THERE is one too many protagonist in director Alan Taylor's Terminator Genisys. We know Arnold Schwarzenegger is around for this fifth instalment in this series that started with James Cameron in 1984.
We know Arnie's Terminator acts as a protector of Sarah Connor (now played by Games of Thrones' Emilia Clarke). In fact, their father-daughter relationship forms the emotional heart of this loud film.
The extraneous protagonist is Kyle Reese, now played by Jai Courtney (Insurgent and Water Diviner). In the first film, the virginal Reese was sent back from the future to 1984 to save Sarah from the Terminator. He had sex with her to conceive John Connor, leader of the rebels. Michael Biehn had an urgency to his role and his slight but lean frame gave him a vulnerable and sensitive feel.
Courtney, on the other hand, is all muscles, and brash, too. His John spends way too much time arguing with the Terminator (Arnie), and his proclamation that he is willing to die to save Sarah holds as much water as a dried-up dam.
In this fifth film, John (Jason Clarke of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) and his rebels are on the verge of defeating Skynet, the computer programme that initiated this whole mess by triggering a nuclear war. He predicts that Skynet has a trump card up its sleeve, which is a time- travel machine.
Reese (Courtney), a minion and lapdog of John, is infatuated with Sarah and volunteers to send his hard body back to 1984. In 1984, he faces handsome South Korean actor Byung-Hun Lee, or the liquid silver Terminator, who first appeared in the second film in 1991.
Sarah (Clarke) crashes into the scene to save Reese's ass, who with an ageing Arnie/Terminator, repulse the liquid silver dude. They say they've been preparing for 10 years for Reese's arrival.
Firstly, who gave them the warning 10 years ago? Secondly, the liquid silver dude first appears in only in 1991.
Arnie, as usual, steals the show with his pithy lines. His wrinkles and grey hair work well with his grimace and forced smile. His favourite line is "Old but not obsolete", which should be the tagline for the American Association of Retired Persons.
His Terminator's bond with Sarah is sweet. He's naturally protective of his "daughter" when another muscular dude pops into the picture (Reese) but he insists on her to "mate" with him to conceive John.
The trio want go to 2017, the year in which Skynet's Genisys operating system goes into effect. They hope to put a stop to Skynet once and for all and prevent the nuclear war.
For awhile, I thought that the film may delve deeper into its superficial critique that people spend too much time on their smartphones and tablets, making it easy for technology to infiltrate their gadgets.
But noooo, it's quickly back to pulverising action. There's a new baddie, or antagonist, in this film. However, I find its weak point unbelievable.
One would have thought that Skynet would have known about the baddie's flaw before sending it to 2017 to take down the trio. But the marauding trio easily find the baddie's character flaw.
The film's climax is reminiscent of so many breaking-into-heavily-guarded-facility films. Even the fourth one had a similar ending. So you can pretty much guess how the ending turns out.
The new Sarah, while having spunk and oozing sexuality, lacks the commanding presence of the old Sarah (Linda Hamilton). If she's had 10 years to prepare for this event, why doesn't she have the sinewy body of the old Sarah?
The film's introduction of a fractured timeline is nothing new. This was first shown in time-travel film Back to Future II (1989).
2 1/2 out of 5