2015’s Terminator Genisys is the fifth entry in the Terminator franchise – and the second attempt at rebooting it following Terminator Salvation in 2009. Its lacklustre reception meant that yet another reboot was attempted in 2019 with Terminator: Dark Fate, but even with the return of James Cameron and Hamilton that film fizzled at the box office putting the franchise on hold.
Arnold Schwarzenegger carries Terminator Genisys on his broad shoulders, injecting humour and old school star charisma into the film which often struggles under many of its own concepts. Genisys is a myriad of ideas with its tangled plot twisting and weaving into many knots, however when you unravel it all, it’s effectively a retread of Cameron’s films, minus the originality and ingenuity.
James Cameron’s The Terminator was a tight and lean sc-fi/thriller – a film that played much like a horror. Schwarzenegger’s unstoppable robotic force was a terrifying villain that couldn’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear – and it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you’re dead. The sequel played on it’s star’s heroic persona, positioning him as the protector who faces-off against Robert Patrick’s liquid metal T1000. Patrick was another casting masterstroke, his small frame a wonderful counterpoint to Schwarzenegger’s’ bulk.
The best moments in Terminator Genisys come from the mind of James Cameron. The script by Laeta Kalogridis and Patrick Lussier makes a valiant attempt to tie all the new moments into the past but they haven’t got the driven sincerity of Cameron’s dialogue. This feels like blockbuster scriptwriting 101, ticking the box for the odd character moment until the next set piece. This may have seemed so much better if they weren’t tying themselves so closely to two genre classics.
Budgeted at $155 million,Terminator Genisys grossed $89.7 million at the US box office and $440.6 million worldwide in 2015.