There comes a time in every franchise when it is best to leave well-enough alone. That definitive time in the "Terminator" series is fifth entry "Terminator Genisys." Not only rewriting the history of what has come before but rendering all four previous installments null and void, director Alan Taylor (2013's "Thor: The Dark World") and screenwriters Laeta Kalogridis (2010's "Shutter Island") and Patrick Lussier (2011's "Drive Angry") jerk the viewer around to such a degree that many fans will feel cheated. To dedicate oneself to an ongoing story over the span of thirty years only to be told, "Nope, none of that happened; this is what really happened," is a slap in the face, and not even the charismatic performers can save things. The similarly twisty but far smarter and more respectful "Back to the Future Part II," this is not.
In post-apocalyptic 2029 Los Angeles, resistance leader John Connor (Jason Clarke) sends dutiful protege Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) back in time to 1984 to rescue John's mother, Sarah (Emilia Clarke), thereby ensuring that future savior John is born just as he should be. Kyle, who doesn't yet know he is John's father, aims to stop a cyborg (Arnold Schwarzenegger) programmed to destroy Sarah, but it isn't long before it becomes apparent that the new 1984 has radically diverged from the old alternate timeline. No longer a scared and confused waitress who needs saving, Sarah has been waiting for this day for nine years alongside her Terminator protector Pops (Schwarzenegger again). Their master plan is to travel to 1997 and destroy nuclear weapons organization Skynet before it has time to cause the so-called Judgment Day, but in this changed space-time continuum the fateful day zero is in 2017 as master operating system Genisys prepares to link up all of the world's technology. Once Sarah and Reese arrive in 2017 mere days before annihilation, the race to save the whole of humanity begins.
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