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REVIEW- Schwarzenegger shines in 'Terminator: Genisys,' but what about the rest?


The good news about movie sequels is that you get to see some of your favorite action heroes once again reprise their famous movie roles.


The bad news is that sequels hardly ever recapture the magic of any of its predecessors, and sometimes, you wish that some things were simply better left as they were.


Terminator: Genisys can sometimes be a little of both. Let’s get to it.Credit: www.slashfilm.com


It’s the year 2029. John Connor (Jason Clarke), now the leader of Resistance and leading the fight against machines, receives word that Skynet, the artificial intelligence system, will attack the past and future, changing the course of history in the process. As a result, Connor plans to attack Skynet’s primary defense mainframe, as well as a time machine hidden at a previously unknown location, with help from his right hand man Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney).


Connor and Reese end of destroy the mainframe, but they’re too late from stopping a T-800 (sent by Skynet) from going back to the year 1984 to try and kill John’s mother, Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke) before she gives birth to him. John Connor then sends Reese back in time to save his mother and keep the course of history intact. While Reese is traveling, however, he sees his mentor being attacked by one of the Resistance soldiers. Reese then has memories of himself as a young child. in these memories comes a warning that Genisys (an operating system that can theoretically take over the world) will become Skynet in 2017.


After arriving in 1984, the T-800 attempts to kill Sarah, but is stopped by her and “The Guardian” (Arnold Schwarzenegger), an “aged” but reprogrammed T-800. After Kyle is rescued by the two after being attacked by a T-1000, he learns that the historical timeline has already been altered. Sarah, who has been protected by the Guardian (affectionately known as "Pops") since she was a child, knows all there is to know about Skynet, Judgment Day, and the fact that Reese will be the father of her son, John. With help from the Guardian, Sarah and Reese travel to 2017 in an attempt to stop the launching of Genisys. They also encounter John Connor, who may or may not have ulterior motives in reuniting with his parents.


If you’re confused right now, you’re not alone. The plot of Terminator: Genisys is probably one of the messiest and most convoluted in American cinematic history. In all likelihood, the viewer will ask themselves a series of questions regarding some of the more head-scratching scenes before and after the movie has ended. While Clarke plays John Connor with conniving sincerity, he really doesn’t get ample screen time compared to Courtney and Clarke (Game of Thrones), who fails to match the same gun-toting, butt-kicking intensity Linda Hamilton provided in the role of Sarah Connor from the first two Terminator films.


Not all is lost, however. The main attraction in the Terminator movies (minus 2009’s Terminator Salvation) continues to be Schwarzenegger, whose classic one liners (though still humorous, if not played out), are more or less used for nostalgic purposes than anything. That being said, Schwarzenegger still has a strong presence, despite the fact that an aging robot could be perceived as a tough sell. The film, despite its heavy use of action scenes and special effects, surprisingly doesn’t feel bogged down by either one (although it’s about time filmmakers stop attacking the Golden Gate Bridge). At times, the movie (particularly in the beginning) even manages to capture some of the ambience (which shouldn’t be mistaken for quality) of the original 1984 film, including a scene where Schwarzenegger fights his younger self.


If you can decipher the twisted plot lines and you’re up for seeing the Governator on the big screen, reprising one of his most famous roles for probably the final time, then check out Terminator Salvation.



Contact Joe Vallee at jvallee@philly2philly.com


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Photo: slashfilm.com