So once again we have survived.

Terminator Genisys [sic]

tn_terminatorgNote: if you know nothing about this movie, this review has lots of spoilers. However, every major twist is given away in the advertising, one of them even on the poster.

There’s a cool, clever idea near the beginning of TERMINATOR GENISYS. We start out in the post-Judgment Day future, where the resistance leader John Connor (now played by Jason Clarke of ZERO DARK THIRTY) is about to destroy Skynet and its army of machines. But Skynet has just sent a T-800 (played by a body double with a digital-young-Arnold-Schwarzenegger head) back to 1984 to kill his mother Sarah Connor (now played by Emilia Clarke from Game of Thrones, not to be confused with Lena Headey from Game of Thrones, who played her on Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles) before she conceives him. So John sends his best soldier (and secret father) Kyle Reese (now played by Jai Courtney from JACK REACHER and who would have been in the fifth DIE HARD if they had made one but there is not one in my opinion) back in time to protect Sarah. You know, the plot of THE TERMINATOR.

And then it goes and re-creates a few scenes we recognize from the first movie: the man in the garbage truck seeing the Terminator arrive naked in a ball of lightning, the homeless man in the alley seeing Kyle, the Terminator approaching three punk rockers (none of them Bill Paxton) and demanding their clothes. Except then, all the sudden, there’s another, older Arnold Schwarzenegger there, attacking the young one, with the help of Sarah. And we learn that this is a different timeline, not the one from THE TERMINATOR that we and Reese expected. This older Arnold is a Terminator who was sent back to when Sarah was 9 to protect her and raise her. So she’s not a clueless waitress who he has to convince, she already knows about the future and her son and how to shoot guns and everything.

But I’m afraid that’s about the end of the cleverness in this depressingly ineffective, completely unnecessary, bullshit rehash. I was prepared to give it plenty of slack – despite the original movies being sacred ground to me I thought the lesser part 3 was enjoyable, and I probly have more nice things to say about TERMINATOR SALVATION than McG’s own mother – but my patience was already strained in the opening scene. Reese spends several minutes of voiceover explaining the premise of the TERMINATOR series over footage that would explain almost everything he says visually if he would just shut the fuck up. Then it goes right into that good part I was talking about, so it jumps from assuming that no one in the audience has seen or heard anything about a TERMINATOR movie, straight to assuming you are very familiar with the first one and will be excited to see visual references to it. So that’s their way of bridging between adult movie fans and the know-nothings that are allowed in because of the PG-13 rating: spend the first act alienating both.

This poster (which was too embarrassed to include the title) is the best thing about the movie
This poster (which was too proud to include the title) is the best thing about TERMINATOR GENISYS

Yeah, the voiceover is a reference to T2, but there Sarah explains the philosophy of the movie. Here Reese is just blowing hot air. At the end his voiceover is just to make sure you know that the happy ending that seems to wrap everything up doesn’t mean there won’t be a sequel.

It’s hard to rank, but probly the dumbest thing about TERMINATOR GENISYS is “Genisys,” which is a rebranding of Skynet. But now instead of a defense system it’s an app or OS or something that everyone is excited about because it will connect your phone, your car, your iPad and etc. all in one… thing, or whatever. You know, technology! This is why it had to be updated! Smart phones and everything! The finger is right on the fucking pulse, people.

Genisys has not been released yet, but it’s got the world more excited than any new video game or iPhone. We know because a guy at the hospital is super excited about it and a kid gets a pre-order of it for his birthday and is thrilled. What he will do with it is less clear than the fucking 3D head blender thing in BATMAN FOREVER. But the world is so ready for whatever it is that everywhere you look there are giant billboard-sized screens showing just a countdown to when it goes online.

Skynet, a strategic missile defense system that becomes self aware, was a logical idea that came out of the world and the fears of the ’80s. Something intended to protect us would inevitably turn against us. I’m sure at some point in the development of this story it was supposed to have something to do with data collection and electronic spying and what not, but maybe somebody else just thought it was about OS upgrades and iPads and apps and… I don’t know. Whatever the fuck Genisys is, it either got rewritten to the point of nonsense or was a first draft idea they forgot to continue with.

Let’s discuss the T-1000. That shit was amazing at the time because nothing had been done like that in movies. Those computer effects were brand new, so no one had had a liquid metal villain before, and we didn’t know how they could stop him. Then they stopped him, and they stopped the one in T3, and we went through 24 years of increasingly elaborate computer effects, and the best they can do now is change it to little nanites instead of liquid? Another morphing Terminator is a chump move. The trick is to come up with something else, totally different, that we haven’t seen before. Tall order, I know, but you’re the ones who wanted to make a sequel to two great James Cameron movies. If you thought it was gonna be a cake walk that’s on you.

The two legit TERMINATORs are about protecting the idea of John Connor, the great leader of the future who destroys the machines. But the sequels have struggled with what to do with him as a character. 3 did the best I guess, though a little bland from what I remember. SALVATION had an intense version in Christian Bale, but blew it by shoe-horning a bunch of scenes of him into a story that didn’t need him. They also abandoned a ballsy, controversial-when-leaked-by-Drew-McWeeny  ending that would’ve revealed that the great human leader of prophecy actually died and let his skin be worn by a good Terminator to keep the fight going. GENISYS sort of twists that into a much stupider, much less interesting version (spoiled in the trailers, TV ads and posters) where Skynet turns John into an evil morphing robot. So he’s just a bad guy. A much less scary version of the T-1000 that also takes breaks to be the genesis of Genisys by handing over future technology to Miles Dyson (now Courtney B. Vance) and his son (Dayo Okeniyi). Why do they think he’s giving it to them? Do they know he’s a future incarnation of the kid who stopped his mom from blowing up their family? Or did that even still happen? I have no idea.

And what is John, anyway? If he retained his human consciousness he’d probly just use his powers to fight the machines, right? So he must just be a machine with… some DNA mixed in? I guess it doesn’t matter. He’s an evil robot is the point. Reese says, “Whatever they did to John, we need to reverse it!” but then instead (SPOILER) they just kill their own son like they would any other evil robot. Oh well, they haven’t had him yet anyway. Who cares? Not them.

Maybe one thing that’s missing is the contrast. In T1 we have the innocent, aerobicizing waitress Sarah dragged into war by a soldier from the future. In T2 John is a little dirt-bike riding, ATM-hacking hellion, but it’s his kid qualities – telling the Terminator not to kill, teaching him dorky slang, having his feelings hurt by his mother – that contrast with the cold, tough, convincingly crazy, willing-to-murder-a-family Sarah. And the T-800 carries these qualities in one body, being an amoral killing machine learning to be a sweetheart. GENISYS gets its best moments by doing this with Pops, a robot she regards as a father, and who protects her like one (including from potential boyfriends). But this is his third time as a good guy, and he’s more of a side-lined character, and it’s a PG-13 movie, so they fail to sell the potential danger of the killing machine side.

There are too many laughable scenes in this one. Like when future Reese talks dreamily about a life that’s not about killing, which I simply do not believe is how a guy who blows up robots would describe his activities. I also could not maintain polite silence for the scene where Reese tells a young version of himself something he needs to know towards the beginning. They met this kid in a police station, when they were suspects, now they show up in his backyard, and he says “What are you doing here?” Yeah, exactly. It’s fuckin weird, strange adults. It took me a minute to remember why he even had to talk to himself, and I was not convinced it was important enough to even show in the movie, let alone have as the ending. It’s housecleaning, wasting time tying a loose end that I doubt anybody gives a shit about.

And there’s a sudden influx of jokes, mostly bad, in the second half. J.K. Simmons gets a few okay laughs in a small part as a cop who witnesses enough to believe them about the future.

I’m sure people will say that this is better than the last one. I’m not buying it. SALVATION is hugely flawed, and especially falls apart at the end. But it tries new things with the series, and it is cinematic. The cinematography and the action scenes are spectacular. There are some cool new robots introduced. The young Kyle Reese played by Anton Yelchin is a better young version of anybody than in this movie.

They also repeated one of the biggest mistakes of SALVATION. Of all the new additions they could’ve borrowed – the awesome riderless motorcycles, the spooky half-rotten early-model Terminator that stalks Reese in the abandoned city –  they go for the obviously stupid idea of giving Skynet a face and a voice. To be fair they probly didn’t see SALVATION, but if they had they would have a good illustration of how that adds nothing to the story but takes away the scary, faceless threat of cold machinery that you can’t look in the eye or have a debate with. This time Skynet takes human form in a little boy hologram who grows into some guy from a show that nerds like. It also gets a spokesperson in the form of John, explaining its motives all the time. Demystification double whammy!

They do borrow one good idea from SALVATION: the digital ’84 Schwarzenegger, one of the best gimmicks in either movie, and better executed than the similar gimmick in TRON LEGACY. I saw him in closeup, in 3D Imax, and I was convinced. It’s funny, the best looking parts in this $155 million movie are when they mimic scenes from the $6.4 million original. And I guess some of the hunter killers of the future look kinda cool flying around in 3D.

There’s alot of action, none of it offensively terrible, but none of it very thrilling either, which is a sin when you’re following up T2. The old Arnold vs. young Arnold fight is an exciting idea, fairly boring execution. The motorcycle and school bus chase has some moments, though none worked as well as the sequels they borrowed them from, THE MATRIX RELOADED and THE LOST WORLD: JURASSIC PARK.

Sometimes you forget how important TOTAL FUCKIN BADASSNESS is until it's gone.
Sometimes you forget how important TOTAL FUCKIN BADASSNESS is until it’s gone.

Maybe none of this would be a dealbreaker if the actors made us love the new versions of the characters as movie icons in their own right, but I’m afraid not. I kinda like Courtney, I’m a sucker for meathead movie stars I guess, but I’m not gonna claim he’s great, or reminiscent of Biehn in any noticeable way. Clarke has a much harder job, and she handles it better than I expected from the trailers. I guess I can see how she has something like a circa-T1 everygirl Linda Hamilton vibe. But since she’s supposed to have been trained for survival from the age of 9 – basically a younger version of the badass T2 Sarah Connor – it’s a total airball. Nothing against the lady, but they sent her to a war she’s not prepared to fight. She’s a birthday candle trying to outshine a spotlight.

Even the casting that’s dead on, like Byung-Hun Lee (I SAW THE DEVIL) as a T-1000, manages to be not all that satisfying. Yeah, he looks intense and his arms turn into blades, but without building up to it like Robert Patrick got to, following John all over town, pretending to be a legitimate police officer, revealing his abilities a piece at a time, it’s not as powerful.

Since I love old period Arnold it’s not surprising that he makes out the best, playing a Terminator with Jon Stewart hair and the occasional shakes. But with weaker characters to interact with and weaker dialogue he can’t help but pale in comparison to his previous T-performances.

So, the Terminator has lost his bite, the T-1000 isn’t scary, Skynet has been thrown in the trash, time travel has become easy, the violence has been general audienced, the main characters have been blandified, the story has become over-over-overcomplicated, and nobody has really made a convincing argument for continuing the story after part 2 anyway. But I think the thing that is most missing from T2 is a general feel of badassness. Not just in Hamilton’s buffer, tougher, meaner Sarah, but in the whole vibe of the movie. T2 may have helped birth the modern age of digital effects, but it’s mostly an analog movie. It’s a real dirtbike hauling ass with what looks like a kid driving it, getting chased by a real truck. It’s a real helicopter. You feel like you’re out in the heat with them, getting sweaty, getting dirty, getting knocked around and scraped up. I’m far from an anti-digital zealot, but it must be said that all this animation in this movie takes away even more of the punch. It’s too clean, too weightless, too much. It’s a problemo.

Director Alan Taylor did the movie PALOOKAVILLE in 1995, but most of his career has been TV shows including Homicide, Sex and the City, The Sopranos and Game of Thrones before getting hired for THOR: THE DARK WORLD. Of course I can only guess what kind of a stamp he put on these, but I worry about a trend of “franchise filmmaking” with producers or studios not wanting visionaries, but TV directors who will implement a pre-planned vision. So you end up with a guy that can’t fix the script by Laeta Kalogridis (PATHFINDER) & Patrick Lussier (DRACULA 2000 trilogy, Wes Craven’s editor), or even make it look really slick. It makes me appreciate all the commercial directors who graduate to features.

The more I think about this movie the less sense it makes and the more it kinda pisses me off. But congratulations to the TERMINATOR sequelizers for completing a trilogy of failed beginnings of new trilogies. They might keep trying to ruin these movies, but they will never succeed. They can rejigger the past as much as they want, they can travel back to the very genesis of THE TERMINATOR and then purposely spell it wrong. But they can never kill THE TERMINATOR and TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY. I still have them. I should go watch T2 now.

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.
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135 Responses to “Terminator Genisys [sic]”

  1. Crushinator Jones

    July 1st, 2015 at 1:25 pm

    Well, I’m sorry to hear that this new Terminator stinks but I’m honestly of the opinion that there’s really nothing left to do or say about this franchise after the magnificent T2. The machine learned why we cry and the good guys won. That’s it, there’s nothing else to do, it’s over. I don’t need to see the fucking Future War (I got it in that Terminator arcade game) and I don’t need to find out that SKYNET LIVES and we have to stop him again, guys. It’s done. We don’t need more Terminator movies and honestly everything the first two movies don’t cover is best left to our imaginations.

  2. they absolutely will not stop. EVER. until this series is dead.

  3. What he will do with it is less clear than the fucking 3D head blender thing in BATMAN FOREVER. But the world is so ready for whatever it is that everywhere you look there are giant billboard-sized screens showing just a countdown to when it goes online.

    So the Apple Watch.

    But congratulations to the TERMINATOR sequelizers for completing a trilogy of failed beginnings of new trilogies. They might keep trying to ruin these movies, but they will never succeed.

    Just as a complete fantasy wish: Cameron comes back and does T3.

    I know he kept saying “T3 not with me” over and over again on the T2 set, but that’s the point: he knocked it out of the ballpark even while getting impatient and feeling tedious! The guy is a cinema god.

    Let’s hope when he gets all the Avatarses (trademarked grammar style ripped off from outlawvern.com) out of his system someone whispers in his ear and… after all these years he goes “yeah, sure what the heck.”

    One can dream.

  4. Epic stuff, Vern. I had pretty much zero interest in this and your stellar takedown has just managed to make it less than zero.

    Sounds like it’s every bit as dull, slick, uninspired and cynical as I had dreaded.

    Those photos really sum up what is wrong with shit like this: bland and ball-less.

    (Seriously, what the fuck is she even doing in that bottom right-hand pic?)

    Ah well, as Vern says, we’ll always have T1 & T2. Anything else is just gravy. And by “gravy” I mean liquid shit.

  5. I feel dirty even saying this but…I liked it. The jokes were lame, the special effects were okay, and the story maybe makes a little sense if you disregard all the other movies except the first one. I don’t know, I kind of just took its word for it most of the time, but I bought the basic situations of the script and thought the actors pulled off the drama better than I expected. I expected to totally hate it–I only saw it because I had a free pass I got for being a total hero and getting a disruptive drunk ejected from the 40th anniversary screening of JAWS–but shit, I’d be a lyin’ motherfucker if I didn’t admit that I had a good time. It’s just a wacky little what-if story. It doesn’t need to stand next to the good TERMINATORS. That stopped being an option the first time Arnold talked to the hand. Since then it’s been incidental thrills and far fetched ideas. These thrills were less incidental and farther fetched than the other two fanfic sequels. For a movie with no compelling reason to exist, it’s not bad.

    I’m also happy to know that I can go into a movie with a completely negative mindset and not be so set in my ways that I can’t change my mind if the movie deserves it. That’s good to know with these fuckin’ fake new STAR WARSes coming up.

  6. I feel like it’s been a while since we got good Slam by Vern, so in that respect, I’m thrilled that this happened. However, it’s pretty sad they had to churn out another piece of garbage with the Terminator name on it. Why can’t we (finally) have a movie about adult John Conner assembling a crew and fighting robots in the future?????? Enough traveling back to the past, enough new characters/terminators- these jokers are sitting on a pile of gold that I am confident an imaginative ten year old could make badass and yet, here we are again, broken down at Shit Station with a bunch of dumbass plot twists and “hot, young actors” providing vanilla takes on what could have been so simple

  7. Gonna catch it on Sunday. Gonna make sure to be buzzed and high as fuck before going in but nevertheless.

  8. Henry Swanson's my name

    July 1st, 2015 at 2:28 pm

    I was hoping that the twist being revealed in the trailer meant they had way more up their sleeve, but then the director came out saying the studio made that call because they wanted to show how different this sequel was – something the director wasn’t behind… this is probably something he shouldn’t be saying just yet in my opinion, as it makes me want to see this film even less than I already did.

    I was going to say: “Can someone please just go back to basics with this franchise, make Arnold the bad guy again and make it R rated.” But then I think back to sequels that tried to stick to the R-rated-basics (Predators, um, is there another?) and it’s still not enough. The film needs to have a legitimate reason to exist. There must be a new story to tell with some really inventive, clever shit going on (and less of a reliance on shitty CGI). But it seems like no one has the brains to come up with this sort of stuff anymore.

    It’s kind of depressing really.

  9. Ugh, this one has pretty much a full house of things that make me never want to see a franchise movie again. Let’s review:

    *Undistinguished TV director with one indie movie under his belt, hired specifically to keep his mouth shuts and do what the suits tell him on time.

    *Cast of generic pretty TV stars who aren’t in a position to throw their weight around and will work for scale instead of points, headed by an aging star who is inserted purely for nostalgic value.

    *Truckloads of money spent having computer guys meticulously create photo-realistic cartoons of something which could mostly have been done practically for half the cost, thereby eliminating any possibility for spontaneity, imagination, or good old-fashioned macho one-upsmanship, (and as a side note ensuring that the entire cast and most of the crew are totally divorced from the spectacle part of the movie, which is being made somewhere else by faceless nerds they will never see).

    *Nth sequel in a long line of naked cash grab sequels desperately grasping for a reason to extend a story which already ended definitively and naturally in every conceivable aspect several films ago.

    *Nth sequel in a long line of naked cash grab sequels attempting to hide its utter poverty of imagination and reason for existence by piling on a bunch of convoluted meta crapola which is superficially too complicated to enjoy and yet contributes nothing meaningfully emotionally or thematically.

    *Script re-written from another script re-written from god knows how many previous attempts, all incorporating the debris from previous scripts where it once made sense but is now globbed on to the final project as a meaningless, rotting zombie parts, crowding out any hope for a coherent narrative to appear.

    *A PG-13 sequel to an R-rated movie which has no reason to exist other than to reference the beloved original, and yet doesn’t dare take any of the risks which actually made the original great because there’s too much money at stake and the kids might think it’s uncool if they see anything other than exactly what they already expected.

    In other words, it’s over. I’m done. I’m not giving these fuckers my money until they stop blatantly advertising that they have no interest whatsoever in making something worthwhile.

  10. I’m just seeing it cause it’s with my bud who I also watched SALVATION with (we both hated it BTW) but we grew up with Arnold (he still has the John Matrix action figure) and are big fans of TERMINATOR through the ups and downs. We know it will likely be the most generic type of trash imaginable but it’s only 8 bucks and a bottle of malibu rum with some large cokes and shit split between the two of us. It’s not too bad.

  11. @Mr. Majestyk – Your comment is a timely reminder that any of us, no matter how bad our personal situation is, can overcome adversity with the right attitude. I’m truly happy for you man.

  12. “Why can’t we (finally) have a movie about adult John Conner assembling a crew and fighting robots in the future??????”
    Because that’s honestly not what people think of TERMINATOR movies as. And since Vern says that giving Skynet a face is a mistake, then the movie would just be a bunch of people fighting faceless identical drone robots and maybe a few T-800s or T-1000s as final bosses, and how interesting would THAT really be? Never mind the fact that if it’s set in that time period, the humans aren’t at the disadvantage they are in the present with their inferior weapons.

  13. Last sentence nails it! My thought this whole review was “Ooh I should watch T2 tonight”

  14. Thanks, Tim. I’m really much happier being the only guy who likes a movie than the only guy who hates it.

  15. Ramdy – TOTALLY man, I thought that was supposed to be where things were headed with T3, but I think TS kinda spoiled that notion. At least until the next reboot (2018, with Shia Lebouf as Sarah Connor)

  16. @Stu – Yup, I honestly think a full-on future war movie just would not be all that interesting in the least (Salvation certainly helped prove that for me).

    It’s backstory. The most interesting part of it IS that Skynet had a time-travel contingency plan. I chalk up the Terminator future war up there with the Clone Wars and seeing a young Bruce Wayne training to become Batman – things I keep seeing people stating they want to see (and have in the Clone Wars’ case) that aren’t actually all that interesting or compelling. They’re just the backstory that gets us to the point where the story’s actually interesting. That said, I hope this upcoming Rogue One see-how-the-Rebels-got-the-Death-Star-plans movie proves me wrong.

    As for this movie, can’t say I disagree too much with this review. But I had fun watching Arnold having fun.

  17. The Original Paul

    July 1st, 2015 at 4:59 pm

    As someone who has watched each of the first three TERMINATOR movies (and yeah, I know T3 wasn’t a “Terminator movie” in the classic sense, but it’s at least endearingly stupid) at least half a dozen times each… I think I’m gonna wait until this one comes on TV. That won’t stop this movie from making a bajillion dollars at the box office of course.

    (I said the same thing about SALVATION and I’ve still not seen it. But I get the impression I’m really not missing that much.)

    That chase scene in RELOADED was the most impressive part of the movie by miles, wasn’t it? Aside from the two psychic albino ghost rastafarians who keep finishing each others’ sentences. (“We are completely pointless.” “Yes we are.”) But other than those two nitwits, it was a pretty excellent chase. Although possibly outdone by the hijacked-crane-and-police-cars in T3. Man, if the chase in GENYSYS or however the fuck it’s spelt is that much worse than RELOADED, I don’t even want to think about how it compares to T3’s.

  18. “What he will do with it is less clear than the fucking 3D head blender thing in BATMAN FOREVER. ”

    Thank you for this

  19. The Original Paul

    July 1st, 2015 at 6:34 pm

    Actually I think the 3D head blender thing is a perfect metaphor for / representation of the way we increasingly live our lives in public, hooked up to the web, posting our most private thoughts out there for everyone to – ah, fuck it, that’s a stretch even for me.

    Respect the 3D head blender thing. I’ve got mine due to arrive from Amazon.co.uk in two days’ time.

  20. So Genisys is basically Woof from the American WOOF?

  21. American OFFICE I mean, doh!

  22. First off, has it really been 6 years already since SALVATION? That’s the same span of time from T1 to T2 and T3 to SALVATION, which I remember when sitting down to watch SALVATION thinking it had been a long time since RISE OF THE MACHINES and yet we are again all of a sudden.

    But anyway, remember how lame RISE OF THE MACHINES seemed at the time? And while it’s still not a great movie it seems like a masterpiece compared to GENISYS, this one seems like it’s truly just a bunch of people who no idea how to actually make another Terminator movie and decided to just go with whatever first came to mind, I’m glad I’ve decided to skip it altogether.

  23. On the subject of Taylor, I remember being baffled in the lead up to THOR 2 that so many were thinking it would beat the spots off Branagh’s predecessor because this guy “who directed some of the best GAME OF THRONES!” was doing it. It seemed like an obvious “get a guy who’ll do what we say” bow to me, and I think the film suggests that was true. With no disrespect intended to people who do a job I would love to have, there are reasons TV writers are generally better known than directors. A lot of the kind of fanboys who thought AGE OF ULTRON raped their eyeballs or whatever seem to consider the YOU, ME & DUPREE brothers to be some kind of visionaries because of WINTER SOLDIER.

  24. Are you daring me to tell you to watch it, Griff? I can’t do that. But if you did, maybe you would like it. If you call it bad without having seen it you’re not really being honest, and you’re disrespecting the brave sacrifice of those of us who did see it.

  25. Well, I’m with Majestyk’s. Maybe I’m just sentimental because this Terminato5 thread is where I got my name. I can’t disagree with anything Vern said though. Cgi helicopter was the worst. And the credits Easter egg basically says FU this whole movie was pointless.

    Missed opportunity: sarah Connor now emotionally Attached to a t-800. Not explored in contrast to O.G. Sarah’s anti t-800 sentiments.

    But tvs the sarah Connor chronicles showed there is still good story to tell in this world. Here, the best parts are still from James Cameron but I enjoyed some of the repositioning of them. It lost me a little more in the second half.

  26. The Sarah Connor Chronicles has the best Terminator material since T2.

    Vern, even the T-1000 effects are better than what we got in HENISYS.

    Check out this Clip.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQ3fd5wbU7M

  27. PacMan, don’t underestimate the talent and importance of good TV directors. Yes, those guys are pretty much guns for hire, who have to work fast, on budget and have to make it look like every other episode of the respective show, but when an episode stands out, it’s not always because of the script alone. If the director has no idea how to handle the performances and important moments, nobody will care.

    Which is why I give someone who directed “Some of the best episodes of GAME OF THRONES” a lot of credit. GOT is one of the most convoluted messes that ever came across my eyeballs and everybody who manages to turn it at least for one hour into something that isn’t a super frustrating waste of my time, is a talented director, who should work on the big screen!

    I mean, even if THOR 2 is one of my least favourite MCU movies, can you imagine how much worse it would have been if someone less talented had directed it?

  28. I’m with Majestyk, I kind of liked this. And my 11 year old son fucking loved it!

  29. Vern – no, I am not looking for an excuse to see this, I really don’t want to see it, I hated SALVATION and can tell I’d probably hate this one, it doesn’t surprise me that it’s directed by a TV guy because that’s exactly what it looks like, an episode of a TV show, it just has this kind of bland look to it, TERMINATOR used to be the absolute gold standard of action sci fi and it’s sad to see it reduced to this afterthought of a movie.

  30. Also, does anyone else think Hollywood uses CGI for everything these days because it’s simply easier even if it’s more expensive? (or at least easy from the director’s and producer’s perspective, not the sad sacks who have to actually create the CGI).

  31. is it just me or does the sarah conner chick look 12 years old? when i saw the trailer i thought she was supposed to be an even younger sarah conner who time traveled forward to meet reese… also due to the actor muscle arms race the guy playing reese looks almost as jacked as arnold did in the original. weird.

  32. I’m a little confused about the Genisys app. Do they leave the 1980s at some point? Or is the app thing just explained as background information? This doesn’t make sense to me.

    I kind of hope this film does well at the box office, just so we can get that King Conan movie.

  33. The bulk of the story takes place in 2017. For reasons.

  34. So even strong 80s nostalgia isn’t enough of a reason to watch the movie.

  35. The Original Paul

    July 2nd, 2015 at 7:27 am

    I never got the “nostalgia” argument. I mean, we’re talking about nostalgia for an original movie that:

    – Wasn’t made by the same people as the ones who made this.
    – Wasn’t written by the same person as the one who wrote this.
    – Wasn’t directed by the same person as the one who directed this.
    – Didn’t, for the most part, star the same actors as the ones who star in this.
    – Isn’t, by any available evidence, particularly revered or even respected by anybody involved in the making of this.

    I mean, surely nostalgia would teach you to avoid this film, not go see it anyway, unless it had really good reviews? That’s what I would do (and have done). The only time I’ve gone to see a cash-in like this was the THE THING prequel starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead. Which I enjoyed, although it’s not a patch on the John Carpenter version. I mean, for that specific genre only, I guess I’m “that guy” who’ll see anything, no matter how bad, and there must be plenty of other “that guys” for movies like this. So I get that there’ll be a minority of people who will see it regardless. But why so many? The producers obviously expect this thing to make gazillions, and they’ll probably turn out to be right.

  36. The Original Paul

    July 2nd, 2015 at 7:30 am

    To answer my own question, I guess that anything with the TERMINATOR brand is better than nothing at all. Or that’s how a lot of people must see it.

    It’s not how I see it, but I’m me.

  37. I had set my expectations as low as humanly possible, but still ended up totally hating Terminator Genisys. I mean, what the fuck!? The plot is so shoddily pieced together I have a hard time believing there ever was such a thing as a “first draft” – more like a quick outline made by a drunk person. Almost every single plot point is completely nonsensical, just spawning a bunch of questions the film never bothers to even try to answer. Like, did they ever even broach the implications of Sarah and Kyle traveling forwards in time from 1984 to 2017, totally skipping the part in time when they’re supposed to conceive John, the future savior of humanity? And while traveling forwards in time to stop Skynet is stupid enough, why travel to ONE day before Judgment Day’s supposed to happen? At least they could have given themselves a week!

    Anyway, does anyone remember a fan script for Terminator 3 floating around the web from before Rise of the Machines (this would be at least before 2001, I think)? I don’t know why I still remember it, because I never even bothered to read it beyond the first few pages, but I remember it having a similar concept as Terminator Genisys, where they “Back to the Future 2”-ed the events of a previous film (Terminator 2 in this case, if I remember correctly). Does anyone remember it and did you happen to read the whole thing? Just curious.

  38. Tobias: I did not think of that. I tried not to get too attached to any of the plot logistics because I knew it would just piss me off. What I liked was not the believability of the situations but the new light into which those situations cast the emotions and motivations of our characters. I liked our central trio–and John, too, before he got turned into Standard Issue Big Bad–and I liked the complications brought into the straightforward relationships set up by the previous movies. I mean, in every conceivable way, the changes to Cameron’s storyline are inferior. But I’m not looking at this movie as canon. You know those Elseworlds comics DC used to put out? “What if Batman was a vampire?” “What if Superman had landed in the Soviet Union?” “What if the Flash had diabetes?”* They were interesting storytelling exercises but nobody ever wanted them to replace the real thing. That goes double for GENESYS because I’m pretty sure it implies that T2 never happened, which is not a world I want to live in. But I’ll visit it for a couple hours as long as it treats its characters and situations kind of seriously and delivers some decent action.

    *Never really read The Flash, please disregard.

  39. I will likely not see this movie in the theaters, but I will definitely check it out when it comes out on DVD/streaming. In general, I always prefer for a film series to end, so that everything has a neat, tidy bow. This is more true of some series than others. I was happy to see that Zemeckis recently said that there will be no more Back to the Future movies so long as he’s still alive. (There is one caveat: I don’t mind visiting these same worlds in other mediums, like comic books and video games). But I’m still really curious whenever a new version of an old favorite comes out. Like most people, I never really enjoyed the Terminator films past the second one (although, I thought Salvation had some potential). Secretly, I guess I’m still hoping that they will figure out how to tell a great story in this world. In the end, I think all of us have that Franchise Fred mentality hidden deep down.

  40. I’m glad other people are enjoying it too but I still feel like I’ve let Vern down. He named me Franchise Fred because of this movie and it seems it didn’t live up to my ideal of justifying continuing sequels.

    I guess I just have enough good will. I feel like the writers and filmmakers were trying sincerely and I like the revisionist stuff to go with it. Admittedly, that’s fan service and there’s a whole larger audience for whom good will won’t be enough. For me the worst part was the cgi helicopter.

  41. Yeah, that was the worst CGI helicopter I’ve seen since WHO KILLED CAPTAIN ALEX?

  42. Mr. Majestyk: I know the “What If”-stories you’re talking about, and I think that’s a very healthy approach you have to this movie. Whether I want to or not I’m gonna have to try to see it the same way. It really sucks though, because against my better judgement, I was really rooting for T5, with Arnold returning and all.

    I had a pretty lukewarm response to T3 (obviously it looks a lot better now in hindsight), but when squinting you can still kind of consider it canon. `Judgment Day was not stopped, it was merely pushed back´ was more or less the only serious deviation from what had been established previously (some casting changes aside). Even Terminator Salvation, while having a pretty moronic script (that Skynet masterplan to catch Kyle Reese to bait John Connor, *shudder*), was on the whole still in line with what had been established. I admit, while pretty much hating Salvation (now merely the second worst Terminator-movie in my opinion), some part of me was still looking forward to these movies closing the time-loop. That would in my mind have been a serious worthwhile homage – it would have fed into the nostalgia while still being “new” while still being in canon. Well there goes that. Nice one, Terminator Genisys, you had ONE job! Half of that script would have already been written for you, but nooo, you had to go bite off way more than you could chew.

    This movie really bummed me out.

  43. Ace Mac Ashbrook

    July 2nd, 2015 at 11:07 am

    So skynet becomes Genisys, which is basically a cloud based Bluetooth and takes over the world? That’s awful.

    That’d be weak for a shitty Doctor Who episode.

    And everything that happens that’s different from the first movie, cancels out the first movie. Thus cancelling the second, then the others and hopefully ends up eating into its own shitty film and then truly ending itself.

    And James Cameron backed this shit wholeheartedly. So he’s fucked too.

    Thank fuck we got Mad Max back.

  44. flyingguillotine

    July 2nd, 2015 at 11:18 am

    The one thing that has truly impressed me about this film is the work Arnold is doing to promote it. The man is a consummate professional.

  45. Ace – “And James Cameron backed this shit wholeheartedly.”

    Anybody who truly thought he was speaking genuinely is pretty naive.

    This is the same James Cameron who once also co-signed T3 (which I enjoy so I’m not trying to slight it personally just being objective because it generally gets a bad rap) and also said he enjoyed ALIEN VS. PREDATOR (which I never saw but everybody hates). Only to turn around and go back on his word both times.

    The man is just a loyal professional who doesn’t throw his filmmaking peers (in this case GAME OF THRONES Guy) or his friends (like Arnold) under the bus. I’m a lifetime fan of the man as a director but I don’t take his opinions on sequels to any franchise he worked in seriously because he tends to flip flop. Why should he care anyway? 2019 his baby is back in his hands and he gets to put it out to rest and let the sleeping dog lie once and for all.

  46. Jim takes care of his people. Arnold is in this thanks in part to him.

    “… My goal in that was not to insinuate myself artistically but to try to make sure they stayed true to the Terminator character and the idea of Arnold being in it. Because he’s a friend of mine and we’ve been through all the wars together and everything. And I wanted them to see the possibilities I saw for what they could do with this character.

    And then David Ellison took the project over from Megan and he and I met a couple times. And so Arnold is very much front and center in the new Terminator films. So I might have had some tiny effect on it — but obviously they had to make the right financial and creative decisions themselves so I’m not trying to take credit for the film that they’re making but that was my goal in being loosely attached to the film but I won’t have any credit on it.” – James Cameron on TERMINATOR OF THRONES

  47. TERMINATOR SALVATION actually deviated a lot from what was established. One of my biggest beefs with it back when it came out was how it non chalantly went back on so much shit from T3 but then they still felt like “hey man let’s keep Katherine Brewster”. What’s even worse is that it was the same writers from T3 who decided on this. Man that movie sucked.

  48. Hey Terminator 5! I liked it!
    (Even though its cheap-looking, pointless, toothless, and confusing as hell)

  49. Broddie: From what I remember from Terminator Salvation there were only some “surface details” that contradicted what had come before, like how Kyle Reese tells Sarah in the original Terminator how the resistance fighters in the future move around at night and stay hidden during the day, while the exact opposite is stated in Salvation (which mirrors that film’s curious decision to excise the iconic night time skull-ridden landscape imagery). Stuff like that. And obviously the time table for emergence of the T-800 model Terminator, but as far as I can remember that was justified in story somehow. I honestly don’t see how Katherine Brewster, by including her as a character, deviates from the original movies in any way – but I’ve only seen Salvation once and the last time I saw T3 was a couple of years ago, so my memory might definitely be fuzzy here. Not trying to challenge you in anyway, but I’m definitely curious if I’ve missed something.

  50. Tobias I haven’t seen SALVATION since the cinema so my memory is as fuzzy as yours regarding it. I do distinctly remember that aspect (including the bit you mentioned about Reese and other contradictions) being one of my pet peeves with it though.

  51. re: Katherine Brewster: Of course she was a new character, but did including her contradict something from T1 & T2? (Felt I needed to rephrase that)

  52. Oh and what I meant was the movie contradicts elements from T3 including what it stated about Connor and his lieutenants but then decides to grab one of the biggest franchise contributions that movie made anyway. (that of John Connor’s second in command wife). Like it wanted to have it’s cake and eat it too. Not that including Katherine Brewster herself deviates from the original movies. Obviously not since she was established in one of the original movies. T

  53. Broddie: Well, Terminator Salvation is a movie best forgotten anyway. It was really odd though how they used hardly anything of Cameron’s future imagery. Wouldn’t that have been a big draw for the movie? I mean, wasn’t that “future war”-concept something that was meant to entice long-time fans in the first place?

    Stuff like this is really so odd to me. Like, on some level, the filmmakers have to state, then restate, and then underline how big fans they are of the original movies (take Terminator Genisys’ first act and its entire trailer for example: total fan service-y pandering garbage) and then use the majority of their film’s running time demonstrating how little they understand about what made the first two movies so great. I can’t for the life of me understand where the makers of Terminator Genisys got the idea that fans like to see the character of the terminator be made into a comic relief character in almost every scene he’s in. They seriously didn’t bother to look at how he’s portrayed at all in T1 & T2.

  54. I don’t get why they didn’t pay more attention to Cameron’s future aesthetic either. As polished as the opening of T3 seemed by comparison it at least retained a lot of the elements from Cameron’s future to give it some type of consistency. SALVATION was such a weird experiment on every level. It’s almost like they deliberately sought out to get nothing right. Even their kick ass concepts (giant terminator and robocycles) were undersold.

  55. CJ Holden- yes, quite right, and I wasn’t sure about posting that because I suspected I would be accidentally disparaging some very talented people with a job I’m sure most of us here would love to be able to aspire to. But it’ll take a few good films before I get excited by the prospect of an Alan Taylor joint.

  56. Well, at least the credits look good at the closing of the move. I was overwhelmed with a feeling of hope as I was finally set free.

  57. Crushinator Jones

    July 2nd, 2015 at 3:59 pm

    Broddie, it’s because this is absolutely intellectually bankrupt. They just went for the cheapest, easiest shit. Gonna get a little histrionic here because I fucking hate this shit.

    The first problem is the dire casting. Whoever cast this movie fucked up at stage one.

    How does anyone look at Jai Courtney and think “yes this is an equivalent to Michael Beihn, a guy who excelled at playing a particular archetype. Let’s put him in our movie.” Courtney has not always been terrible, I heard he was pretty good in certain things but I don’t know what has happened to the guy, he seems incapable of projecting a single gram of empathy or charisma in the last five years. He is, flatly, not leading man material and horrendous in this.

    Emilia Clarke, looks kinda like Linda Hamilton but has a very “doll”-like energy that doesn’t work here. Yes, she is very beautiful. Yes, she works on Game of Thrones. But like Vern says doesn’t come close to projecting the strength and grit of T2’s Sarah Connor. She’s like a little girl wearing mom’s clothes. More terrible casting.

    Matt Smith – terrible nerd pandering shit. Does nothing. Could have been anyone.

    Lee Byung-hun- about half as good as Robert Patrick when he needs to be 5x as good (impossible btw) because we’ve already seen this character and it’s booooooooring.

    Even when they got the casting or the effects right the script is hot garbage.

    Jason Clarke – does the best he can with a nothing role. A dumb plot twist that should have been thrown out with the first draft.

    Arnold vs. Arnold – amazing effects, nailed the 1984 Terminator look, 100% doesn’t matter because it’s over in a flash and we’re off to a bunch of nonsense.

    Genesys -just a stupid fucking unbelievably bad dumb concept that doesn’t seem real and is just head-smackingly stupid.

    The entire timelines thing – OMG fuck off with this. It’s garbage thematically. So tired of sequels that shit all over the predecessors. You would think the huge backlash to Alien 3 would have warned Hollywood off from this but nope! Gotta make a sequel that completely nullifies the shit that happened in the prior movies, cool!

    The ending – unbelievably lazy and boneheaded to just stick a random “they didn’t win, see you in the sequels” post-movie teaser scene in there. Fuck you Terminator Genesys for doing this. You lazy Marvel-copying hacks. I hate these fucking sequences. I hated them in Spider-Man and I hate them here. It is my sincere hope that Zack Snyder sticks to his guns and never, Never, NEVER puts these credit carbuncles into his DC movies. THEY ARE SHIT. You know what I want to see? I want to see a short film where a guy takes a shit, just a guy taking a shit for like 4 minutes, a real bowl-shattering toilet python, a real rough ride, with a soundtrack full of gravitas and the camera spinning around the guy Michael Bay-style while he moans and writhes. At the end he will wipe his ass and flushes and then the credits roll. BUT WAIT partway through the credits it cuts back to the guy, and he’s still on the toilet all sweaty and recovering, maybe his head is between his knees and it’s very still and suddenly we hear a small plop in the bowl and he looks at the camera and smiles. Maybe then people would figure out how fucking bogus these scenes are.

    Anyway sorry to get sidetracked from my main point, which is: fuck this lazy stupid pandering film.

  58. ThePinkServbot

    July 2nd, 2015 at 5:02 pm

    Hey, did ya’ll know Terminator is back on Netflix?

    Just FYIIIIIIII!

  59. I just discovered that, PinkServbot! Both 1 & 2 are there. I just finished 1 and think I’ll watch 2 tomorrow & probably skip this one. Unless the heat drives me to a theater (I’ve already watched everything else that’s out that I’m interested in).

  60. Crushinator, I don’t know what this ALIENS 3 is that you speak of because that movie doesn’t exist. It must be something from the fucked up timeline hijinks of this movie, right?

  61. Crushinator, that short film pitch of yours cracked me up. Like the first time I heard what an upper decker was. Sometimes it’s the scatalogical that breaks me.

  62. Huh, is T2 up there? I can’t get it to come up for some reason. I’m in the US, myself.

  63. Wouldn’t any film about the future war essentially just be the real-life parts of THE MATRIXes, only with added endoskeleton armies? How about a crossover?

    Maybe NONE of the TERMINATOR films actually happened – they were all simulations, part of the Matrix. Neo’s ghost unplugs Sarah from her nightmarish, increasingly nonsensical, time-skipping simulated life and tasks her with battling the machines together with her son John (created by the nefarious machine hive-mind by mixing her and Reese’s DNA in a test tube, obvs. Why? Reasons). They win some kind of uncertain victory over the SKYNATRIX. Then, in the sequel, aliens show up and threaten the planet, requiring the Connors and the machines to buddy up and kick their asses. In the end, one Arnold-looking Terminator sacrifices himself to save them all. He says he’ll be back. I can already feel the tears coming, you guys.

    You know what’d make it even more meta? If Sarah called Arnold “Matrix” at some point. Because…exactly.

  64. My Terminator Sequel idea —

    A Terminator is sent back in time to protect Dyson from a human who has come back in time to kill him. Dyson and his T-1000 protector hit the road, seeming staying only one step ahead of this human enemy. Massive action scenes tear Los Angeles apart.

    What Dyson doesn’t know is that, along the escape route are various points of importance to Skynet’s final battle with John Connor.

    We intercut between the present day and the future war and see that the T-1000s actions are literally tearing the timeline apart. John’s teammates are disappearing in a flash. The essential tunnel they need to enter Skynet’s headquarters suddenly no longer exists. And the soldiers are aware of the changing timeline as it happens. Eventually, space-time begins to literally tear to shreds.

    In the end, Dyson survives. The T-1000 gives him ‘essential files to protect America’ and we discover that John Connor’s ‘final assault on Skynet’ is basically a game of Spy Hunter on arcade mode. He is perpetually stuck on this ‘last mission’ with things shifting and resetting all around him. Like a cyberpunk sisyphus wandering through the desert for 40 years.

    Begin in media res and end in media res.

    —-
    Alternately —

    We discover that the Sarah Connor cycle has been repeating 1000s of times over and the ultimate ‘reveal’ is that Humans from the future inserted Skynet into the past purposefully because humanity is better as a species with a Skynet than we are if we live in peace and prosperity. Im a long period of peace, humanity basically gives up and just dies with the planet as resources run out. Sending skynet back in time galvanizes the human will to live and prepares us for leaving earth behind and colonizing other planets. Without the great struggle, humanity is too soft to survive the arduous journey.

    —-

    In summary, Terminator 3, 4 and 5 were fucked from the getgo.

  65. Also —

    Alien Vs Terminator

    We open on a lush jungle. A blue ball of energy appears, delivering a human soldier from the future. The soldier quickly gets to work, cutting into her own belly and retrieving a set of tools sewn inside her torso. . After some quick amateur surgery, the soldier enters a subterranean temple where she delivers tools to seemingly random locations. Then, out of nowhere, a chestburster is born, killing her.

    Now, we just forward to 2029 where we meet up with John Connor. Just as he learns of a mysterious chamber hidden beneath Skynet’s headquarters. John and his elite squad embark suicide mission. One of the soldiers is Lydia Black – the woman from the prologue. The soldiers fight their way through the wasteland 2029, losing several members, before gaining access a long-forgotten passage leading down to the mysterious chamber.

    Inside the chamber – which we now recognize as the location from the opening – the soldiers expect to find a massive, unguarded power plant that fuels all of Skynet’s functions. Destroy the power source, destroy Skynet. Unfortunately, what the find instead is a horseshoe spaceship closely resembling the one from LV-422, (They don’t know what it is, of course.) Skynet built its’ central hub directly on top of this alien crash site because the ship’s fission energy cell is the only thing on Earth with enough juice to power the time displacement device. (Alternately, Skynet reverse engineered the TDD from the ship’s lightspeed engine).

    The soldiers work their way through the decrepit ship, looking for the exact right place set their explosives. They inadvertently unlock a section of the ship where live Xenomorphs, including a Queen, have been held in isolation for all of human history. In order to survive, the Xenomorphs began infecting other Xenomorphs with facehuggers. The result is a vicious and deformed breed that’s meaner, dumber, more violent. They also go from chestburster to full-size in under 10 minutes. And since they are inbred, they’re prone to leaking acid everywhere.

    The soldiers do battle with the inbred-Xenomorphs and manage to lock them into different sectors of the ship. But the mission was a one way ticket and it is already lost. They don’t have enough soldiers left to execute the plan. And they lost most of their explosives. But, upon noting how many of the Xenomorphs are hemophiliacs, John devises a final stand.

    The remaining soldiers knowingly infect themselves with facehuggers, then battle their way up to the surface and Skynet’s CPU. Along the way, they begin to discover essential items at exactly the right moment. Before long, they realize that one of the soldiers in the crew will eventually travel through time to leave the tools. They don’t know who or why, yet. Lydia is the one who figures it out first… she’s going to be the one who heads back in time because the Aliens seem deferential to her, like she were the alien Queen. In truth, the chestburster she unleashed in the temple/ship during the prologue is the root cause of the inbred xenomorphs.

    the human rebels plan on using the chestbursters as suicide bombs to be delivered straight into the Skynet CPU. Most of the Xenos are hemophiliacs, so the creature’s blood could be enough to shut down the computer. Especially if you deliver two of them into the same area. (They’re dumber and more violent, like I said).

    In the end, the soldiers reach the CPU and give ‘birth.’ the hemophiliac Xenos do battle inside the computer room and seriously fuck shit up. Since John Connor is going to die during this mission, maybe the heroes send a couple of T-800s back in time during act II-B to keep the timeline consistent. I also had an outline where they get he inbred-xenos to chase them through the Alien ship and up into Skynet. We don’t even know about the chestburster situation until John gives ‘birth.’ In the very end, Lydia Black heads back to the cretaceous period to drop off all the tools they used earlier.

    The final stinger would be something like, Skynet is still online, but now being aware of ‘the perfect killing machine’ it decides to switch tactics.

  66. Tawdry Hepburn

    July 5th, 2015 at 6:06 am

    Jeez, I need to stop writing long posts on my cell. #editing

  67. I don’t really understand such things, but looking at the box office it seems like this probably hasn’t done enough to be the new trilogy starter they were clearly hoping for.

    I feel bad ‘cos I seldom root for things to fail – and certainly not things that have Arnie in them – but I can’t help but feel a little relieved here.

    I’m guessing the possible way forward now for the franchise is with Cameron himself when he gets the rights back in a few years?

  68. The Original Paul

    July 6th, 2015 at 4:36 am

    I think the moral of the story seems to be, don’t cast Jai Courtney in the fifth installment of film franchises.

    (Yeah, I haven’t seen DIE HARD 5: NOW WE’RE JUST USING THE NAME at all, ’cause the Internet seems to have collectively come to an agreement that it’s worse than Hitler, but the logic seems to hold up. No?)

  69. I’m one of the only people who liked this goofy piece of shit and even I have no interest in seeing a sequel to it.

  70. The Original Paul

    July 6th, 2015 at 4:56 am

    And while we’re on the subject of alternative Terminator movies, let me suggest this one:

    SARAH CONNOR (the Indie movie version).

    This one-room drama takes place entirely in the state hospital for the criminally insane. When Sarah Connor (Emilie de Ravin) ‘s crazy stalker (shown in a single cameo appearance by MMA fighter Tait Fletcher) kills her boyfriend Kyle (Ben Foster) before dying in a horrible industrial accident, Sarah’s psyche cracks and she becomes convinced that the stalker is in fact a robot from the future, here to bring about the apocalypse by killing her unborn son, the only man who can stop it. A chilling account of one woman’s insanity, seen from the point of view of her doctor (Bradley Whitford), the alcoholic detective who investigated her case (Iain Glen) and a kindly janitor (Nicholas Bredon), SARAH CONNOR is an insightful and thought-provoking look at how different minds can perceive the same events in completely different ways.

  71. I’d be cool with Courtney coming back for DIE HARD TICKET TO HAWAII, though.

  72. Would DIE HARD TICKET TO HAWAII feature Temuera Morrison as the big bad trying to show those McClane haoles what’s what?
    I bet those creative Hollywood types would know just the guy to play the local cop who has to grudgingly work alongside them,
    one Dwayne T.R. Johnson. (Nobody seriously remembers that they kinda did that already in G.I. JOE THE SECOND.)*

    …I’d watch it.

    Hopefully, that’s going to be followed up by DIE HARD AND HIS BROTHER, featuring McClane’s sibling Doug (Brolin, Biehn, Costner or Willis
    himself with a fake nose and a moustache).

    *I know that neither Johnson nor Morrison are, factually, Hawaiian – but then again, neither Rickman nor Irons were actual Germans,
    so I don’t think the producers would care.

  73. It’s all just a setup for DIE HARDER THEY FALL, costarring Mario Van Peebles’ fake Jamaican accent from JAWS: THE REVENGE.

    On second thought if they need to pick just one McClane offspring to be in either of these movies I’d rather it be Mary Elizabeth Winstead because both of those places have very hot climates and I have a feeling I would approve of the completely character-based wardrobe choices those locales would entail.

  74. From now I am going to call DIE HARD 5 by it’s new name – JAI HARD, in honor of my new favorite franchise killer.

  75. I went to see this movie knowing exactly what it was and loved it as a result: An awful movie that thinks is great, this review is spot on.

  76. DIE HARD TICKET TO HAWAII, this idea makes me chuckle. My only question is does the snake return as well?

  77. The Original Paul

    July 6th, 2015 at 6:49 pm

    MASSIVE PLOT TWIST! I just went and saw a late-night screening of this!

    (Yeah, I know, I know. So much for principles, etc. All I can say is that I’m fed up of seeing you guys debating all of these new movies and not being able to contribute to the discussion myself. I mean, do you really need me to say that SUDDEN IMPACT fucking sucks? You have an entire Internet’s worth of people saying that very same thing, I’m adding nothing new to the discussion here. Anyway…)

    *

    So GENISYS has five massive problems, any two or three of which might be enough to sink this movie. Lemme start at the biggest one:

    1) Jai Courtney. (Yeah, I wasn’t expecting to say that after JACK REACHER, but I finally get why he has such a bad reputation.) This guy is a lump of wood in this film. He has zero chemistry with Emilia Clarke in this film, and for reasons that I’ll go into in a second I put that entirely down to Courtney’s performance. And talking of bad male performances…

    2) Jason Clarke. Ok, he’s by no means as bad as Courtney. But that’s not to say that he’s good. I have to agree with whoever said above that the casting of these two, at least, was terrible. I find it really difficult to “buy” Jason Clarke as the John Connor that we’ve previously heard of. There’s a scene at the beginning at the movie of Clarke and Courtney together, spouting basically ponderous self-important exposition at each other, with neither of them remotely able to sell it. I was pretty much resolved to hate this film from that scene onwards. And talking of which…

    3) The dialogue. Some of it is fine, some I think is undersold by the actors (Courtney / Jason Clarke in particular), but some of it is… ugh. For some reason the entire TERMINATOR franchise has a history of having adults talk like uppity children. I really, really, really wish they wouldn’t do that. I think Emilia Clarke would be considered far better in this role if it wasn’t for some of the “bratty” dialogue that she gets lumbered with. There’s also a lot of dialogue that’s basically ponderous exposition. The voiceovers at the start and end of the movie are examples of this; the dialogue between Jason Clarke and Courtney at the beginning of the film is another.

    4) Lack of scares. This is the case from the start of the movie, with Courtney’s character being immediately faced by a T-1000. At close range. Erm… if that happens, you’re dead. Straight-out dead. I know my T-1000s, ok? You can’t fucking outrun one of those things. In T2, one damn near kills Edward Furlong by running after him, despite the fact that Furlong is on a motorbike at the time. The John Connor Terminator is just as bad. For starters, he basically has Reece and Sarah at his mercy when he first meets them. Why doesn’t he just kill them then? Does Skynet honestly believe that it can be a “family” with Reece and Sarah – probably the two people on earth most primed to hate its very existence – or, to put it another way, that it can recruit them? I mean, come the fuck on. And this leads us nicely onto…

    5) Lack of character motivation. Yeah… I think this would be different if Jai Courtney had been able to do anything with what he was given… but the reason the ending feels completely “unearned” is not because it ret-cons the previous films (in fact, it doesn’t; it’s explicitly stated in the film that this is a different Reece and Sarah than the ones who met in the original TERMINATOR movie). It’s because of the lack of emotional connection or chemistry between Sarah and Reece.

    *

    So that’s it. All of GENISYS’s flaws laid out, right there. A lot of people, our very own Vern included, have pointed out how much worse this film is than T3. And to those people, I have only one thing to say:

    Are you fucking insane?!!

    Yep. Despite everything I’ve written above, this isn’t going to be a condemnation of TERMINATOR: GENISYS. It’s going to be a defence of it. So hold on to your hats, people, and let’s BATMAN FOREVER this bitch.

    As I said above, the scene between John Connor and Kyle Reece, the scene that basically set up the entire movie, fell as flat as a pancake. Nothing about it worked – the script, the acting, the chemistry between the two leads. From that moment I was pretty much resolved to hate this film. And I mean, hate it. That’s “hate” in full italics, people – that’s a lot of hate. Unhappily my resolve was soon tested, when the film got back to the present day and Emilia Clarke appeared, and I found that I was actually enjoying a lot of it.

    But even though Emilia Clarke is no Linda Hamilton, and she has to deal with some pretty bad scripting (again, that damn “brattiness”… I wish they wouldn’t do it) she’s also no Claire Danes. I think that possibly those people who are comparing this movie unfavourably to T3 have forgotten just how bad Danes was in it? I don’t know what was worse, Danes’ screechy overacting or Courtney’s wooden underacting. (Well, I do… Courtney may not “sell” the character at all, but he’s at least not annoying throughout the entire film. Danes most definitely is.) The best thing about GENISYS – which again was absolutely not the case in T3 – is that Arnold is put front-and-centre. He pretty much steals the movie, and he deserves to. Arnold is awesome in this, and unlike T3, he’s not saddled with lines like “Talk to duh hand!”

    Look, I kinda love T3. It’s like an adorable but mentally retarded stepchild or something. But let me point out just a few of the stupidities that you get in the first ten minutes of that movie:

    – John Connor, future leader of the resistance movement, being locked in a dog cage by a country vet.
    – A Terminator mechanically increasing its breast-size when pulled over by a cop.
    – Arnold being mistaken for a gay stripper, then wearing Elton John sunglasses.

    What I’m trying to say here is that as entertaining as T3 was, it felt like Terminator fanfiction. At no point did it ever feel like a proper TERMINATOR movie. Possibly at the very end, but by that point John Connor had barely appeared at all as any kind of a strategist, a leader, a badass, basically anything that would justify his “taking command”. Fuckin’ Claire Danes was more badass than John Connor in this movie! A shrill, shrieking, complaining, whining badass.

    I would also point out that every single flaw I’ve pointed out about GENISYS also applies to T3, except more so. Bad acting? Check! Confused character motivations? Check! Completely unearned ending? Double-check! Lack of scares? Check! T3 also had its positives, to be sure – the massive chase being the biggest one. But the defeat of the Terminatrix was a complete cheat (hello, plot-convenient exploding battery pack) and so, I felt, was the ending where John “assumes” command. I actually liked the ending in principle – but can you honestly imagine this version of John Connor leading the resistance to victory? I fucking doubt it.

    *

    GENISYS is clearly, of the four TERMINATOR movies that I’ve now seen (I’ve never seen SALVATION), the third-best. I don’t see how that’s even debatable. T3 has every flaw that GENISYS has, and a lot more besides. The fact that I personally enjoyed T3 does not make me blind to this simple fact. Do not let it blind you either.

    “But Paul!” I hear you pleading. “Aren’t you angry that they forced in a happy ending that totally undid what was established in the original TERMINATOR?”

    Well… no. Honestly I’m not. Again, they make it clear that this is a whole alternative timeline, so it’s really a completely separate Reece and Sarah. My problems with the ending all stem from the fact that, in the context of the film, it feels “unearned”. I just don’t believe that this Sarah and Reece have had anything like enough chemistry together to make this thing worth it. (And don’t even start on the Arnold turning into liquid metal. What the hell was that?) But even considering that… no, I’m not mad at this film’s ending.

    I would’ve liked to have seen a giant memorable spectacle like the crane chase in T3. I think that would probably have made its flaws a lot more bearable for people. It might be easier to excuse those flaws – which, again, are pretty much the same ones that you get in T3 – if there was something great there. And there isn’t. I also think that the lack of genuine atmospheric fear in this one is a pretty damn huge “miss”.

    But by the same token… this feels like a TERMINATOR film in a way that T3 did not. It’s absolutely nowhere near the quality of either of the first two TERMINATOR films. But it’s easily better than T3, and from what I’ve read of SALVATION, I’m guessing it probably compares favourably to that. It’s the third-best TERMINATOR film that I’ve seen. And I’m content with that. I enjoyed my time with it, warts and all. Largely thanks to Arnie. That was the one thing they needed to get right, and by jingo they did.

  78. The Original Paul

    July 6th, 2015 at 7:23 pm

    Ok… I got one more thing.

    If I’m going to properly defend this extremely flawed movie, I think I need to point out one thing in it that works, completely. So here it is: Arnold’s relationship with Sarah Connor. Every time these two played off one another, I was 100% sold. (It says a lot about how bad Jai Courtney was that he had so much less chemistry with his own love interest than the freakin’ robot did!) That alone was better than anything Arnold got to do in T3.

    Ok, I’m done. Now, GENISYS-haters, come at me with everything you’ve got!

  79. So me and Paul agree on this.

    Huh.

    Well, I figure the rain of frogs should be starting any minute now.

  80. I just wanted to say that DIE HARD TICKET TO HAWAII has had me laughing all day. Andy Sidaris also made HARD HUNTED, but DIE HARD HUNTED doesn’t have the same ring to it, I’m afraid.

  81. The Original Paul

    July 6th, 2015 at 9:12 pm

    Majestyk – you should probably bear one thing in mind here. The movie I saw before GENISYS was one in which the director (Clint Eastwood, sadly – I find it almost impossible to believe he went from SUDDEN IMPACT to UNFORGIVEN!) showed little or no understanding of such basic rules of the cinematic language as: if your characters experience a strong emotion, you should probably show their face onscreen to indicate that. I almost feel bad saying that the director of something as fantastic as UNFORGIVEN at one time had no idea where to point the camera, but… the evidence is right there onscreen.

    I mean, if GENISYS is the worst thing on at the cinema these days, we’re doing pretty well. (Although I haven’t seen a review of a Tyler Perry, Melissa McCarthy or Adam Sandler movie here recently.)

    Let me answer one point though. The CGI helicopter actually didn’t bother me (talking Skynet did though. If there’s one universal rule that all TERMINATOR movies should follow, it’s this: don’t ever ever have the human characters talk to Skynet, or any representative thereof.) But I did have a helicopter-related gripe. The penultimate time that Sarah and the gang evade the Connornator, they get onto the roof, where two helicopters are conveniently waiting. Let me describe the scene, interspersed with my own thoughts, at this point.

    Int. SARAH, ARNOLD and KYLE, running towards one of the two helicopters.
    ME: That’s great! You have a way out. Now just don’t forget to disable the other chopper.
    SARAH: Can you fly one of these things?
    KYLE: Oh yes, I learnt years ago.

    ME: Yeah… we already know you can fly… but are you going to do something about the other chopper? You can probably just blow it up right now you know…
    KYLE: As a matter of fact, it was actually your son who taught me to fly.
    ME: As in, the same guy who’s chasing you and will most definitely follow you in the other helicopter? Y’know, if you leave it there where he can just get to it? Unless you do something about it?
    CONNORNATOR appears. KYLE, SARAH and ARNOLD make a bee-line for one of the helicopters, leaving the other one in perfect working order. CONNORNATOR immediately gets into the other helicopter and starts shooting at them.
    ME: Ah, fuck it.

    Time and time and time again, movie characters get screwed because they don’t disable their enemies’ vehicles when they have the chance. Please learn from their mistakes!

  82. You’re all so mean. Jai is going to crush Lethal Weapon 5

  83. The Original Paul

    July 7th, 2015 at 3:54 am

    Telf – My instinctive response to that is “Please, God, no.” And I’m a freakin’ atheist.

  84. Jai Courtney’s most convincing acting came (NPI) in the Starz! miniseries SPARTACUS. He’s playing one of the slaves/potential gladiators, and as he’s pensively jackhammering one of the slave girls at a voyeur orgy for the Roman aristocrats (patricians?), one of the spectators remarks “100 denarii says the slave doesn’t have another twenty strokes left in him!”. Made all the more absurdly poignant by Courtney’s hair, which makes him a dead ringer for Christopher Atkins in THE BLUE LAGOON.

    Actually I’m with Paul on this one. To me, regardless of the role, Courtney invariably comes across like the adult version of a douchebag jock asshole frat boy (not unlike Bradley Cooper’s character in WEDDING CRASHERS). It’s off-putting as hell.

  85. I just don’t see how much personality is required to play the parts he’s been given thus far. He’s done nothing by surly tough guys, and he seems convincingly tough and surly. Maybe I’m just like Vern. All the new beefcakes come out and the Internet falls over itself over who can hate him faster and harder and make more similes concerning wooden objects, and I think he’s fine for what is being asked of him. And then every now and then one of them turns into Keanu or Paul Walker, and I feel validated that there was something there in the first place, however crude, that held the screen. I mean, jesus, compare Courtney to that poor shirtless boy with Down’s Syndrome from the TWILIGHT movies and tell me that Courtney is as bad as it gets.

  86. Well said, Majestyk. I have no reason to believe he’s on the same level, but this is the exact same way people talked about (and in the case of total bores, STILL talk about) Stallone, Schwarzenegger, every martial artist who ever turned into an actor, or in recent decades Vin Diesel. I bet we could even find reviews that talked about The Rock or Chris Hemsworth that way in their first few movies. It’s just a type who certain people are programmed to automatically be suspicious and disapproving of, and I go the other way.

    Maybe it helps that I hated so many things about GENISYS and GOOD DAY that I can’t see how anybody could put his performances even in the top 10 things wrong with them. But JACK REACHER didn’t have that advantage and I thought he was really good in that. I look forward to seeing him throw boomerangs at a motherfucker in SUICIDE SQUAD.

  87. I’ve only seen Courtney in DIE HARD VS. COMMIES and JACK REACHAROUND. He was horrid in the former but hey so was Bruce & the villains so it was consistent with the rest of the cast. While serviceable but not really memorable in the latter. So I can’t really say I have a handle on this guy yet but personally I don’t get how anybody thought that people like Sam Worthington, Chris Pine (yes I said it), Taylor Kitsch, Armie Hammer (I know Dr. Miller saw something in him but I just don’t) and the rest of their ilk are or were considered the future of the industry.

    Majestyk brings up Walker and Reeves but those dudes were still doing RIVER’S EDGE and JOY RIDE type stuff while on the come up. They were taking risks and trying to leave their comfort zones very early into their careers. These dudes today have just been playing it safe with reboots and adaptations and sequels galore being their main bread and butter. Can you really see Jai Courtney have a RUNNING SCARED or POINT BREAK on his resume?

    We’ll see but I’m really not convinced that we’ll see any real movie stars coming out of this 21st century crop. The last real movie star generation was the generation that gave us Ford and Arnold and Sly and the Cruiser. After them I’d say it’s probably Will Smith and after him maybe Vin Diesel, Statham and The Rock? but these white bread muthafuckas don’t have a fraction of the charisma to even be this generation’s Nicolas Cage let alone a Bruce Willis.

  88. What has Chris Hemsworth done that is so impressive BTW?

    Seriously. All I can think about is Thor maybe. I saw that Michael Mann movie he did and while it was better than I thought it would be he was really bland in it.

  89. The Original Paul

    July 7th, 2015 at 11:33 am

    Vern – Amazing Larry does not speak for me on this one. I don’t have a problem with Courtney in general, as evidenced by the fact that I’ve repeatedly said he was one of the best things about JACK REACHER. The difference between that role and this one is that he was a tertiary player in JACK REACHER. He had enough of a role to be memorable, but not enough of one that he had to carry the film as its star.

    And I’ve never once knocked Vin Diesel in PITCH BLACK, Dwayne Johnson in FURIOUS 5, Stallone in FIRST BLOOD or ROCKY, Schwarzenegger in PREDATOR or TOTAL RECALL, or Hemsworth in THOR. When these guys knock it out of the park, I give them their dues.

    My problem with Courtney isn’t his personality or his image. My problem with him is that in this particular performance, he had zero charisma, and zero chemistry with the other three main stars. I could just about “buy” his initial antagonism to Arnold’s character (although I lay that success more to Arnold’s credit than to Courtney’s) but I could not believe him as a friend of John Connor or as a lover of Sarah Connor in this particular movie. And maybe part of the Sarah Connor thing is down to Emilia Clarke, but given how strong her chemistry is with Arnie in this, I doubt it. I certainly think the lack of chemistry between John and Kyle is partly down to Jason Clarke, who does nothing for me in this movie.

    But the biggest problem I have is absolutely Courtney. And it’s not because I’m disapproving of certain “types”. It’s just that his performance drags the movie down, and a lot of the other problems of the movie can be partially blamed on that as well.

    For example, I talked about how this movie wasn’t scary enough. Remember how “in over his head” Michael Biehn seemed to be in the original TERMINATOR, and how much his own insecurity contrasted with the robotic persistence of the Terminator? Remember how, when Linda Hamilton asked him if he could destroy the Terminator, Biehn’s Kyle said honestly “I don’t know”? I got none of this from Courtney as Kyle. I couldn’t tell that he was being affected by many of the things that were happening. There are many reasons why this movie isn’t scary – the Terminators are too talky and suffer from not being as powerful as they were in the past movies, for example – but that’s a big one right there.

  90. Great idea Telf. I was thinking he should be John Rambo’s long lost son in LAST BLOOD. He can play 1/8 Vietnamese like Emma Stone was Hawaiian in ALOHA.

  91. Well, I certainly hope you’ll all be be rushing to see MI:Rogue Nation. This summer’s only Courtneyless Fivequel.

  92. The Original Paul

    July 8th, 2015 at 6:38 pm

    Telf – I had happily forgotten that that movie existed until you reminded me. Thanks a lot, motherf–ker!

    (Yeah… so I gave GHOST PROTOCOL a pass for not being quite as soul-crushingly mediocre, predictable and just generally absent of anything good as MI:3 was… but I’m not feeling generous when it comes to MI:5. If this thing doesn’t at least attempt to measure up to the first MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE, I will feel morally obligated to tear it a new asshole.)

  93. I liked JACK REACHER. I want to see McQuarrie’s take on MISSION IMPOSSIBLE 5: FURIOUS SIX.

  94. As far as I’m concerned the stupidity started with T2.

    Like Reese say’s in The Terminator – “Nobody goes home. Nobody else comes through.”

  95. There are plenty of jock actors who have far more charisma than Courtney Jai. The Chrises Hemsworth, Pine, Pratt and Evans all could fill a very similar niche, but they have an actual screen presence. For me, Jai is just completely bland. Maybe he’ll find his footing at some point, but I see no evidence for it.

    Broddie – “We’ll see but I’m really not convinced that we’ll see any real movie stars coming out of this 21st century crop.” I think this is true, but I also think it’s because the nature of the industry has changed. Actors in films have become secondary to the movie’s gimmick. It used to be that people would go to a Will Smith film because it had Will Smith in it. Now they’ll go to a superhero film that happens to have Will Smith in it.

  96. Yes, but I believe that Courtney could fuck up all those dudes in a fight, so he’s got that going for him.

    I’m not saying he’s great. I like all those guys you mentioned more than him, mostly because they can all do comedy and I like funny people. But when Courtney’s about to fuck somebody up, I believe he’s going to fuck that person up. That’s about all he has to do to be successful in the roles he’s been getting.

    But I wouldn’t worry about him if I were you. He’s had his buzz, he took his shot, it didn’t quite pan out, the world will move on. People seemed to think Sam Worthington was a real serious problem, too.

  97. Yeah Jai Courtney seems like the guy you accidentally hire thinking he’s the guy from AVATAR.

    At the same time, unless you look like Arnold Schwarzenegger or The Rock it’s kind of hard to detect a future huge movie star after only a couple of secondary roles. I mean, I don’t think people who saw A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET at the time of its release thought “that guy who plays Glen, he’s gonna be huge some day”. Early Depp was just a bland pretty boy, he didn’t start out as the charming weirdo who can turn a pirate movie into a licence to print money. So, who knows, maybe one of those bland dudes can grow into a new Bruce Willis after all, they just need a better character than “dude with a gun who looks so serious and professional all the time”.

  98. Honestly, the whole talk about “the death of moviestars” and how Hollywood has changed because of that, annoys me to no end. Because nothing has changed! There are still movie stars who are front and center of their respective work’s ad campaign and audiences either watch movies because their favourite actor is in them or because the story/spectacle appeals to them. Boom! That’s how it always was and always will be.

  99. The Original Paul

    July 9th, 2015 at 7:13 am

    …And this is why GENYSIS is not as bad as it’s given credit for.

    What part of my review do people object to? The bits about GENISYS being not as bad as T3? The bits where I say Emilia Clarke is underrated as an actress, and the problems with her character have more to do with her co-stars and her script than with her performance? The bit where I say this “feels” more like a TERMINATOR film than T3 did? Nope. The bit everyone gets huffy about is where I call out Jai Courtney’s performance as the worst thing in it.

    I will take that to mean that you all secretly agree with me on the movie as a whole but don’t want to admit it, because if you said you actually liked a movie with the word “GENISYS” in the title you’d feel like complete tool-bags. (And hey, I’m right there with you on that one. It is a seriously dumb title. Fits the movie I guess!)

    It occurred to me that this movie’s best legacy might be its statement about pre-order culture, especially pre-order of electronic goods, games, films, etc. A lot of media-makers seem to believe that pre-orders are a licence to skimp on content or quality control; ’cause, hey, once the customer finds out how bad the thing is, it’s too late, right? Well not any more! GENISYS makes it clear: if you pre-order without knowing exactly what you’re getting, the robots will rise up and destroy humanity in a nuclear firestorm.

    Now if that isn’t a healthy message to give the consumer, I don’t know what is.

  100. CJ – I think there is some truth to the talk. What I think it is, though, is actors are labeled THE NEXT BIG THING so quickly nowadays. It’s all instant and they’re thrown into the deep end of the pool before they know what’s going on. It’s not just that their talent hasn’t had a chance to grow, it’s also their understanding of the business, their network and all sorts of things that overwhelm them and they disappear.

    I just heard an interview with Chris Pratt who said he’s so glad that he didn’t have the kind of fame he’s getting now when he was younger because he wouldn’t have been able to handle it. He also talked about how great his team is in helping him pick the right projects for him. A young, breakout star isn’t going have that same team built up yet.

  101. You know who I should’ve mentioned is Channing Tatum. He’s actually the new gold standard for a muscley actor who does several movies where the world thinks he’s a piece of wood with no personality and then a couple roles later they want to quit their jobs and build a religion around him. I already knew he was good from FIGHTING though.

  102. The Original Paul

    July 10th, 2015 at 5:36 am

    Maggie and Vern – what Maggie says makes sense.

    I think we’re all putting the cart before the horse here. I’ve noticed that with a lot of actors, they seem to have one great performance in them, get a lot of work on the back of it, and then just get tons of negative press. Chris Pine would be the best example I think – he had a fantastic performance in CARRIERS, has gotten work off the back of it in things like JACK RYAN and SPY VS SPY, neither of which were very well received. It’s as though the lustre has disappeared. It’s kinda the exact polar opposite of Vern’s phenomenon – an actor isn’t given much credit at the start of his career, but then gets involved in some bad projects and loses it.

    I kinda think this is what’s happened to Jai Courtney. We all liked him in JACK REACHER, right? But since then the geek press has really turned on him for stuff like GENISYS and DIE HARD 5. Obviously I can’t speak about his performance in DIE HARD 5, but he was really, really bad in GENISYS.

    And Vern – as much as I’ve defended GENISYS, I agree with you on pretty much all of your criticisms of it. The film has many, many, many problems. I just don’t think that the sum total of those problems make the film as worthless as you think it is, or even as bad as T3 (again, I got enjoyment out of both T3 and GENISYS, but I don’t think I’d ever call either of them “good”). T3 was accused (probably correctly) of being an unnecessary cash-in as well when it first came out. And giving the Terminator expandable boobs probably didn’t help either.

  103. The Original Paul

    July 10th, 2015 at 5:40 am

    Mistyped that first paragraph. I meant, an actor IS given a lot of credit at the start of his career, when he does his breakout role. But then he’s unable to repeat it.

  104. All this is not making me want to rush out to catch this one, but I’m guessing that Crushinator is exactly right about Lee Byung-hun versus Robert Patrick.

    But somehow I want to come to Lee’s defense (though he wouldn’t really need it) as I feel he’s starred in three or four of my favorite films of recent times. Vern, all those people telling you you’ll like THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE WEIRD are surely not wrong (and incidentally director Kim Jee-woon’s THE LAST STAND was, for my money, the most enjoyable Schwarzenegger movie of the last 20 years).

    So I went to IMDB to remind myself of all those great Lee Byung-hun movies only to discover a TV movie called RUSH HOUR 4: FACE/OFF 2, co-starring, ahem, Sean Combs. Clearly this is a joke, but I’m still gonna have nightmares. And given Crushinator’s remarks, I think Lee may need to start getting better advice.

  105. The Original Paul

    July 10th, 2015 at 6:33 am

    Borg – the problems with the T-1000 in this film aren’t because of the actor playing it, they’re because the T-1000 is so much less of a threat than it’s ever been before. Its first act in the movie is to catch its target completely off-guard at close-range. The target dodges an easily-telegraphed liquid-metal arm swipe and escapes ON FOOT. Explain to me how that’s even possible?

    That’s arguably the most fundamental problem of this movie – the Terminators in it just don’t act like Terminators. They’ve been completely nerfed.

  106. Thanks Paul. I think your remarks just make it worse.

    Much of the comment here is about the cast failing to hit the mark, but it sounds like the inadequacies of the Terminators must’ve been clear in the script, and Crushinator’s view that Robert Patrick’s T1000 cannot be beaten seems self-evident.

  107. The Original Paul

    July 10th, 2015 at 9:07 am

    Borg9 – quite possibly. Robert Patrick is in no way challenged by this film. That’s for certain.

    I don’t want to give the impression that I thought this was a good movie. I’ve defended it somewhat because I did get some enjoyment out of it. It’s almost worth watching for Arnie alone, because every moment he’s onscreen it when the film is at its best. Unfortunately the other two male leads bring nothing to the table, and the female lead struggles with an inadequate script. Couple that with the other problems that the film has – the lack of genuine threat, the CGI action scenes that some others including Vern have commented on – and I can’t honestly recommend seeing this one in the cinema, even if I thought you’d agree more with Majestyk and myself than with Vern and Crushinator (and judging by your comments, you probably wouldn’t).

    It’s more of a TERMINATOR film than T3 was – less lame attempts at humour subbing in for genuine tension, less overt stupidity (although there’s definitely some there) – but it’s nowhere close to the level of either of the first two TERMINATOR films. It’s again worth saying that I enjoyed both GENISYS and T3 despite their flaws, but I’m not blind to said flaws either.

  108. Channing Tatum is another one I still don’t get and no that first JUMP STREET movie did jack and shit to sway me; and jack left town. But I digress…

    So I finally watched this and goddammit I was actually entertained. I was shocked but this was leagues ahead of SALVATION from an entertainment standpoint IMO. I only cringed at the brief “Bad Boys” montage which is this movie’s version of Arnold wearing pink star shaped sunglasses and saying “Talk to the hand”.

    Otherwise it’s about on par with T3 I’d say overall though T3 is a bit more competent and I did find the more neutral and cold hearted Terminator from that one slightly more intriguing than Uncle Bob redux in this new one. However Arnold’s Uncle Bob redux wasn’t half bad either. I thought the premise of the actual T-800 was really interesting. The fact that it was written as “ACT 1 of a trilogy” was this movie’s biggest problem outside of the cardinal sin that the marketing team did by destroying the plot twist from jump in the ADS. Imagine if that was never spoiled and that brief moment of misdirection where it seems like Arnold is actually a wolf in sheep’s clothing had the effect that it SHOULD’VE had BTW.

    Anyway because it’s written as pure setup for something that may or may not come to pass it lets it’s own potential completely down. Instead of being tightly written as a stand alone feature that knows where it’s been, where it’s headed and how it’s gonna get there. Something that would’ve been so well out together on a fundamental level would’ve had people DEMANDING that a followup get made anyway. But nothing is written to be the best that it could possibly be on it’s own anymore. EVERYTHING under the sun has to be a potential franchise starter or first act of a trilogy. Thanks LOTR. This will forever be your worst influence on blockbuster movie making.

    This one felt like they shot with a first draft and never looked back. If there was one movie that should’ve been written with a proper beginning, middle and end and answers to all inquiries as well as the proper revisions throughout production it’s this one. The first 30 min or so worked for me because it felt like that’s where it was going. Like “ok who did send back Pops?” I was expecting to find out by the end since even the movie made it it’s business to bring up that subject. Instead it never gets readdressed (the fuck!?!)

    I love multiversal stories. That’s one of the reasons I loved that Lena Headey as Sarah Connor TV show. It was interesting to see a parallel timeline playing out differently from what we know even if it’s foundations lie in the familiar. For example “what would the Dysons be doing in this timeline?” is something I didn’t really ask but still was kinda cool to see just for the little subversions that they did to the way the characters were in T2. So I appreciated that approach but not at the expense of leaving such multiversal ideas undercooked. I didn’t like the inconsistency of it.

    Even on more subtle levels. For example at one point Kyle is all “of course! so Skynet could be destroyed before it even exists” and Sarah literally goes “what?” as if she doesn’t know WTF Skynet is. Which was fine with me cause I was like “ok so clearly Kyle from the original timeline joined into a timeline where Sarah doesn’t know Skynet as Skynet but as Genesis?” but noooooope that wasn’t the case. Later on we have Sarah name checking Skynet as if she always knew it as such so clearly it was just another boneheaded inconsistency in the part of the writing team here.

    I don’t know if I’ll ever see this again but I did enjoy a lot in it. I liked NEW T-1000 and the little updated quirks like liquid metal fragments working as trackers and the guy creating spears and shit out of a blob from his torso. I really liked JK Simmons and felt that the movie could’ve used a lot more of him to anchor it & ground it a bit more. I liked John Connor Terminator chewing up scenery and showing more personality than not just the TX and whatever the hell were the obstacles in SALVATION but also showing more life than the “real” John Connors from T3 and T4 as well.

    The biggest let down besides “we don’t want to make this movie a stand alone so we’ll just leave you guys hanging with pointless and superflous plotholes we could’ve resolved in this one” was the lack of chemistry between Connor and Reese. Talk about destroying the one thing that probably could’ve saved it. I did like the Uncle Bob/Whiny John like relationship between Pops and Sarah and Arnie and GOT Girl had some decent chemistry. But my god whenever it was between her and Courtney trying to sell us on their budding romance that shit went south with the quickness.

    That scene with Reese describing what kind of man John is and the cartoony sexy sillouhette of Sarah claiming Kyle’s attention is one of the most unintentionally hilarious things I’ve ever seen. With that said Courtney was actually decent here I thought. I even thought he did ok against Arnold where some of you guys felt they didn’t click. The one that came out looking the worst here if you ask me is Emilia Clarke. Some of her line deliveries really had me cringing but then there were also moments where you could see the potential in her Sarah. It was a weirdly bipolar performance.

    Overall all things considered I expected much much worse especially with the way people are really lynching this movie all across the fields. In the end there was as much good as there was bad and there were some genuinely intriguing moments to me. I don’t see how anybody could honestly say they enjoyed SALVATION more but to each their own.

  109. “It’s again worth saying that I enjoyed both GENISYS and T3 despite their flaws, but I’m not blind to said flaws either.”

    I agree with this Paul except GENISYS is really let down by a lot of it’s poor execution where as the moments that were poorly executed in T3 just come across more as mild hindrances by comparison.

  110. The Original Paul

    July 10th, 2015 at 10:36 am

    Broddie – I agree with a lot of what you’ve said. In particular I forgot to highlight J K Simmons, as he’s really great and, as you say, does “ground” the movie very well indeed. Actually, the fact that they brought back that apparently throwaway police officer character whose life Kyle saves in the first act is probably one of my favorite things about the movie.

  111. This was not a first draft. I read the first draft and the finished film is marginally better.

  112. God help me I didn’t think this was that bad either. Totally pointless and beyond lightweight (hey at least it’s supposedly “fun” rather than “dark and gritty”, right?), and maybe I’ve been so desensitized to Transformers-style garbage, but this was actually not a bad way to spend a Sunday matinee. Sure, there’s some problems – there’s absolutely no chemistry between the three leads, it’s emotionally uninvolving, the end is a big shrug, the plot falls apart when you think about it for longer than 10 seconds. I was one of those guys who was really pissed off about Star Trek ’09 destroying an entire race as some cheap 9/11 imagery/plot device, even though they literally said it was an alternate timeline. I was one of those guys who even got super-mad about Rise of the Planet of the Apes retconning the events of the original 5 movies. So maybe it’s outrage-fatigue, but even though this movie negates the events of T2, one of the greatest movies of all time, I kinda didn’t care anymore. Even though it’s a sequel I guess I thought about it like the Robocop/Conan the Barbarian reboots – they’re ok, not a pimple on the ass of the originals, but the originals will always be there.

    SPOILER questions – 1) As Vern pointed out, it’s weird they make John Connor the villain and throw in a few “Fight it, John!” lines but then proceed to shoot the shit out of him and blow him up throughout the movie and I guess kill him. But did he die? What was that machine they put him in at the end? That’s the time machine, right? If so, where/when did they send him? And why is the time machine right next to the T1000-generating pool of liquid metal? Cyberdyne has a lot of simultaneous projects going on, huh? And I like how their headquarters is totally empty the night before their biggest product launch. Speaking of which…

    2) So when Genisys comes online it’s instant Judgment Day, but why? It having access to everyone’s lives doesn’t make a lick of difference if it’s going to nuke everyone instantly anyway. It’s like they wanted to throw in some tired “unplug from social media, everyone!” commentary but couldn’t figure out a way to incorporate it into the story.

    3) As many people have said, why would Sarah want to give herself LESS time to stop the apocalypse by jumping ahead to a few days before it happens? Other than “they didn’t want to make a period piece set in ’84”

    4) I THINK the movie implies they successfully stopped Judgment Day in T2 by melting the arm/chip, etc… so Skynet had to find another way to survive, which they did by sending John back to 2013(?) to help the now-alive Dyson build Genisys in 2017. But what happened to the 2003-ish apocalypse from T3 they couldn’t stop?

    4) Weird that you never find out who sent the 1984 T1000, or Pops, or the unseen T1000 that Pops killed in the 70s. Or wait, did he even kill one w/ the bazooka back then, or was it the same T1000 and they’ve been hiding from it this whole time?

    5) So was John trying to kill them or not kill them? I THINK his goal was to just stall them and stop them from blowing up Cyberdyne, since he could kill them SO MANY times in the movie and doesn’t. I’m guessing their survival is necessary for his/Skynet’s survival or something. But then again, he certainly seems to be ok w/ flipping buses and shooting at helicopters with them in it, etc…

    There’s probably a million more questions but I guess it’s a sign of the times (or my brain failing) that I just didn’t care about any of them. It’s a breezy, fast-paced, enjoyable movie with pretty good action and neat effects, and congratulations to Hollywood on making me so apathetic that I can’t even get riled up to care about something that would have offended me to the core a few years ago.

  113. Big Movie Freak

    July 13th, 2015 at 8:16 am

    Neal2zod: I think they were trying to do a The Fly thing (Cronenberg version) where there’s enough of the human John Connor left in the Borg, sorry I meant T3000, that he’d offer his parents the opportunity to join him and SkyNet in an unholy, perverted alliance.

  114. Yeah I guess The Fly is a good comparison, he’s basically corrupted and too far gone to save which is totally not the direction I expected this movie to take when I found out he was the new Terminator. I mean, Skynet COULD just be possessing him and poor John is stuck in there somewhere, but we’ll never know I guess. Poor guy.

    The other thing I was hoping they’d discuss is Reese and Sarah NEEDING to have sex within 48 hours or something to create OG John, and I was hoping they’d wring some tension out of that – Sarah doesn’t love Reese but knows they have to have sex, while Reese loves the idea of her (from what John tells her and falling in love with her picture) but that idea has been upended when she turns out to be a different Sarah than he expected. So instead of really exploring this, naturally they a) bicker the whole movie about anything and everything, because that’s what we want to see, some sub-Katherine Heigl romcom BICKERING for 2 hours, b) don’t have sex within the same time frame, c) purposely jump AHEAD so far in the future they guarantee John’s role in the war will be useless. I mean, what was supposed to happen after the movie ends? Do they just stick with BJ’s and HJ’s so they DON’T create John Connor since what’s the point of him now? Or do they go off and knock boots and the next one has a fucking kid in it, Mummy 2-style, with Pops now being GrandPops? Does this postpone Judgment Day to like 2055 now?

  115. If the Conan reboot had been a hot, do you think terminator, robo cop and total recall would be r-rated?

  116. Not at that budget. But honestly, TERMINATOR isn’t really something that needs to be R, IMO, since it never was about bloody violence and F-bomb filled dialogue. I mean, one of its most iconic lines is “Hasta la vista, baby”, not “Suck my dick and swallow my cum, you motherfucker” and the goriest scenes in the whole franchise are surgery scenes and the Stanton Twins eye poke.

    (And while I think that a sequel to the original ROBOCOP shouldn’t be anything less than R, the story that the remake tried to tell, worked very well within the PG-13 limits.)

  117. The Original Paul

    July 17th, 2015 at 2:29 am

    Y’know, I rewatched T2 for what must be the fifteenth or sixteenth time, and was once again struck by what a nightmarish creation the T-1000 really is. Even at the end, when it’s wounded and malfunctioning, sticking to anything it touches… it still just keeps coming. That thing gave me one or two nightmares when I first saw the film; and even now, knowing how it turns out, it still scares the living hell outta me. Arguably the first Terminator is even worse (you can blow the legs off of that thing, and it’ll still keep coming for you, clawing along the ground with those horrible metallic fingers) but the thing about the first Terminator is, it at least seems to be vulnerable. The T-1000… that thing just can’t be stopped.

    It makes me appreciate the bits of GENISYS that I recall enjoying a little less. Because honestly, how the hell do you take a concept like the T-1000 and make it not-scary? That almost feels like a crime somehow.

  118. Funny that you mention that, Paul. I know T1 has the reputation for being the horror entry, but on my last viewing of T2 I was also shocked at how terrifying the T-1000 is. They do a ridiculous amount of damage to him and it doesn’t matter!

    I always thought both T1 and T2 went on one beat too long, but I’m over it now. T1 could have ended with Kyle taking both him and the T800 out, but now I get that Sarah needed to be the one to kill it, final girl style. And even though part of me wishes the “hasta la Vista, baby” moment was saved for the end of T2, I think it really helps the sense of hopelessness and dread that the T1000 is basically at full power and not even fazed right up until the moment he dies(theatrical cut when he doesn’t malfunction)

  119. Funny, you should mention “final girl” style. I never thought of T1 as a slasher.

  120. Horror, sure. But not slasher.

  121. TERMINATOR: GENISYS is not as bad as fucking five year old children on Christmas Eve. That is how nice a guy I am.

  122. People defending this piece of shit has lost all sorts of human value or taste. I am so out of here. And fuck you guys for liking it…

  123. Shoot, eat a Snickers!

  124. That might actually help

  125. Saw today that this has landed on Amazon Prime, so figured, what the hell. Man, what a completely artless and generic technical exercise in recreating aesthetic details, set pieces, and little beats of T1 and T2 while draining them of any urgency, humanity, or suspense. Man, I know it’s something of a sport to shit on Jai Courtney, but this is such an inspid performance, it would be competent but forgettable if its very existence weren’t daring us to compare it to Michael Biehn in T1. It’s like a lobotomized Chris Evans. Sheesh.

  126. I don’t think Courtney is bad, just miscast.

    This is just such a cynical, tone-deaf cash grab of a film. Nostalgia porn. I’m glad it got shellacked at the box office. Come back again in 5-10 years when you’ve got something new to say or to show us.

  127. As hilarious as this movie was I don’t want to see anybody try again in a few years. Not even King Cameron once he gets the rights back in 3 years. Just let this shit die like skynet did with the humans already.

  128. By pure coincidence I too just saw this one for the first time (I rented a physical copy though, didn’t know it went on Prime). It’s not good and it may be one of the stupidest movies I’ve ever seen but I can’t bring myself to hate it even though it deserves it. That would have required me to put more passion into this thing than the filmmakers did.

    I know they wont, but I hope they lay the Terminator series to rest after this. Surely after three failures to launch (I have not seen the TV show everyone tells me is good) they will take the artistic route and learn T2 has a great perfect ending and there are actually no more stories to mine from the concept.

  129. GeoffreyJar and Broddie, I didn’t hate it, either. I just couldn’t bring myself to finish it. I’ve said it before: “I don’t hate [Terminator: Genisys], but I pity the fool.” I don’t think any of the principals are phoning it in either. Just miscast, lame dialogue, no stakes. It’s like a competent T1/T2 tribute band playing a completely uninspired medley.

  130. Also, I’m not sure I want to see anybody try it again in 10 years either. The 5-10 was intended more in the spirit of a minimum sentence than “I want to see another one of these eventually.”

    Just stop trying to pull this reboot-quel alternate timeline horseshit.

    These films are not like Indy or Bond (or Star Trek, TMNT, or Mission: Impossible) where they are built expressly for episodic new missions and locales and even cast changes and reboots and whatnot. The films are all about the Connors and the Arnold-model terminator and their journey. At this point, there is virtually nothing I can imagine these films doing that could add to T1 and T2–the latter serving as an effective, uplifting, and fully earned closing of the timeline loop. I won’t say it’s impossible to make another good Terminator film, I’ll just say that whatever effort would be expended in its pursuit would be better spent doing some other film altogether.

  131. So I finally caught up with the TERMINATOR sequels (meaning I watched SALVATION and this one today) and I have to admit that I liked TERMINATOR: GYNECOLOGIST. Yeah, it really is the last step that turns the former visionary, influential and all in all brillant series into harm- and mindless popcorn escapism, but despite its at times sloppy writing, complete miscasting*, lack of suspense and “Holy shit, I have to watch this again!” action scenes, it entertained me on a mindless popcorn escapism level. And even more important: This is the first of the trilogy of failed trilogy starters, that really made want to see what happens next, despite the lack of a “real” cliffhanger.

    All in all I have to say that the Cameron-less sequels are all underrated. None of them is as good as the first two, but they were all obviously made by people, who at least tried to not just make hollow re-hashs. Okay, they were all held back by either their lack of talent or studio suits who didn’t give a shit, but you can’t tell me that parts 3-5 weren’t ambitious! Part 3 with its “Holy shit!” action scenes and super bleak surprise ending, part 4 with its “We don’t have Arnie, let’s try something completely different” story and even part 5 with its “Time is a huge FUCK YOU and this is now our playground” approach.

    *I don’t think that Khaleesi or Jai Courtney did a bad job. They had a good chemistry and delivered a good performance within the parameters of the script, but they simply are not Linda Hamilton and Michael Biehn and I’m not only talking about their looks.

  132. Crushinator Jones

    July 18th, 2016 at 9:42 am

    Well CJ I recently saw this too. It’s on Amazon Prime so I figured I would give it go. It’s not terrible and, like you said, it’s kinda cool that they tried to go off the rails so completely. The fact that the timestream “wants” Skynet to exist (to the point of getting the world in a weird state where a consumer operating system is being used by the military) and the corruption of John Connor into a Terminator were all interesting ideas. Unfortunately the payoff just isn’t there. In probably one of the worst post-credits teasers ever to exist, the entire enterprise is shown to be a huge waste of time (no pun intended). .When you combine that with a script that lacks the human element you get a movie that, despite its well done action – keeps a certain distance from the audience. I was always aware that I was watching actors reading from a script .

    Having said that, I will never get sick of Terminator fights, even though they are basically just two blank-faced goons manhandling and smashing each other through stuff. Or a Terminator lurching through a hail of bullets, pausing only to give a stink-eye and the guy shooting them the most. Fun stuff. And ’84 Arnold was great.

  133. Crushinator Jones

    July 18th, 2016 at 9:50 am

    BTW I should have said that I decided to rewatch it. I really hated this movie the first time because I got wrapped up in how dumb it was. But as you can see I was much more satisfied with it on the second viewing, when I accepted how stupid everything was. I’ve downgraded my rating from “fuck this lazy pandering movie” to “I like Terminators and this movie delivers Terminators – everything else is kinda lazy trash”

  134. Finally saw this one while trapped sick at home on a Sunday, and I cannot say that the wait or the lowered expectations did it any good. It’s just one of the lowest-rewards big-budget movies I’ve seen in forever. Story is a convoluted mess which twists back and forth trying to cover up how completely empty of purpose and momentum it is, the cast is a charisma black hole (except Arnie, who gets largely sidelined anyway, and J. K. Simmons, who is obviously left over from a draft of the script where his character had a reason to exist), the action is pedestrian and uninvolving and the whole experience is just a stultifying bore. It’s not even that it’s mostly actively bad, it’s just that it’s… nothing. There’s a few fitful bits of special effects in there, but its so waterlogged and bland that it’s gone from the mind the minute it’s gone from the screen. It’s perhaps the most perfect epitome of cluttered, expensive but enervating filmmaking-by-corporate-committee I’ve ever seen, and what’s truly depressing about that is that the result is not even spectacularly terrible. It’s not spectacular in any way, it’s just… nothing. There’s very little movie here, it’s just a runtime haphazardly cluttered with stuff because they had to think of something to fill that time with. It’s a movie with an outside as busy but familiar as possible, but no inside whatsoever.

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