No matter how you feel about Tom Cruise, there's no denying that the man is dedicated to his work, especially when it comes to the Mission: Impossible franchise. Whether he's climbing canyons or running across the tallest building in the world, Cruise is always willing to go the extra mile. No stunt doubles required. Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation opens with his most dangerous stunt yet, and it involves Cruise's character hanging onto dear life on the side of a plane that's currently taking off. If that doesn't sell you on this movie, maybe this one isn't for you. But why wouldn't you be sold? HE'S ON A FREAKING PLANE!
The film picks up a year or so after the events of Ghost Protocol. Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) is busy chasing down the syndicate, all while attempting to lead the CIA off his trail, as he's currently one of the most wanted men in the world. The syndicate, by the way, is a rogue nation of enemies, their mission being to take down every member of the IMF, including our hero Ethan. To take them down, Ethan must recruit his old team, consisting of William Brandt (Jeremy Renner), Benji (Simon Pegg) and Luther (Ving Rhames), as well as newcomer Ilsa (Rebecca Ferguson). With the IMF compromised and a possibility of this being their final mission, it's a race against the clock as they've got to take down the syndicate before things get out of hand. Well, more out of hand than they already are.
Before I begin to discuss this film's script, it's probably best to mention the action, and how freaking cool it is. The fact that Tom Cruise didn't die making this movie is proof that that man is immortal. His character goes through it all in this film, whether it's nearly falling off a plane to having to hold his breath for three straight minutes or else their entire mission fails. It's one of the few Mission: Impossible movies where I actually feared for his life, despite murmurs going around about a sixth installment.
The action in this film really took it up a notch, creating an environment of constant surprises. Watching this movie, I honestly didn't know where it was going, which is so unlike this franchise, excluding Ghost Protocol. The first three films are insanely predictable, but there's still so much fun to be had. With these last two movies, most of the realism is out of the door, but the intensity and the levels of fun have been dialled up to eleven. This film is constant blast. It's two hours of adrenaline with no downfall. It's edited tightly and directed smoothly, and the result is worthwhile.
The problem with having a first and second act as good as this one's is that once it's time for the third act, it has a lot to live up to. Unfortunately, this film's third act, while very very very far from being bad, just can't match the insanity of the first two. It's great and it's exciting and it's completely unpredictable, don't get me wrong, but it puts the film on a much smaller, yet more personal scale. This simultaneously works for and against the movie, and I think you can put two and two together and work out why.
But keeping the film going is the cast, most of them getting a chance to really show us what they've got. Tom Cruise is always charismatic and likeable, but I've talked about him so much in the past that I don't feel the need to discuss him any further. Let's talk about the rest of the cast. Simon Pegg really takes centre stage in this movie, having a more dominant role than he did in the previous two movies. This works to the film's advantage because that man is amazing and I've loved him in everything he's done. Then there's Jeremy Renner, who I also love in pretty much everything he's done, and in Rogue Nation, Renner does what he does best. He's sarcastic, witty and has the balls to try and outshine Tom Cruise. Good on you, Jeremy. Good on you.
An unexpected flaw that this movie has is how convoluted the plot can get. Maybe I'm just tired, but this plot occasionally got fairly hard to follow, more so in the second act, with characters changing sides so much that at one point in the movie I really had no idea who someone was working for and whether or not I could trust them. Things eventually cleared up, but it's not soon enough to stop the film from getting a bit too complex for its own good. And the reason this convolutedness is so unexpected is because we're dealing with a story we've seen a fair few times before. However, that doesn't make it any less entertaining than it was the last time.
To sum up, Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation won't win any awards for being the most original of movies, and the third act definitely lowers the stakes slightly, but the film as a whole is action packed, unpredictable and just damn entertaining. Tom Cruise just can't be stopped.
If you've seen one Judd Apatow movie, you pretty much know where this film is going. While I really like him as a director, he hasn't really left his comfort zone yet. He's given us plenty of laughs over the years, but he hasn't provided us with his big career changing movie yet. That being said, all of his films thus far (or at least the ones that I've seen) are damn entertaining, and Trainwreck is no exception.
The film, written by Amy Schumer in a semi-autobiographical fashion, follows the story of Amy (Amy Schumer). She's a drunk, weed smoking sex addict who goes through more men than she can count. She's assigned to write an article on a famous sports doctor named Aaron (Bill Hader). Intending on it being just a one night stand, Amy sleeps with the doctor, but in an unexpected change of course, she ends up staying the night, something she swore she would never do unless black out drunk. Edging her on, Aaron asks Amy out again, and would you believe me if I told you she says yes? Because she does. And that's our movie. At least, that's all I'm going to tell you about the movie as that's all that's advertised. In terms of plot, there's a little more to it than that, but I'll let you find out what without my help.
The main reason I was excited for this film was because of the two leads, Bill Hader and Amy Schumer. I love them both so much, Hader especially. Not only is he a great comedian and a great actor, but he just seems like a great guy. Then there's Amy Schumer, and damn, she's one funny woman. I don't care what anyone says, Schumer is a comedic genius, her standup providing me with so many laughs. When you put the two of them together, having them as romantic leads no less, in a film that's written by Schumer and directed by Apatow, what could go wrong?
The humour is a little slow to really kick in, the laughs in the first fifteen or so minutes being fairly inconsistent, but when the film gets going it really gets going, providing us with near constant humour and a lot of heart, emotionally drawing us into these character's lives and playing around with our hearts. This film is much more than just your run of the mill chick flick. Nicholas Sparks has nothing on Amy Schumer comparing a tampon to the red wedding from Game of Thrones. He has absolutely nothing.
An aspect of this movie that was surprisingly brilliant, however, was LeBron James. I'm not a sports person myself, much like the character of Amy in this movie and Bill Hader in real life, but like everyone, I know who he is. Obviously. I couldn't tell you one person who doesn't. What I didn't expect from him was comedy gold. He's sensational in his role, stepping in as Aaron's best friend. He has comedic timing and his jokes always work. There's not a single joke of his that didn't go down well.
The film can have you in hysterics, sure, but that doesn't stop it from being so familiar and predictable. While the film does throw in a few plot elements you don't see coming, once they're introduced you know exactly where they're going, and they go just there. There's no plot surprises, nothing obviously original and nothing that takes this film out of safe territory. Like all Judd Apatow movies, it plays everything by the books, although it still allows you to have a lot of fun with what's at play.
To sum up, Trainwreck dwells in familiar and predictable territory, but thanks to a likeable cast and an absolutely hilarious screenplay by Amy Schumer, full of both heart and humour, Trainwreck works on a lot of levels.
3 1/2 Stars
I'm going to take a wild guess and say that The Gallows is a film that was written without the intention being that it would wind up as a found footage horror movie. Do you know why I'm saying that? Because the premise of this movie is actually pretty damn good. Found footage horror movies are the same old thing, a jump scare here and a jump scare there. Nothing's new. With The Gallows, the plot is something that actually exists. I know. Crazy, right? Perhaps I'm wrong. Perhaps this was always meant to be a found footage movie. I like to think that it wasn't though, and if it wasn't, would it actually be good? Probably not, but it would certainly be better.
I'm not going to lie, I don't know who the main character of this movie is. One would presume it's Ryan (Ryan Shoos), the football player who we're first introduced to, although once the plot actually begins, he doesn't do an awful lot. I'm going to say it's Reese (Reese Mishler), who ultimately ends up with the most screen time. It's the day before the school production of the Gallows and Reese has the starring role. The problem is that he's an awful actor, only doing the play to impress his co-star, Pfeifer (Pfeifer Brown). Knowing this, Ryan and his girlfriend Cassidy (Cassidy Gifford) come up with an idea to break into the school at night and vandalise the set, post-poning the play. Ryan tagging along, they do this, only to find that "Charlie," a student who was killed in an accident during the last time this play was performed, still haunts the school, and he's out for revenge.
The Gallows had the potential to be much scarier than it winded up being. Like I said, the premise for this film is actually quite investing, taking a familiar concept and putting a new spin on it. The problem is that the concept itself ends up making less and less sense as the film goes on. As these characters travel through the school, attempting to find a way to escape, they learn more about "Charlie" and what he wants out of them, leading all the way up to one final twist that's both predictable and handled in a way that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.
Ignoring the plot, were the scares at least scary? Not frequently. There were some solid moments of build up here and there, except the way the film and the sounds have been edited, the scares can be seen a mile away, resulting in the ultimate payoff being completely underwhelming. You can tell whenever the film is going to throw a loud noise in your face or have a dead body pop in screen, whether it's the film dying down to silence or a lot of fast moving shots followed by a slow, panning one. The filmmakers manage to loose whatever tension they previously created.
Despite having a small cast, I just didn't care for any of the characters. They're all a bunch of assholes, and when it comes to films like these, they really rely on you to care about the protagonists. They require you to care for them, because as we all know, some of them are going to die, and the only way to get a reaction out of us is if we want the characters to survive. I didn't. They're douchey, dull, clichéd and the performances are two dimensional, the actor of Reese literally having one expression for the entire movie.
The film is unbelievably stupid as well. All the characters need to do is get out of the school before they're all killed by "Charlie." So what do they do? Talk, procrastinate, explore some other areas, go back and forth between places they've already been and flirt with each other. It's ridiculous. On top of that, the characters also make the dumbest, most out of character decisions, such as leaving one person behind or other dumb horror tropes like that. The Gallows is an hour and a half of painfully stupid horror clichés that leaves many unanswered questions, the main one being why the hell they didn't just take down the locked door at the start of the movie. They brought tools with them. They could literally unscrew it off the wall. A ghost can't stop you there.
To sum up, The Gallows is an hour and a half of horror clichés, douchey characters making stupid decisions for the sake of the plot, tension ruined by cheap and predictable jump scares, and acting that'll make you cringe. A good premise ruined once again.
There are two types of people. People who like The Fault In Our Stars and people who don't like The Fault In Our Stars. Both groups have sufficient arguments for each. I belong to the first group. Except I don't just like that movie. I love it. Too much for a male teenager, as a matter of fact. I've read the book and I've seen the movie three times, each time getting me pretty damn emotional. I've also read the Paper Towns book, and I loved that as well. This film had a lot to live up to, and did it succeed? Damn right it did.
Based on yet another book by John Green, the film follows the story of Quentin (Nat Wolff), also known as Q. He's living out his final weeks of high school with his two best friends, Radar (Justice Smith) and Ben (Austin Abrams). As a kid, Quentin was very close to his neighbour, Margo (Cara Delevingne), but as they got older the two of them grew further and further apart. That is until one night when she comes knocking on his window, asking him to help her out with a revenge plot against her closest friends, who have recently betrayed her in what she thinks is an unforgivable way. The two embark on a night of mischief, until the following morning when Q finds out that Margo has disappeared. Q soon begins to notice clues that have been left for him, leading him on a mission to find Margo and bring her back home.
When it comes to Paper Towns, I feel as though it'll reach a much broader audience than The Fault In Our Stars did. This film will bring back the audience of that movie, but it'll also get the people who didn't like that movie to come and take a peek, and I think they'll like what they see. The complains people had with that movie seem to be gone, replacing what some people described as a manipulative narrative (I personally disagree) with an honest and charming one. This film, while not as good, will reach a larger audience, and I'm okay with that.
Like most John Green books, this film speaks on a personal and relatable level, especially to people of my age. It's a truthful tale that leaves all the bullshit at the door. I'm not saying that this film is 100% believable, an eleven year old breaking into SeaWorld is a bit ridiculous, but I am saying that it's grounded and plays out how it needs to play out, without having too many hiccups. The film is really likeable as well, and I can't emphasise that enough. The film is far from cynical, proving it to be a worthwhile experience full of laughs and heart.
The film has so many things going on, yet it's all told through a small and intricate story. The premise of this movie appears to be fairly basic, a simple mystery story, but it has a lot to say, and it says all these things without throwing them into your face. It discusses friendship and love and being a teenager and how one should live their life and countless other things and it really hits hard. It was a complicated book to adapt and the film was able to tell everything it needed to tell without loosing anything the book was trying to say.
What takes centre stage, however, are the performances. The directing and the writing and the cinematography are all sublime, but it's the actors that make the movie. While all the performances are great, Nat Wolff is absolutely phenomenal as Q, although this is to be expected when he's starring in a movie. He's always great, and Paper Towns may just be his best performance yet. Then there's Cara Delevingne, who's in her first main role. While overall her performance is also excellent, there's still a few moments that come across slightly flat. But as a whole she manages to impress.
I always found the ending of the Paper Towns book to be fairly abrupt, everything building up to a finale that's not necessarily bad, but just rushed. When it comes to the movie, they change things up ever so slightly, drawing out the ending a bit more and making it one of the best parts of the movie. I'm having a hard time comparing this film to the book as I love both of them so much. Which one I prefer remains to be seen. I guess I'll have to go see the movie again. That's never a bad thing.
To sum up, Paper Towns manages to hold its ground when compared to the success of The Fault In Our Stars. It's honest, touching, unbelievably likeable and held together by some phenomenal performances. They even manage to fix the abrupt ending of the book.
Earlier in the year, us comic book fanboys got to witness the Avengers take down an army of evil robots. Next year we get to witness the first proper adaptation of Deadpool, a new X-Men movie, Captain America: Civil War, which includes Spider-Man and Black Panther, and Batman fighting Superman. But as for July of 2015, us comic book fanboys get to witness.... Ant-Man, because I don't see why not? To be fair, I've always liked the character of Ant-Man. In my opinion, he's an underrated superhero, and it looks like his time has finally come to enter the mainstream.
While the Avengers are off doing their own thing, this film focusses in on Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), a thief and a father who's trying to redeem himself after being released from prison. That's when Scott is approached by Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), a scientist formally known as Ant-Man. Hank comes to Scott with an offer. An offer that'll pay off big time. Low on cash and in desperate need to support his daughter, Cassie (Abby Ryder Fortson), Scott agrees to work with Hank, attempting to steal back Hank's technology from Darren Cross (Corey Stoll), who's using it to create weapons. Y'know, the usual bad guy stuff.
Ant-Man is a film that knows what it is and it plays off of that. Sure, all the jokes from the trailer where the concept of Ant-Man gets made fun of is completely out of the picture, but that doesn't mean the film's sense of self awareness is too. The film is fully self aware, putting its characters to full use and making the most of their potential. Their personalities are down pat, and the performances are even better. Like most actors in the MCU, these actors were born for these roles, and I couldn't be happier with how the casting turned out.
I am a comic book reader. I love them. When looking at all three incarnations of Ant-Man, the only one I haven't read much about is Scott Lang, so going into this film I didn't really know where his character was going, aside from the obvious fact that he'll be appearing in Captain America: Civil War next year. Just like with last year's Guardians of the Galaxy, this played to my advantage, and the result was completely enthralling. He felt fresh, rather than someone I know almost everything about. It's Marvel doing something new.
But that's this whole film. This entire thing is Marvel doing something new. Ever since Iron Man, Marvel has been taking giant risks, the biggest one so far being the shared universe. With every new film, they continue to take more and more risks, especially with last year's Guardians of the Galaxy, and oh how I regret giving that a mere 3.5 stars. It deserved so much more than that. But back to Ant-Man. Marvel took a leap, taking a character not a lot of people care about and turning him into someone we're going to love, and it works really well.
The plot is so unlike-Marvel, choosing to do a heist movie rather than an end of the world-type scenario. The formula was getting familiar and people were starting to pick up on that. So now we have Ant-Man, and although the plot is very un-Marvel, that doesn't necessarily make it new. It's the same old plot we've seen in dozens of other movies, except this time around it adds a superhero twist to the whole thing, but that doesn't stop it from feeling a bit 'been there, done that.'
Despite a familiar narrative, Ant-Man can still kick ass, and the action sequences in this film prove just that. They're not as frequent as the other Marvel movies, but when they're on it's hard not to be entertained by them. Seeing Ant-Man shrink and grow to punch people in the face is a constant blast, and the camera is used not only to make the scene look cool, but also to add another element of humour to the whole thing. Plus, it helps when the visual effects are practically flawless.
An element of this movie that I wasn't expecting was its heart. It's no tear-jerker, but it does manage to tangle its way into our hearts. Although the final outcome of everyone's relationship with each other can be seen a mile away, it adds a layer to the film that was missing from films such as Age of Ultron. That film was a visual representation of its robotic antagonist, and the result is far from perfect. I'm not saying that this is a perfect movie either, but I am saying that it knows how to be touching, so what else could you possibly want? An original story? An even sinister villain? The trailers to not ruin the whole plot? Good point.
I'm sure you're all aware of this already, but Ant-Man had a bit of a problematic pre-production, with Edgar Wright departing after years of work on the film. While I can only imagine how much better this film would've been if he was still at the helm, the current version is pretty damn good as well. Not every joke hits and plot-wise it's very predictable, but it's still an exciting and absolutely hilarious superhero film, and it ties into the MCU in more ways than you would expect. This film is just a lot of fun. It may not be Marvel's best, but it's a welcome entry nonetheless.
To sum up, Ant-Man has to work hard to earn its fanbase, unlike all but one of the Marvel films that came before it, and it does a damn good job at doing so, creating an entertaining, hilarious and exciting movie with plenty of pulse pounding action and a lot of heart.
3 1/2 Stars
Horror movies are made to scare you. They're made to terrify the hell out of you. It's their job. After watching the first Insidious movie, I felt just that. I felt terror. The film latched itself to me, just like the demons do in these movies. Obviously, I was eager to see the sequel, and I did just that.... only to find that it was utter shit, achieving nothing and providing little scares. I was worried about Insidious: Chapter 3. In fact, I didn't really care that it was a thing. Until my screening yesterday, I still didn't really care for it, shrugging it off as another cash-grab. Little did I realise that this time around, the film is actually pretty damn good.
Insidious: Chapter 3 takes the story back to the beginning, set before the events of the first two films. We follow the story of a teenager named Quinn (Stefanie Scott). Convinced her dead mum is watching over her, she visits retired psychic Elise (Lin Shaye), who reluctantly agrees to help her. However, the problem with contacting one member of the dead is that you open up an opportunity for all of them to respond. And one unexpected visitor does just that, latching itself to Quinn in an attempt to bring her into its demonic world where it wishes to enslave her. This visitor's name? The Man Who Can't Breathe (Michael Reid MacKay), and he gives the Darth Maul looking mother fucker from the first film a run for his money.
The demon in the film is utterly horrifying, his looks alone being enough to provide quite a few nightmares. He feels familiar at first, bit his portrayal is quite something. For the first two acts, practically every one of his appearances is enough to raise your heart beat, but this film makes the same mistake that the first film did during its third act. It shows too much of its antagonist. He becomes old, providing little scares as we're so used to his on-screen presence, but for the first two acts, he's one hell of a character.
Unfortunately, The Man Who Can't Breathe isn't the only demonic presence in this movie, as an old enemy of Elise's makes an appearance or two. Or future enemy. I'm not sure. This appearance is, of course, the bride (Tom Fitzpatrick). The character feels incredibly out of place, and really just serves as yet another connection to the first two movies. There's even a scene between the bride and Elise towards the end of the movie that's the most ridiculously hilarious scene in any horror movie from the last few years. It's stupid as hell and had my entire theatre laughing.
Despite some bumps, Insidious: Chapter 3 is actually really really scary, successfully building up tension and a near-constant sense of dread. First time director Leigh Whannell, whose previous credits mostly include acting and writing, understands how to make a horror movie. He's no James Wan, but hey, he's made just as many good Insidious films as Wan has. Whannell knows what we want out of this movie, giving us absolutely no false jump scares, but instead providing some serious tension right from the get go. Not all of his scares work, but when they do, they managed to scare the living daylights out of me.
An aspect of the first two Insidious movies that I absolutely loved was the performances. Performances in horror movies are known to be so-so, but under the direction of James Wan, what could go wrong? When it came to Insidious: Chapter 3, again, I was worried, especially since the main actress is a former Disney Channel star, and we all know how that usually turns out. Usually. Surprisingly, she's great in the film, allowing us to buy into the terror and also adding a relatable side to the character. In fact, she puts the actor of her father to shame, out-acting him in every way.
And finally, the cinematography in this movie is also something that deserves recognition. Calling it great is an understatement. There are no bland, unoriginal shots to be found here. No, in this movie we're actually treated to something special, just adding to the overall impressiveness of the whole thing. Sure, there's a shot here and there that completely gives away the scares, resulting in a failed attempt at being scary, but the film looks good doing it, so that's something.
To sum up, Insidious: Chapter 3 appears to be more of the same, but it actually has a few tricks up its sleeve. It can go from being super creepy to super laughable, but there's just enough of the earlier one to make for an entertaining movie.
I am a sucker for all things sci-fi. I would even go so far in saying that it's probably my favourite genre. Maybe. I don't like having a favourite genre, but sci-fi has to be up there. When it comes to Self/Less, I didn't really follow the marketing too closely. I didn't really stay up to date with it, missing the trailer all together until I found out it was being released in a month's time. So with all that put together, Self/Less was a sci-fi film that clearly wasn't raising a lot of hype, but it was one I was eager to see. So I did, obviously, and would I get punished for saying I actually enjoyed it?
The film follows the story of Damian (Ben Kingsley.... and Ryan Reynolds). He's a terminally ill old man who was recently given six months to live. Knowing that information, Damian investigates a company that performs "shedding," which is essentially transferring one's consciousness into a lab-produced body so that selected people are able to live out their full potential in life. Trusting them, Damian does it, waking up soon after in a different body. Things are going great. That is until he starts to see what the company are describing as hallucinations, although he believes they're something else. He believes they're memories.
The premise for Self/Less promises a damn good time at the movies. The execution gives us something else. This film isn't at all bad. It doesn't deserve all the negativity being thrown towards it. It's just not quite as exciting as it could've been. The film is set up so well, showing us the science behind this process, only to go on to slowly become more and more of a generic action movie with a serious lack of tension.
That being said, there's also a lot of fun to be had with this generic-ness. Sure, nothing after the first act really feels that original, but at least the filmmakers decided to rip off something entertaining, rather than some Transformers 4 type of dribble. The film keeps us engaged through the central characters, even providing a believable relationship between Damian and a seven year old girl named Anna (Jaynee-Lynne Kinchen). In fact, it's their relationship that I actually bought into the most during the film.
Spilling with cringe worthy dialogue, this film is about as cheesy as they come. The story and performances aren't enough to make a film good. A good film is made when all of the components come together perfectly, and the experience is better than any words could describe. But since I'm a critic, I have to find some. There's a lot of things that are done right in this movie, and then there's a lot of other things, like the dialogue and the cinematography, that aren't. It's such a shame.
The biggest problem with Self/Less, however, is how ridiculously predicable it is. Seriously, this film couldn't have been more predictable. Every plot point, every character arc, every twist. All of it could be seen a mile away. There were moments where I doubted my predictions, I will give the film that, but these moments soon went away, and the predictability came back into play. This film could've been so much more, and I really wish they explored much more than they did. It's the first Purge movie all over again.
To sum up, Self/Less starts out really promising, despite a few bumps in the dialogue, but then proceeds to become a generic action movie. It's not boring, it's just not great. Let's hope Deadpool makes up for all of these mediocre Ryan Reynolds movies.
Like most classic franchises, the Terminator series ran out of steam a long time ago. The first two films are both science-fiction and action masterpieces, the second one being one of my all time favourites. It hit a high point of which there is no return. Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines came as a massive let down, proving to be soulless and dull. Terminator Salvation was a slight improvement, but it wasn't a Terminator film. It was a generic action movie with nothing new to offer. Now we have the not-at-all needed fifth installment in a franchise most of us want dead, but should it be? After this film, it absolutely should.
Terminator Genisys begins post-Judgement Day. The war has been raging for several years now and a terminator has been sent back in time to kill Sarah Conner (Emilia Clarke). Remembering what's already happened, John Conner (Jason Clarke), her son, sends back somebody too. This man is Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney). Well, the film claims it's the Kyle Reese we know and love, but this is undeniably a different version of him. No way this movie can convince me they're the same character. Anyway, when he arrives in the 80s, Reese is shocked to find that things are drastically different to what was described to him. Sarah has been guarded by a terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) for over a decade, and she's preparing to take down Skynet once and for all, destroying them before Judgement Day happens. That's when a new threat arrives. A threat that could potentially take them down. The threat should be a secret, but because of the poor advertising, everybody knows just who this threat is. Goddamn it.
Terminator Genisys is neither good, nor bad. It simply is. I had absolutely no hope for this film going in, so technically I have to say this film isn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. The only problem is that it's still not a good movie, and the same could be said about Terminator Salvation. Both of these films try to be something different to the original trilogy and both of these films are simply okay films, nothing more. On a side note, both of them had an important twist that was spoilt by the advertising. Way to go, advertisers. And on yet another side note, Terminator Genisys completely ignores that Salvation ever happened because why not?
Emilia Clarke, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jason Clarke and J.K. Simmons are all fantastic in their roles. None of them are at the top of their games, perhaps due to the poorly written screenplay, but none of them are awful. They're all the best parts of this film. Then there's Jai Courtney. Now, I've always been fairly lenient towards Courtney in previous movies. I honestly don't think he's all that bad an actor, however in Terminator Genisys he's a bit of a hit and miss. He has his moments, especially a scene early on between him and Sarah Conner, but overall he just falls flat, delivering the odd line in a cringe worthy fashion.
Easily the best performance of the lot is J.K. Simmons, who's performance, as always, is just utterly fantastic. I absolutely adore J.K. Simmons in every film he's in, even if said film isn't very entertaining. *cough* Spider-Man 3 *cough* In Terminator Genisys he's great. The only problem is that his character hardly has anything to do. They set him up well and his character is certainly investing, and arguably the most interesting character in the whole film, yet he's put aside in replace for a forgettable and completely underwhelming action sequence involving two helicopters. That's literally the last we ever see of him. His character had so much more potential.
That's the thing about most of the action sequences, too. They're all set up to be this exciting and thrilling thing, yet only a couple of them actually deliver on that, the main one coming to mind is a scene involving the younger terminator and the T1000. It's a thrilling, yet predictable sequence that actually delivers what a Terminator film should deliver. The rest of the action feels more 'been there, done that' and it's not nearly as exciting. Not even the stuff in the future is that exhilarating to watch. It's all a mash up of things we've already seen.
On a visual standpoint, the film succeeds, although the same thing could be said about the Transformers movies. To be fair, I'd rather see this again than I would any of the Transformers movies. But yes, the special and practical effects work incredibly well, the most impressive example being the young Arnold. It was uncanny seeing him on screen and it was more believable than Paul Walker was in Furious 7. That entire scene, while brief, was a lot of fun to watch, despite having seen an abridged version in the trailer.
Terminator Genisys' biggest issue is with the screenplay. Dealing with time travel is difficult enough, but in Terminator Genisys they time travel to prevent time travel that's going to prevent time travel. There's so many unexplained events and redo's and timeline changes that the film just becomes a big, convoluted mess. It took me a substantial amount of time to think about what the hell actually happened in this movie and I'm still not entirely sure. Things change, things don't. I didn't even know what year it was by the time the film's closing credits begun. This is a Terminator movie. I'm meant to think, but I shouldn't need to try and work out what the hell I just watched.
To sum up, Terminator Genisys may be better than I expected, but that doesn't mean you should rush out and see it. It's a convoluted, messy and rather dumb film that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. We officially live in a world with more bad Terminator films than good.
2 1/2 Stars