Terminator Genisys, directed by Alan Taylor, is the fifth installment in the Terminator series. The movie marks Arnold Schwarzenegger's much awaited return to the movie franchise that over the years has become synonymous with him. Terminator Genisys serves as a retroactive continuity to the previous films in the series. In other words, the characters are more or less the same, only they exist in an alternate reality. While Schwarzenegger reprises his iconic role, that of a Terminator T-800 (Model 101), the parts of Sarah Connor, John Connor and Kyle Resse are played by Emilia Clarke, Jason Clarke and Jai Courtney, respectively.
Terminator Genisys begins in the year 2029 with John Connor, the messianic leader of mankind's war against Skynet, preparing for one last decisive attack at the enemy's main defense grid in Los Angeles with the aim of destroying its hidden weapon stored in a remote facility. But, before John and men can reach the weapon, Skynet plays a masterstroke forcing John to send Kyle Reese, his most trusted friend, back in time to protect Sarah Connor. When Kyle arrives in 1984 Los Angeles, much to his dismay, he soon learns that nothing is as he expected it to be. With his back against the wall, he must quickly come to terms with the reality and do whatever it takes to fulfill his mission.
"Overall, Terminator Genisys has nothing new to offer but it does succeed in making us experience several bouts of nostalgia."
Alan Taylor, who has made a name for himself making television shows like Game of Thrones, certainly seems like an odd choice to direct a film like Terminator Genisys. After all, the movie belongs to a franchise that was once helmed by a filmmaker of James Cameron's pedigree. Well, Taylor, to his credit, appears to have done his best to remain faithful to the old themes and character arcs. In fact, it wouldn't be farfetched to assume that Taylor and his writers, Laeta Kalogridis and Patrick Lussier, are Terminator film fans themselves. For, all they seem interested in achieving with Terminator Genisys is to create a sense of nostalgia for the enthusiasts of the film franchise by trying to repackage the best elements from The Terminator (1984) and Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991).
The strongest point of Terminator Genisys is its state of the art computer-generated imagery and visual effects, which get further enhanced when experienced in 3D. The quality of acting ranges from average to good. While Emilia Clarke looks convincing as Sarah Connor, she fails to match the raw intensity that Linda Hamilton exuberated while playing the part in the first two films of the series--be it the action or romance. Jason Clarke is delightful to watch as John Connor but Jai Courtney appears to be trying a bit too hard, especially in some of the lighter scenes he shares with Schwarzenegger. As for Schwarzenegger, while his attempts at humor come across as rather forced, he looks absolutely brilliant in the action sequences.
Overall, Terminator Genisys has nothing new to offer but it does succeed in making us experience several bouts of nostalgia. For the action movie enthusiasts, Terminator Genisys is nothing short of a delectable feast. The movie reminds us why we love the T-800 in the first place. It makes us realize why all kinds of humanoid robots that we see in various movies are pale in comparison to the T-800. A character in Terminator Genisys does well to remind us that the T-800 may be old but it's certainly not obsolete. As the saying goes, 'Old is Gold'. Perhaps, the best way to approach Terminator Genisys is to see it as a fan's tribute to The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day. It's a movie for the fans, by the fans. So, watch it for the love of T-800 and the man who has immortalized it: Arnold Schwarzenegger!