Movie Review: Terminator: Genisys (PG13)
Arnie's the heart and soul of the fifth instalment in the Terminator series
Convoluted, explosive, action-packed, entertaining.
Did I mention confusing?
After mulling overnight, I still don't get the complicated time-travelling plotline.
This fifth instalment of the Terminator franchise is a reboot of the man-versus-machine story created by James Cameron in 1984.
Director Alan Taylor (Thor: The Dark World), with the help of writers Laeta Kalogridis and Patrick Lussier, has given the revered mythology a new spin.
In this new film, we meet the characters in the future, the year 2029 to be exact, and humanity has largely been decimated by self-aware machines ruled by a system call Skynet.
Human resistance leader John Connor (Jason Clarke) sends his brave right-hand-man Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) back in time to 1984 to stop a ruthless robot assassin from killing his mother Sarah (Emilia Clarke) before she gives birth to him.
That's the premise we are familiar with, but Terminator: Genisys throws a curveball that changes the story's trajectory completely.
There's a Terminator, the liquid metal T-1000 (Lee Byung Hun), waiting for Kyle in an ambush. But then Sarah shows up, no longer the helpless, vulnerable waitress Kyle's expecting her to be.
She even has her own doting Terminator guardian (Arnold Schwarzenegger), the T-800 whom she affectionately calls Pops.
It's quickly explained that the T-1000 was sent further back in time to kill her when she was nine, and it was Pops who rescued her and raised her, teaching her how to kill Terminators that come her way.
Another twist here is setting John up as the main villain, one who's been compromised by Skynet and has become a virtually indestructible and extremely advanced cyborg.
Also, Judgment Day is no longer in 1997 but 2017.
Terminator: Genisys is a film that will work for those who have watched the earlier movies, particularly Terminator 1 and 2 -- and it pays homage to them well.
For those coming into this cold, it's best to just go with the flow and don't bother to try and understand the leapfrogging through time.
It's also really hard to believe that Sarah is a bad ass.
Clarke may be great as the Mother of Dragons in the Game Of Thrones series, but she's no Sarah Connor.
Wearing black leather clothing doesn't make one a tough chick. She's all boobs and curves, and too sweet-looking to be taken seriously, certainly not one who's been training since nine to fight human-killing robots.
The petite actress is nowhere close to her predecessor Linda Hamilton, or even Lena Headey, who played Sarah in the 2008 TV series Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.
She also has no chemistry with Courtney, who has zero charisma. Same can be said for (Jason) Clarke, but at least as a baddie, he gets to have a bit more fun.
So it's up to Arnie to save the day - literally.
And even at 67, he still cuts a very imposing figure, something his younger co-stars sorely lack.
The hulking actor plays the protective guardian role extremely well, a trait we first saw in Terminator 2.
Ironically, for one who plays a robot, Arnie is the heart and soul to Terminator: Genisys, and is the also one who injects some comedy, mostly at his own expense.
He even has a new catchphrase, "I'm old but not obsolete", a brilliant attempt in addressing his ageing in the series -- and paving the way for the subsequent sequels.
Terminator: Genisys doesn't match the giddying heights of Terminator 2: Judgment Day, but much like the recent Jurassic World, it's an entertaining revival of an age-old franchise.