Skip to content Skip to left sidebar Skip to right sidebar Skip to footer

Movie Night – New 'Terminator' goes to roots (July 15, 2015 issue)

Arnold v. Arnold. What more could you ask for in a summer action movie than a battle between two Arnold Schwarzenegger terminators? “Terminator Genisys” proves that there is nothing better than a fight to the death between a young Arnold machine designed to kill one woman and an old Arnold machine designed to protect that same woman at all costs.
“Terminator Genisys” opens in the future, in the year 2029. The machines have taken over. Skynet, a computer program, rules the Earth with its army of deadly machines and is intent on destroying the human race, its only competition for control of the planet. John Connor (Jason Clarke) steps into the breach. He leads the resistance alongside his best friend and finest soldier, Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney). Along with his fellow soldiers, John is the only thing keeping humanity alive.
Just before the resistance can completely destroy Skynet in 2029, a T-800 terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is sent back in time to 1984. A terminator is a robotic assassin that can pass as a human. This terminator’s one and only directive is to kill Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke) before she can give birth to John Connor. Without John Connor there will be no future resistance, nothing to stand in the way of Skynet’s global domination. John Connor counters that move by sending Reese back to 1984 to protect his mother.
So far the plot sounds pretty familiar. The story begins to diverge from the original “Terminator” movie when the terminator is met in 1984 by Pops (also Arnold Schwarzenegger), another terminator who had been sent into the past to protect Sarah. Arnold must face Arnold in hand-to-hand combat.
A short time later Reese arrives in Los Angeles in 1984 and is promptly rescued from the police and a T-1000 terminator (Byung-hun Lee) that’s an upgrade from the Arnold T-800 terminator. Who sent the protective Arnold terminator? How did Sarah know when and where to find Reese? The theme of the movie is that there is no fate but what we make for ourselves. The twists and turns in the plot prove that axiom to be true.
While it is the fifth movie in the franchise, “Terminator Genisys” is less a sequel and more of a re-boot of the franchise. It borrows some of the storyline from the original “Terminator” movie while changing the story enough to make the movie fresh and original as well as providing a perfect segue for the two planned sequels.
There are plenty of action scenes for even the most die-hard action fan, but there are also well-timed brief moments of downtime and humor. Don’t think too much about the paradoxes of time travel in the movie, you’ll give yourself a headache and discover few answers. Just enjoy the movie for what it is, a throwback to action movies of the 1980s and 1990s, when real action stars ruled Hollywood.
Given the quality of the recent movies Schwarzenegger has starred in, you probably wouldn’t expect too much from him in “Terminator Genisys.” You would be wrong. This is his best performance in years. He’s tough, tender, deadly, loyal, and funny, all in equal measures. It’s a vintage Arnold performance.
Fans of the franchise will love “Terminator Genisys.” It goes back to the roots of the franchise and is the best in the series since “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” in 1991. In a sea of underwhelming films, “Terminator Genisys” may be the surprise of the summer.
Grade: A-
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and gunplay throughout, partial nudity, and brief strong language