‘Terminator 2: Judgement Day’ became a part of cinema history, not just because of its huge success and one-liners that sit firmly within the modern lexicon, but because it made its way onto a very small but prestigious list - sequels better than the original. This is an honour rarely bestowed. But here comes the catch: some (not many) but some believed that if the second film was so good then surely any that follow would be even better, right? The third film in the franchise ‘Rise of the Machines’ came about without the series original writer and director James Cameron, 12 years after the last installment - mistake the first, of many. The fourth film ‘Salvation’, six years later, rebooted the entire franchise... without its star Arnold Schwarzenegger (this is the part where you slap your forehead with embarrassment). Now we arrive in 2015, yet another six years later (and somehow 18 years after the world should have ended) with ‘Genisys’. I don’t know who it was that was supposedly asking for these sequels but here they are, and more importantly here we are at the dawn of Terminator’s second reboot - there’s a couple Australians, a doctor and a mother of dragons to guide us through the new future - should we follow them?
It’s 2029, John Connor (Jason Clarke) and the resistance are about to take down Skynet once and for all - but not before Skynet send a Terminator back to kill Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke). John then sends Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) back too to stop... you know what, we all know this part, but the 1984 Kyle lands in is not the 1984 he (or we) was expecting. No longer the damsel in distress, Sarah is a badass with her own pet Terminator that’s been awaiting Kyle’s arrival for over a decade. The past has changed, creating a new timeline, an alternate future and changed the game. Sarah and Kyle must now time travel themselves to stop ‘Genisys’, an operating system that is the dawning of Skynet, from ever going live.
T-800s, T-1000s, who gives a T!? We’ve seen it all before. Luckily for us the filmmakers aren’t taking it audience for a fool and are well aware of this fact. So while still giving us the old which they know we love, they’ve put some fresh spins on things for the older, wiser but not obsolete viewers - most importantly, pitting Arnie against Arnie in an impressive feat of GCI combining the old and new in a battle royale. And once that wow factor is done and dusted after only a few minutes we’re back to same same but different. Throughout the entire franchise they’ve never strayed from our four core characters, combined with the same premise of time travel to change the inevitable future they’ve painted themselves in to a corner... a very confusing and convoluted corner. We’ve seen it all before, five times now by my count, and we always know that the end is never really the end - we just sigh and wait a few more years for the next one to roll around.
Look, having the big guy back is still a thrill and seeing him battle 1984 Arnie is spectacular, plus the references to his age are fun, but that fun can only entertain you for so long before you crave meat. Bring back Cameron I say - he seems to be the only one who can save us now.