Terminator Genisys (2015)

Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Emilia Clarke, Jai Courtney, Jason Clarke, JK Simmons, Dayo Okeniyi, Matt Smith, Courtney B Vance

Directed by: Alan Taylor

Rating: 1 2 3 and a half

Arnold Schwarzenegger: old but not obsolete

Old but not obsolete.

So claims Arnie's deadpan Terminator when Kyle Reese questions how a robot can look so aged. But while Schwarzenegger's famous cyborg may be far from the scrapheap, can the same be said for the Terminator franchise, which has fallen sadly into decline since the utterly brilliant Terminator 2: Judgment Day?

Of course, this version of the T-800 is pretty old: he's been around since Sarah Connor was nine years old, protecting the Mother of the Resistance (played by the Mother of Dragons herself, Emilia Clarke) since another terminator tried to get in before Arnie's 1984 incarnation. So by the time Reese gets back to 1984, things are very different than they were in 1984 in, er, 1984.

Oh do keep up.

Jai Courtenay as Kyle Reese and Jason Clarke as John Connor in Terminator GenisysOr... don't. because by this, the fifth instalment in the Terminator story, timelines have become so tangled and Judgment Day rescheduled so many times there's really no point trying to get your head round it. (FYI Judgment Day has now been postponed to 2017 – the future! No, wait, only two years away. Arnie isn't the only one feeling old...)

Just sit back and enjoy, then? Yes and no. If you're a fan of T1 and 2 ( and possibly 4 - is anyone a fan of 3? Ew!) there's lots to enjoy about the playful way the films intersect in this robot free-for-all. But there are also plenty of annoying discrepancies too (particularly if you factor in 4, which I don't think the scriptwriters did). And there's also a sneaky suspicion to harbour that the special effects haven't moved on greatly from the groundbreaking, jaw-dropping CGU of 2 back in 1991.

Emilia Clarke as Sarah Connor in Terminator GenisysCast-wise, Jason Clarke is all wrong as John Connor but I guess Christian Bale's too busy and Edward Furlong too screwed up. Emilia Clarke, however, is relatively convincing as Sarah Connor, which given what a fan I am of Linda Hamilton in the role is praise indeed. JK Simmons puts in an entertaining cameo as the only police officer in the franchise to ever piece together what's going on; Jai Courtney is acceptable as Reese and Arnie is… Arnie. And what more could we ask?

So yes, it's all a bit silly and pseudo-complicated – but also oddly sobering, when you consider that the new Skynet rises to power through a revolutionary app designed to network together all the disparate facets of our online lives. Still, until Mark Zuckerberg invents time travel, we're probably all fairly safe.

And yet, oddly, disconcertingly, among the seat-quaking explosions and bone/metal-crunching punch ups, the question hovers: if there is no fate but what we make, are we really making a good one?

We'll have to wait 'til 2017 to find out...

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