“Terminator Genisys” begins just as the sci-fi time-travel story did in 1984’s original “Terminator.” It’s 2027, the final battle between global computer Skynet and human rebels. “If we die tonight,” says resistance leader John Connor (Jason Clarke), “mankind dies with us. Now we take back our world!” Maybe. Connor sends Sgt. Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) back to 1984 to protect Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke) from an assassin Terminator programmed to kill John’s to-be mother and, thus, prevent him from being born. But Reese lands in an alternate timeline where Sarah waits for him with Guardian Terminator “Pops” (Arnold Schwartzenegger) and new enemies. That is, I think, the setup for this confusing fifth “Terminator” sci-fi action adventure.
Can Sarah and Kyle stop Judgment Day — Skynet’s coup — from happening on any timeline? How can they do that? Must we wait for the next “Terminator” installment to find out? Oh, no — that means there’ll be another one.
Arnold Schwartzenegger as Guardian Terminator (aka “Pops”) has the most fun in “Terminator Genisys.” He says his new one-liner (“Old but not obsolete”) three times, in case we miss it, but it’s no “Hasta la vista, baby” or “I’ll be back.” Jason Clarke and Emilia Clarke (not related) play adult son John and mother Sarah Connor, both before and after he is born. Bryant Prince is young Kyle Reese who gets important advice (“Genisys is Skynet”) from his older self, played by one-note Jai Courtney.
Others in the cast include Byung-hun Lee as T-1000 (remember Robert Patrick in Terminator 2?) and J.K. Simmons as police officer O’Brien who has the best line: “Time travel makes my head hurt.” Matt Smith is Alex.
“Terminator Genisys,” a sci-fi action thriller, seeks to reboot the 31-year franchise, sending Kyle Reese back to another timeline where, according to Paramount Pictures’ publicists, “nothing is as he expected it to be.” Critics agree. It’s “constant confusion” and “impenetrable nonsense,” according to USAToday and Wall Street Journal critics. “It’s the loudest and stupidest movie of the year,” according to The Lima News reviewer — that would be me.
Characters in “Genisys” are confused as well. “Who are you people?” Officer O’Brien says. “Are you you?” Sarah says to Pops. “If the past can change,” Sarah says, “so can the future.” And, at the end, anticipating sequels, Kyle predicts, “Though questions remain, we’ll search for answers together. One thing we know — the future is not set.” But it’s all gobbledygook to me.
Rated PG-13 for sci-fi violence, gunplay, partial nudity, and language, “TG” runs 125 minutes. Best to avoid this one.
“Terminator Genisys” —
Franchise is nearly dead;
Never mind No. 5,
Watch 1 or 2 instead.