Dy­nam­ics” fea­turette ( 16 min­utes) about re­cast­ing the lead roles. The Blu- ray ver­sions add “In­fil­tra­tion And Ter­mi­na­tion” ( 25 min­utes), a be­hind- the- scenes look at film­ing lo­ca­tions, and “Up­grades” ( 15 min­utes), which fo­cuses on the vis­ual ef­fects. Richard Ed­wards

Alan Tay­lor wasn’t a fan of his twist be­ing spoiled. “I cer­tainly di­rected those scenes with the in­ten­tion that no one would know.”

A fran­chise cling­ing onto past glo­ries

Frank de­cided that next time he’d go for a spray tan.

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