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‘Terminator Genisys’ Review: Starring Emilia Clarke, Jai Courtney & Arnold Schwarzenegger

It’s been over 30 years since James Cameron’s The Terminator debuted and now comes the fifth installment in the Terminator franchise: Terminator Genisys. When The Terminator hit theatres in 1984, it changed the way audiences viewed science fiction films, cyborgs and most importantly how powerful a line of dialogue can be (i.e. “I’ll be back.”) Even more so when the superior sequel Terminator 2: Judgment Day came out in 1991, which still remains one of the most powerful films to date. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines welcomed back Arnold Schwarzenegger and some new actors to refresh the franchise and had one hell of an ending, while Terminator Salvation was a big stinking mess. Now the franchise has come back to its roots, welcomes new faces and comes fully packed with intense moments and electrifying action sequences.

The year is 2029. Judgment Day has occurred and John Connor (Jason Clarke) is leading the resistance against Skynet and the machines in order to take back their world. After Connor and the soldiers take down Skynet, Connor has his right hand man Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) time travel back to 1984 to protect his mother Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke) from being killed. When Reese arrives in 1984, it’s not the world he thought it would be, most of all with Sarah being completely different than as described, far from waiting tables at the local diner. If the future can change, then so can the past.

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Terminator Genisys is definitely confusing at times and tries to overly explain the plot and what is going on from scene to scene, but the major saving grace and heart of the film are Jai Courtney, Emilia Clarke and Arnold Schwarzenegger. These three actors are clearly having a lot of fun on screen and look damn good while flipping buses and firing machine guns. Courtney gives Reese a stern but loving personality, Clarke is reminiscent of a young Linda Hamilton and Schwarzenegger reprises his role as the Terminator like he was itching to play it again.

Courtney and Clarke have so much chemistry and great moments together. These two actors have a connection immediately and whether they are arguing about the fate of their son or fighting side by side, it’s like they’ve known each other for years. Clarke and Schwarzenegger have a very loving father and daughter-like relationship and this is the most we have ever seen the Terminator emit an emotional connection to a human. Though young John Connor and the Terminator have a special relationship in T2, it’s different here since there is so much more history behind the characters. As much fun as it is to see the Terminator back in action blasting a T-1000 made of liquid metal and firing guns left and right, it’s more interesting to see his relationship with those around him.

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One could argue that with the plot being so different here in Genisys than what we got in The Terminator is a slap in the face to fans, but this storyline feels fresh, unique and fun to watch. It’s truly a rebooting of the series and not making it a shot for shot remake of the original.

Genisys pays homage to the first two films, with bringing the original T-800 back, the liquid metal T-1000 in a near identical police uniform that Robert Patrick wore in T2, the Terminator articulating a smile like the scene in the special edition cut of T2, and several other nuggets that only fans of the films would recognize.

Terminator Genisys may not be a perfect film and it definitely has flaws and plot holes, but with Emilia Clarke and Jai Courtney leading the story and Arnold Schwarzenegger back as our favorite cyborg it turns out this reboot is an action filled, summer fun blockbuster. Let’s hope the franchise continues with sequels using the same cast so that we get more scenes with Courtney and Clarke!

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