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Friday, July 3, 2015

Terminator Genisys 2015 * * Stars

Terminator GenisysDirector: Alan Taylor
Year: 2015
Rated PG-13
Rating: * * Stars
Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Emilia Clarke, Jason Clarke

It's hard to figure out who's playing John Connor these days (the seminal character from the Terminator franchise). We're talking four films and four different actors who look nothing alike. You have Edward Furlong from T2 (he's still working but I haven't noticed), Nick Stahl from Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (lately he's been procreating the rehab thing), Christian Bale from Terminator Salvation (here's a movie mogul who's already too big for his britches), and now Jason Clarke from Terminator Genisys (my latest review). Frankly, the casting directors seem to have been working overtime and now I've gotten to the point where I could care less. As for the plot workings of every Terminator casing, I get it. Skynet needs to fall, Judgement Day needs to be stopped, Sarah Connor needs to be protected, yada yada yada. Honestly, I just wanna see action, Arnold with his prickly one-liners and yes, more action. "Genisys" sadly, is more of a time traveling undertaking than anything else. And as far as those types go, the complicated ones just make my head hurt and my you know what itch. Yeesh!

Now I get a lot of flak for this, but my favorite installment in this heralded film franchise has always been Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (followed by the first two outings from 84' and 91'). It's the least complicated, has the tightest editing, contains the foxiest villain (T-X played by Kristanna Loken), and oh what a chase sequence (complete with the destruction of marked police cars, semi-trucks, and deluxe motorcycles). It's a popcorn flick and something you view during the opening days of summer. Terminator Genisys on the other hand, comes off as a watered-down version of everything doomsday. What's on screen is about as worthy as 2009's Terminator Salivation (mentioned earlier) and that can't be good.

Anyway, I'm not predicting the future here (a huge topic concerning any synthetic intelligence exercise) but you gotta wonder how Terminator Genisys would do at the box office minus Arnold Schwarzenegger. I'm thinking it would not break even or just veer towards direct-to-video territory. Granted, this is Terminator as choppy, tedious art film fodder. The performances (featuring actors/actresses Jai Courtney, Emilia Clarke, and J.K. Simmons) aren't entirely compelling, the film score adds no element of darkness or despair, and the action scenes (of the bloodless, PG-13 variety) seem prosaic as ever. I will say though that director Alan Taylor effectively channels his inner Transcendence (2014). A lot of special effects shots give off a serious whiff of all things graphite and glitter (no pun intended on the Donald Fagen ditty, "I.G.Y.").

All in all, I would skip this 2015 release and just stick to the essentials (Terminators 1, 2, and 3). And if you decide to retaliate on my review and waste your $10, watch for Arnie blurting out his signature gab, "I'll be back". You'll exit the theater thinking why and how that could effectively be possible.

Of note: (Spoiler alert) the biggest thing that irked me about "Genisys" was how it contained scenes altering various occurrences in 1984's The Terminator. You have Arnold's T-800 being eliminated early on with pretty much just one gunshot (please). As intimidating and devastating as his monster was in the classic original, this is nothing but a pure insult to any fan of the franchise. Also, the iconic Sarah Connor (now played by Emilia Clarke) is not a waitress in 1984. Instead, she's a soldier predetermined with an itchy trigger finger. Clarke though, sadly fails to resemble any sort of badassery that Linda Hamilton showed later on in the series.

Written by Jesse Burleson

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