"Terminator Genisys" Review: Please Stop Coming Back!

I’ve never had a dog, but I imagine “Terminator Genisys” is like having to put your dog down. You either don’t watch it because you don’t want to see what was once a great franchise brought to ruin, or you watch it because you’re trying to support it when it needs to take the long rest! It seems you can’t teach an old dog new tricks with this one.

The film starts with Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) on the crux of going back in time to protect Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke), the mother of John Connor (Jason Clarke), from being killed by the machines. When he goes back to 1984, nothing is as it should be. At least, it’s not how it should be in our minds if you know the “Terminator” cannon. Sarah is already the militant leader from “Judgment Day” because Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Terminator has been with her since she was a little girl.  Kyle, the man who was supposed to have the answers for Sarah, is now the fish out of water trying to catch up. 

As the film unfolds, the issue becomes the fact that there are so many wrinkles in time that it’s hard to tell what’s going on, but more importantly why! Why did Judgment Day get moved back from 1997 to 2017? Why is Skynet playing a game of cat and mouse through time? Why is Arnold fighting the T-800 version of himself? If you ask me, it’s just to make another terminator film. 

The film has a few cool special FX, and introduces a new terminator that seems indestructible. Yet all of its FX and even Arnold fighting his younger self (which is kind of cool) can not mask over (no pun intended) the poor script. The film becomes more of a butterfly effect, that is difficult to keep up with the longer it goes on. When you throw in the lackluster performances by its leads, you have a movie that you will check your watch multiple times throughout.

I’d go as far as to say this film didn't need to be made. The terminator ride hasn’t been a good one since “Judgement Day”. Sometimes you have to just let an old dog go. In the case of cinema, it’s possible to have a franchise pick back up but it takes writing from the heart and not for a check. Unfortunately, it feels like this was put together for the latter reason. “Geniysys” should have searched its genesis and took notes.

Rating: D


Kevin Sampson

The fact that Kevin Sampson is not just a film critic, but a writer, producer, and director as well makes his understanding of cinema even better. Coming from a theoretical and hands on approach, he understands both sides of the struggle of viewing and creating great works. After receiving an MFA in Film & Electronic Media from American University in Washington, D.C in 2011, Kevin took his love for film to the next level by creating and producing Picture Lock, an entertainment website, podcast, and hour long film review TV show that runs on Arlington Independent Media’s public access station in Arlington, VA. The show covers new releases, classic films, and interviews with local filmmakers in the DMV area. He is also a member of the Washington DC Area Film Critics Association and African American Film Critics Association. He is currently looking forward to filming his first feature film in the near future. He believes that film is one of the most powerful art forms in the world, and he hopes that he can use the craft to inspire others and make a difference in it.