With a heavy reliance on nostalgia from the series’ earlier entries, 2015’s Terminator: Genisys risks plummeting this once great series into even direr depths than 2009’s Terminator Salvation did. Fortunately, drawing on the previous films strengthens this average action-film.
Kyle Reece is sent back to 1984 to protect Sarah Conner from a T-800. Only, instead of finding a helpless Sarah, as in The Terminator (1984), he encounters a war-savvy Sarah reminiscent of 1991’s Terminator 2 along with a protective and reprogrammed T-800. Although the original Judgement Day was stopped, they learn of Skynet’s new activation date, and so travel to 2017 to stop it, only to encounter an unexpected surprise.
What follows is a standard action film punctuated with some great Terminator lore and mythology, some great comedic lines and action-sequences from Arnold Schwarzenegger, who plays an ageing T-800, some great character interaction between Kyle (Jason Clarke) and Sarah (the wonderfully convincing Emilia Clarke), and some surprising twists.
Early sequences tastefully reimagine classic scenes from The Terminator, while adding their own twists that respect the original material. The film offers little new in terms of story. Fortunately, like Terminator 2, the character interaction makes the film because the attachments between Kyle, Sarah, John, and the T-800 are emotionally driven, well played, and engaging. Action sequences, too, are well constructed and while a few moments defy credibility, they are never overdone.
Overall, Terminator: Genisys is a good action film that respects the Terminator licence. While it’s not as good as the first two films, it’s miles better than Salvation and on par with 2003’s Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.