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Partial Recall - Terminator Genisys The Review

07/07/2015 11:34 BST | Updated 05/07/2016 10:59 BST

Thirty years ago, a nervous 16 year old bought a ticket for the 18 certificate The Terminator. In an age before he was able to worship the God of VHS, this was a major event. 

Writer/director James Cameron at the time was a relative unknown, Arnold Schwarzenegger's movie stardom was yet to burn supernova bright and Stan Winston's iconic robot was a refreshingly terrifying presence. 

It was stunning stuff. Low budget yes, but a simple story (inspired by an old Harlan Ellison Outer Limits episode) brilliantly told. 

Eventually that 18 was dropped to a 15, and we all know what happened with the sequels. 

The 1991 mega bucks T2 was a great spin on the first movie, but then the third film proved that robot enemies smacking each other through walls for a while can grow tired very fast. 

But compared to Terminator Salvation, that looked like a masterpiece. Christian Bale shouting into a microphone and a bunch of so so characters plodding through assorted action scenes led to six years of waiting. 

While Arnie was governing California, it looked like fans would never see another chapter in the franchise. However, Terminator the movie series is built to last, and in the hands of Game of Thrones director Alan Taylor, the fifth movie in the series, Terminator Genisys, falls into similar traps as the other films. 

Following a clever first 20 minutes in which fans of the original see the heroic Kyle Reese sent back through time to save resistance leader Sarah Connor, again, scenes from the original movie are recreated. Some effectively, others less so. 

Having ruined Die Hard 5 and Insurgent, Jai Courtney is at it again, sparking with Emilia Clarke's Sarah and forging an awkward bromance with Jason Clark's John. 

While the toothy British actress is fine as (deep breath) the eventual mother of the human race's last hope against killer corporation Skynet, Jason is just plain creepy and annoying as the scarred series regular. 

And Arnie? Well, the age thing is handled well, with "Old, not obsolete" being the new "I'll be back."

The fact his skin ages means the T-800 looks like he's been round the block a few times. 

Which is fine and dandy. We feel for the highest paid actor's alter ego, but there are so many explosions and droid on droid action, not always in a good way, that after 30 minutes, it stops being an event and just turns into a tiresome series of incendiary set pieces. 

I didn't care about the budding romance between Kyle and Sarah, hated John with a passion, and yearned for more JK Simmons, who was in full-on comedy mode rather than searing, acting all over the screen Whiplash mode. 

Arnie has five words of dialogue in the third act that sent a genuine frisson of emotion through me. It was the first time I'd been moved by the saga since the T-800's thumbs up finale in T2

Matt Smith has a key role, though I'll not reveal it here. I will say there was an I Robot/Resident Evil sense of déjà vu about the personified OS integral to the plot. While Genisys is no classic, it ticks over like one of those clockwork droids from Tennant era Doctor Who

But many of his episodes usually told a better story in half the time on a fraction of the budget. 

The fact Arnie spouts a load of dull technobabble explaining the convoluted timelines is one of the problems. 

In the original, Michael Biehn did a brilliant job of delivering key exposition as his character was the only one who really knew what was going on. It was thrilling, fresh and understandable. Here it's just leaden and barely coherent. 

With very little tension in this updated version of the story, this seasoned fan wonders if the saga should have been left well alone.