Recycle, recycle, we are going to recycle! So says Peppa Pig, who speaks for the producers of Terminator: Genisys, the stupefyingly bad fifth instalment of the sci-fi series.
The last time there was genuine excitement for a Terminator film was 1991, when James Cameron’s sequel delivered the gold standard for action, special effects and zinger pay-off lines. Time has not been kind to the franchise.
Paramount acquired the rights from Cameron to use all the series trademarks; and promptly blended them together to produce a soulless mega-mix of DOA dialogue, overwrought plotting and moribund set-pieces. Where to even start?
Putting the “car boot sale” into reboot, the main players in the story are recast, except for Schwarzenegger’s T-800. We’re in a future where resistance leader, John Connor (Jason Clarke) is about to win the war against the machines. But first he has to send Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) back to the past (again) to protect his own mother, now played by Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones).
And then things get Quantum Leapy. Everyone seems to have their own time machine, and a major plot twist is revealed (spoilered in some trailers) which ups the ante on ridiculous logic, and sub-Matrix psychobabble.
The only element which almost works is the extension of Arnie’s role as the protector. Here, his T-800 has been looking after Sarah Connor since she was a kid. Now she’s a young adult, he hangs around like a giant-sized sitcom dad. There are some laughs – but it’s still the same gag from 1991, (“Your foster parents are dead!” etc).
That sums it up. It’s the same gags and random elements of the earlier films, seemingly thrown together after an exec session with some A3 paper, darts and a bottle of whisky. Hey, a Korean T-1000!
Jai Courtney, as an actor, is clearly a very physically fit man. Emilia Clarke simpers attractively but has none of the ferocity (and wondrous hair) of Linda Hamilton.
Early on someone exclaims, “Whatever happens, it’s gotta be better than this.” Well, you said it.