mon 15/07/2024

Terminator Genisys | reviews, news & interviews

Terminator Genisys

Terminator Genisys

Schwarzenegger grins through a grim resurrection for the franchise

Return to the Arnieverse: Schwarzenegger sends himself up in 'Terminator Genisys'

Oh Arnie. For two terms Arnold Schwarzenegger retooled himself as the Governator who could save California from debt, drought and Democrats. By the time his term ended, the Californian exchequer was reduced to rubble. A bit, in fact, like the Golden Gate bridge at the start of Terminator: Genisys. When the Terminator said he’d be back he wasn’t wrong. But this time he’s leading a project that’s only pretending to destroy California’s infrastructure.

In fact it’s more complicated than just being back. Schwarzenegger is back and he's forth in a time-switching plot that commutes between 1984, 1997, 2017 and probably some other years I was too beaten up to make a note of. The plot, if you’ve got the patience, involves the race of terminators taking over the world via a system known as Skynet. A bunch of freedom fighters led by a now adult John Connor (Jason Clarke), born earlier in the franchise, succeed in disarming Skynet but, to be absolutely certain of final victory, they must send someone back in time to hook up with John Connor’s mother Sarah (Emilia Clarke) and prevent his birth or tell young John to watch out or something. The person who is selected for the task is lunky Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney), whom Connor saved as a child years earlier for just such a task.

I started to lose the plot, plus the will to go on, about five minutes in, and that’s before the serious head-scratching stuff about multiple time-frames and meta-reflexive parallel narratives mulched up in the vortex of the space-tedium continuum really starts to drag you under like quicksand. The script consists of complex bickering about which year to go to next, and the deployment of every sort of hardware when they get there. It boils down to baddies trying to kill the goodies who are trying to disable the titular Genisys matrix system which controls us all through our various devices and so on and so forth and so what. Meanwhile Arnie tries to stop them.

Oh yes, Arnie. A buck-naked terminator CGI-ed up to look just like the young Schwarzenegger follows Luke back in time, only it’s not the real Arnie, who turns up in 1984 looking semi-leathery as the protector of the young Sarah Connor. As the inheritor of Linda Hamilton’s feminist gunslinger, Emilia Clarke (pictured above) makes for a fiery pocket powderkeg, but Schwarzenegger is the only real inducement not to throw off your 3D specs and zizz through the shop-soiled minefield. In his latest return to the Arnieverse he pitches his performance somewhere between the regulation day job of crunching enemies and, Kindergarten Cop style, sending himself up. He flashes a horrific grin to simulate human emotion, and dispenses robotic witticisms: “I am 14 rounds short of an acceptable success margin.”

This rusty old T-800 is a survivor from a prelapsarian age of innocence when SFX needed a little more sass to knock your socks off. Now it’s just pushing buttons. The finest action sequence, in which a yellow coach dangles off the Golden Gate, is a straight lift from Jurassic Park: The Lost World. Whovians should note that Matt Smith’s baddie cameo is roughly the length of a yawn. Arnie's character, if that's the word, advises that he may be old but he's not obsolete. Maybe so, but this franchise needs to be terminated.


The script consists of complex bickering about which year to go to next, and the deployment of all sorts of hardware when they get there


Editor Rating: 
Average: 2 (1 vote)

Share this article

Add comment

Subscribe to

Thank you for continuing to read our work on For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 15,000 pieces, we're asking for £5 per month or £40 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take a subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a gift subscription?


Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters