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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Jul 6, 2015

Review: "Terminator Genysys" - A Reboot That Breaks A Lot Of Rules

"TERMINATOR GENESYS" is the fifth movie in the franchise that started in 1984 with "The Terminator", followed by "Terminator 2: Judgement Day" in 1991, "Terminator 3: The Rise of the Machines" in 2003 and "Terminator Salvation" in 2009. It also spawned a TV series in 2008,
"Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles". James Cameron's original movie (this really boosted his career and he went on to do "Titanic" and "Avatar") is a perfect blend of action, time travel with liberal touches of humor and has withstood the test of time. Its sequels were not as good, especially "Salvation" directed by McG, with Christian Bale as John Connor, that was really a big disappointment.

The central conflict in the franchise is that machines have overtaken the world because of a synthetic intelligence called Skynet and the human race is nearly extinct and is battling for survival through the Resistance. They're still at it in "Terminator Genesys". Don't ask too many questions about the time-traveling elements as they tend to create more questions than answers. Just sit back and enjoy the ride.

John Connor (Jason Clarke, "Zero Dark Thirty") sends Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney, "Divergent") from 2029 once again to the past in 1984 to save Sarah (Emilia Clarke, who's the Dragon Queen Daenerys Targaryen in "Game of Thrones"), who will be John's mother. John has to be born because he'll be the leader of the Resistance. He doesn't tell Kyle that he is meant to be his father.

The big difference now is that Sarah is so attached to the killer robot Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger), who she called Pops because he took care of her since she was 9 years old. You might find it hard to suspend your disbelief but the time line has also been altered as Cyberdine, the company of Skynet, is about to launch Genesys, a program that will prove to be disastrous to humans if it's not obliterated by our heroes. There's another big twist that seriously messes up the plot, but we won't reveal it here as it will be a truly massive spoiler. Hint: you'll get to see the weirdest family reunion ever seen on screen. As one character quips: "How'd you end up in 2017?"

It's enough to say that as far as eye-popping special effects (we saw this in IMAX 3D) are concerned, you won't get disappointed. There are massive car chases, gun battles and a very amusing scene where Arnold S fights himself. One is Arnold as he is now ("old but not obsolete", he says), the other a very young Arnold. And in all fairness to Arnold, he brings the same kind of humorous portrayal that made him a perfect killer robot, from the opening sequence up to the ending.

"Genesys" is directed by Alan Taylor, who did some episodes of "Games of Thrones" and helmed "Thor: The Dark World" in 2013. He breaks a lot of rules in doing his reboot of the story that often defies logic, but he does succeed in coming up with a very fast paced sci-fi actioner that is fairly well acted by everyone, including J.K. Simmons (who just won the Oscar best supporting actor award for "Whiplash") as a police officer who has had similarly hilarious encounters with the robots in past "Terminator" flicks. And take note that none of the major actors in this movie is American. Jason is Aussie from Queensland, Jai is from Sydney, Emilia is British, Arnold is Austrian and another Terminator is played by Korean star Byung Hun Lee. Imagine all of them meeting and working with each other in America.