What’s remarkable is that this fifth Terminator is worthwhile precisely because of its franchise cash-in excessiveness. It’s at once an eminently satisfying actioner, jackknifing tractor-trailers and vertiginous helicopter chases and all, as it is a passably thought-provoking comment on memory – headily engaging with the very nostalgia it intends to evoke.
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The story isn’t just confusing, it’s a betrayal to anyone who’s invested brain cells in the Terminatorverse over the past 31 years.
The stunts and CGI and attendant action scenes are all simply fine; there’s nothing here with the stark simple power of “The Terminator” or the strong-but-strange brilliant inventions of “Terminator 2.” Instead, it’s all less-than-spectacular “spectacle” and plot convolutions twisting around themselves at the whim of the summer’s least interesting killer artificial intelligence.
For all its initial playfulness, the script never rises to the level of surreal, cortex-tickling pleasure it seems to be aiming for, and for all its self-awareness it’s weirdly devoid of humor.
The setpieces, in addition to mostly rehashing better scenes from earlier films, feel thrown together to serve the effects, and the effects look far less astonishing than anything in Cameron’s first two films.
Everything's at stake yet nothing comes to much in Terminator Genisys.
The fifth installment of the Terminator series cannot overcome the weight of its convoluted time travel leaps, its strained attempts at injecting twists everywhere, a clunky opening, and a painfully clumsy finish.
Someone describes the T-800 as "nothing but a relic from a deleted timeline." Too harsh to lay on Schwarzenegger yet, but certainly it applies to the Terminator franchise.
Terminator Genisys is a reasonably entertaining and niftily executed sci-fi action-thriller, and yet its ingenuity and craftsmanship are all in service of justifying its existence, resulting in a sequel that can be appreciated for its cleverness but otherwise regarded with a certain amount of ambivalence.
Action scenes are accumulated as if mandated by a stop-watch and almost invariably seem like warmed-over versions of stuff we've seen before, in Terminator entries and elsewhere.