Take a Drink: for every shameless reference to a past film in the franchise.
Do a Shot: anytime there’s something a character knows wouldn’t hurt a Terminator, but they try it anyway.
Take a Drink: whenever they slap the Terminator’s “Easy” button and plot explanations fall out.
Do a Shot: anytime the Terminator cracks a creepy smile.
Take a Drink: for every “witty” line Jai Courtney tries and fails to deliver.
Do a Shot: whenever something doesn’t make sense.
Studio Exec 1: Yo dude.
Studio Exec 2: What up, my dawg.
Studio Exec 1: You like money?
Studio Exec 2: You know that I do.
Studio Exec 1: Terminator reboot…
Studio Exec 2: I’m listening.
Studio Exec 1: WITH LITTLE TO NO EFFORT SPENT ON PLOT OR DIALOGUE.
Studio Exec 2: You have my attention.
Studio Exec 1: $$$$$$$ Arnold Schwarzenegger $$$$$$$.
Studio Exec 2: I’M IN.
-How we assume Terminator Genisys got greenlit.
We can only assume the team behind Terminator Genisys were swinging for the fences by launching this mediocre turd during the SuperBowl of summer blockbuster release dates (the Fourth of July) or they got wicked high huffing glue and just gave up after basically revealing the plot of the entire film with super spoilery trailers. Odds are 50/50 either way. But we digress. Welcome back to The Felix-Ripjaw Debate Presents: a very special review of Transformers Genisys, in which Hawk Ripjaw (Kardashian whisperer extraordinaire) and Felix Felicis (Bachelorette condom gopher) take one, two, thirty-five for the team and tell you why you should take a hard “meh” on this latest Terminator reboot.
He Said: Genisys begins with a basic shot-for-shot remake of the apocalypse scenes from the original films-
She Said: Wait. That was real? I just thought I was tripping balls.
He Said: -while Kyle Reese (Jai Courney) narrates about how Skynet are Cyborg Nazis and how John Connor (Jason Clarke) saved him and they start up a bromance.
She Said: What happens in the apocalypse, stays in the apocalypse, dude.
He Said: Somehow, the resistance is able to capture a Skynet time machine, and John Connor uses the Power of Plot to deduce that Skynet used it to send a Terminator back in time to kill his mom, Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke’s boobs). Reese volunteers to also go back in time to save Sarah, because he’s got a picture of her and this will be his chance to totally hit that.
She Said: I’ve done more for less of a chance to get laid. Respect.
He Said: Back in 1984, the Terminator has appeared and tries to take someone’s clothes just like before, but then—plot twist!– gets attacked by another Terminator who’s been around for decades and has been protecting Sarah Connor since she was a child.
She Said: I have fights with my naked identical twin like all the time, too, only she’s in a mirror and telling me not to wear jeggings.
He Said: That’s right, there’s been another T-800 around since Sarah was very young and he raised her like he was her father. Roles are reversed here because Sarah Connor is a badass, she calls Guardian Terminator “Pops”, and Jai Courtney is Kyle Reese, and they have a functioning time machine.
She Said: Please, like you’ve never called a strange robot “Daddy” before.
He Said: Um-
She Said: No, bro, vibrators don’t count.
He Said: After a pointless argument over whether the trio should travel to 1997 or to 2017, they decide to go to 2017, where OneRepublic’s “Love Runs Out” is considered a highway classic and a WUPHF-style Google clone called Genisys-
She Said: Well now you’re just making up words.
He Said: The title of the movie and, you see, a derivative of sys, for system—ah, fuck it.
She Said: Mistake number one was buying a ticket to this. Mistake number two was trying to explain it logically.
He Said: Genisys is set to unite the entirety of a person’s social media accounts and online identities. Genisys, of course, being Skynet’s cover for launching their supreme domination of all of humanity.
She Said: Good luck out-populating the Duggars (currently in first for world domination).
He Said: Since two people appearing naked in a flash of destructive light is considered a matter of national security, Reese and Connor are arrested.
She Said: People often forget to wear pants to Walmart so this may be a gross overreaction.
He Said: JK Simmons is a character-
He Said: -and they’re soon rescued by… JOHN CONNOR, WHOSE TRUE INTENTIONS ARE NOT REVEALED IN ANY OF THE TRAILERS????
She Said: LOUD WORDS. WHY ARE WE YELLING??
He Said: Yes, John Connor is a Terminator now-
She Said: Le gasp.
He Said: -and he’s helping Skynet build another one of those time machines, so that Skynet can take over the world and build Terminators, and… wait a second…
He Said: Arnold Schwarzenegger’s still got it.
She Said: I was surprised at how much of it he still had.
He Said: Regardless of how this movie reads like some asshole’s Facebook Terminator fan fiction, Schwarzenegger throws himself wholeheartedly into the movie and, more than anyone else in the production, seems to believe in what he is doing (probably just like he believed in Terminator 3 and Around the World in 80 Days).
She Said: I swear to god, if we find out years from now E.L. James was a ghostwriter on this script so much more would make sense. Also, Jai Courtney’s acting has sucked its way up from “watching him act is like getting stabbed in the eye by a talentless ice pick” to “watching him act is like finding out your mole is benign, no, you can still remove it, thanks.”
He Said: In spite of almost everything else, Alan Taylor knows his way around an action sequence. Even though we saw all of these in the trailers, most of them are well-shot and exciting—at least more so than most of the ones in Terminator: Salvation, but my former high school classmate’s shitty Star Wars fan videos were more exciting that most of that movie.
She Said: If it was 1995 and people still wore watches I’d have been clocking every minute of those “exciting” action sequences, bro. Plus, there were those tiny roles given JK Simmons and Matt Smith that, though a raging waste of their considerable talents, made the movie more bearable… ish. But the one thing Terminator Genisys absolutely did right was make me want to immediately go home and watch the incomparable original Terminator.
He Said: A lot of people like the original two Terminator movies.
She Said: You’re not wrong.
He Said: But nobody likes them as much as Genisys director Alan Taylor likes them, and that’s saying something because I have a poster of Terminator 2: Judgment Day hanging above my bed-
She Said: Oh, no, dude-
He Said: -with googly eyes over Arnold’s face-
She Said: No, stop talking-
He Said: Whether this has prevented me from progressing past second base in the past year is inconclusive.
He Said: The first half of Genisys is relentlessly, unsettlingly devoted to recreating shots, lines, and beats from the original film, right down the Reese’s original Nikes that the Genisys costume designer spent months arguing with Nike to get remade.
She Said: Because that was a VITAL plot point, obviously.
He Said: And the arrival of the murderous T-800 is meticulously recreated down to the crane in the background, with lines recycled for embarrassing “fan service”, but the movie stops just short of Terminator 3’s self-parody.
She Said: To be honest, I stopped watching after T2.
He Said: You are a terribly lucky woman to not be subjected to everything after. The second half of Genisys is determined to erase everything that those films did to the timeline, while at the same time depending on them all for plot support. While it doesn’t screw the plot pooch as hard as Tomorrowland did, Genisys tries to have its cake and eat it too by depending on, and simultaneously erasing Terminator canon, like a needy ex-boyfriend.
She Said: Don’t get me wrong, we’re gonna talk about your experience with “needy ex-boyfriends” but first I have to agree that the tonal and plot inconsistencies gave me whiplash from trying to figure out what was going on in-between elaborately staged action sequences, time-travel shenanigans, and wondering when the fucking dragons were gonna swoop in and grab Khaleesi.
He Said: The script of Genisys is something that only the man who singlehandedly bankrupted California could love.
She Said: You mean-
He Said: Yes, even though Schwarzenegger vehemently avoided Terminator: Salvation and has said it “sucked,” he enthusiastically signed on to Genisys because of how well-written it was.
She Said: Were there pot brownies involved? I’ve agreed to do a lot of weird shit on pot brownies. Like vote. And wear mom jeans.
He Said: Apparently, as far as he got in the script was “The T-800 is in it” or “Emilia Clarke takes off her shirt.”
She Said: SOLD. Or you know, just watch Game of Thrones. Her boobs are like all over that.
He Said: And since Morgan Freeman wasn’t available-
She Said: Dude, penguins aren’t just gonna narrate THEMSELVES.
He Said: -all of the exposition falls onto the shoulders of Schwarzenegger who, when he’s not opening his mouth to spout a terrible (and not in a good way) one-liner, he’s describing something for the audience.
She Said: Literally any other character or inanimate object spouting those lines would’ve been more believable.
He Said: And yes, there is comedy, but in that shitty PG-13 Hollywood action movie way, not the awesome 90’s shit from the old movies.
She Said: The only genuine comedic relief was that filler blip JK Simmons had onscreen which, ultimately, wasn’t necessary, but goddamn that man was a treat to behold.
He Said: Genisys feels a lot longer than it is, because the only time the movie ever comes to life is during those action sequences.
She Said: Debatable, but go on.
He Said: The rest of the laborious exposition, forced comic relief, and JK Simmons trying his hardest drags on and on. And it wasn’t the Xanax, because that stuff only lasts four hours and this movie was around seven and a half hours long if you don’t count Courtney’s mumbly opening monologue.
She Said: Dude, what part of “SEND ME SOME OF YOUR DRUGS” did you not understand? I had to pound boxed wine to get through an entire live-tweet without just copy and pasting sad-face emojis.
He Said: Also, we all know that eventually Kyle Reese and Sarah Connor eventually get it on to create John Connor, but in doing so have to overcome both the script which spends most of its time having them bicker like two people that hate each other. Oh wait, so regular relationships.
She Said: Your dating history is starting to make so much more sense.
He Said: Then, all of a sudden, they start to fall in love and Sarah is sad because she knows that Reese has to die but Reese says he loves her anyway, eventually segueing into an absolutely rancid ending that can’t figure out what it wants to do, so it does everything.
She Said: I can’t even care enough to be mad at it. And that’s saying something, considering I still froth at the mouth anytime someone asks me if I liked Fifty Shades Of Grey. If you do go see Genisys, first off, know that you’re why we can’t have nice things, and second, skip the 3D, it doesn’t detract from the film, but it’s unnecessary at best.
He Said: Action scenes start and stop randomly, and the sense of urgency is more inconsistent than Tinder matches.
He Said: This reboot/remake/sequel isn’t necessarily bad so much as it’s frustrating, mediocre, and overly complicated. It has kernels of good plot ideas and completely squanders them by trying to do far too much with far too little, and relying way too much on the original films while at the same time attempting to disregard them. It’s a fan film by someone with no understanding of the source material. It’s like when you go to the flea market and see a cheap foreign action figure knock-off that tries to be the real thing, but it’s completely, obviously not even close. But don’t worry, there are two move movies in this new trilogy for them to keep trying!
She Said: Terminator Genisys wasn’t bad… It also wasn’t very good, opting to hover in the dreaded “so bland can’t even muster up the energy to make fun of it” zone. Seriously. I think this movie broke me, oh god, I’m broken. QUICK SOMEONE TURN ON ANYTHING WITH KIRK CAMERON IN IT. Ahh that’s better. To recap, this movie was agonizingly paced, horribly scripted and more tonally confused than Donald Trump thinking he has a shot at becoming president. So give this mediocre rodeo a pass and take that booze-filled bra (or fanny pack) for a spin with Spy instead. Trust me.
Last Call: There’s a super predictable mid-credits scene if you feel like sticking around and really hammering home that cinematic lobotomy.