Well, he said he’d be back – again and again – and now, at the age of 67, Austrian action icon Arnold Schwarzenegger returns to the role that made him famous.
Series redux Genisys sees Arnie’s T-800 protecting one-time target Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke) in 1984 as they await the arrival of soldier Kyle Reese ( Jai Courtney) from the future to help prevent the end of the world.
That synopsis is probably as simple a description as possible of the basics of Laeta Kalogridis (Shutter Island) and Patrick Lussier’s (Drive Angry) complicated, convoluted story that doesn’t just bend the rules of time, but smashes them into smithereens.
Part prequel, remake and reboot, Genisys is like a Terminator greatest hits parade – fiery Judgement Day assault, the T-1000 (this time played by Byung-hun Lee), police station attack, catchphrases – where none of the parts is as well-oiled as what’s come before.
At one point, Arnie actually says “alternate timelines are not complicated”; I beg to differ, big man. You’ll need a degree in quantum physics to keep up with where the characters are within the Terminator universe – and where they’re headed.
The story isn’t helped either by the studio’s ridiculous decision to give away the film’s biggest twist in the latter trailers, but when Kalogridis and Lussier also furnish us with lazy plot devices like Kyle’s conveniently informative visions, it’s obvious we were always going to be a long way from the brilliance of James Cameron’s intelligently-scripted first two franchise entries.
Fortunately, cast and director are on sounder footing than the writing duo. Alan Taylor proved his blockbuster credentials with 2013’s hugely entertaining Thor: The Dark World and he effectively tips his hat to the metallic colour palette of Terminator 2, save for a brighter, memorable sequence on the Golden Gate Bridge involving a flipping school bus.
Although a little action-light, Taylor gets creative with the Terminator v Terminator scraps and takes the novel step of using Arnie as a torpedo. However, the less said about the remarkably dodgy CGI used to resurrect the 1984 Schwarzenegger the better.
A hugely likeable Courtney embraces Kyle being the main storyline focus and Clarke channels a young Linda Hamilton as a feisty Sarah, taking her Game of Thrones form to the big screen.
And what of Arnie? He still looks like he’s having a ball and shares some nice father figure moments with Clarke. But, for the most part, he’s used as an exposition tool – and the comedic smiles are overused to the point of annoyance.
On a par with the third and fourth entries, Genisys is a film that just seems to exist to reset the franchise for a new direction to come.
But not in a thrilling Star Trek or Batman Begins way – more in underwhelming fashion as it pines for past glories.
rating Nights under canvas are great until you have to brave it outside in the dead of night or your phone runs out of juice. Luckily this aluminium-clad barrel of 2000mAh power is a strong torch and it can charge up that phone or any USB device. Available in red, blue and black, it’s less than 11cm long with a diameter of 2cm, holds its charge for a couple of weeks and will breathe life into your phone within minutes. An ideal festival companion.