Age Against The Machine.
126 Minutes. Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jason Clarke, Emilia Clarke, Jai Courtney, Lee Byung-hun, Matt Smith & J. K. Simmons. Director: Alan Taylor.
Hey Arnold! It's great to have you back! Sure for all you Shakespearean bards out there this living legend isn't exactly Socrates, but you can't say this man isn't an inspirational figure for the late 21st century. When the 67 year old was just a young boy living in Austria he dreamed of being three things. The world champion in bodybuilding, a world famous, action hero-actor and the President of the United States Of America. Well barring the laws of nationality stopping him from being POTUS he's done all those things, even being the Governor of California, the largest state in the U.S.A. It doesn't get much closer than that. Nor does it get much more get off your butt motivational. Just check his cinder block of a memoir that looks like it's read and drank through more than a few shakes of protein. This is a man who redefined what it meant to be a Hollywood action-hero, even beating out all threats foreign (Jean Claude Van-Damme) and domestic (his good friend/even better rival Sylvester Stallone) in his day...or should we say decade. One that saw the Governator and Mr. Universe define films and franchises like the classics 'Predator', 'Conan', 'Commando' and 'Total Recall'. All whilst sending himself up perfectly in funny films like 'Twins', 'Kindergarten Cop', 'True Lies' and 'Last Action Hero'. Still the one film that defined him and the 80's to 90's generation of action heroes and movies was the 'Terminator' machine of a franchise. From the first thriller that was almost like a robot horror to the outstanding, ahead of it's 'Back To The Future' time in epic effects 'T2', proving sequels can surpass their original creators. A formidable, big, blockbuster film, which like 'Jurassic Park' and 'The Dark Knight' is one of the three event movies of this writers life. My childhood is practically being in awe of Arnie spinning and reloading that shotgun with one arm in that iconic motorcycle storm drain chasing scene in L.A, years before this sneaking downstairs kid was old enough to be allowed to watch it. A decade later and 'Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines' was fun if a little clunky, whilst the Arnie-less (unless in C.G.I) 'Terminator: Salvation' starring Batman's Christian Bale as John Connor in the leading of the resistance was raw, rusty but still ever ready. It was affirmative that this robot relic of Hollywood needed a tinkering and reboot, 'Expendable' franchise star Schwarzenegger needed a recharge too fresh out of office and into new films like 'The Last Stand', 'Escape Plan' and 'Sabotage'. So it's time for man to meet machine once again as Arnie gets back to the chopper to put pedal to the metal.
In this robot recall it's time to see if this running man can keep up with all the monsters and Marvel of modern day movies and still be that robot eraser we all love, before critics exterminate his end of days. Well this Goliath, 'Godzilla' monster equivalent of an action-hero machine isn't just back...he's here to stay in 'Terminator: Genisys'. Living about 20 years on earth, driving a pick-up, wearing comfortable clothes and going grey. You don't like it..."bite" him! With 'Genisys' robot Arnie hasn't just typed out the name of his favorite Phil Collins band without the machine help of a spell-check. You can feel it in the air of the futile future tonight that 'Genisys' is Sky-Net and in this digital app-age where we're all connected to our cells and smart phones, this movie is about to show you, two years later in 2017 it's time to really be afraid of androids...or maybe Apple (nudge, poke, semi-colon, closed bracket)! Moving away from the Big Apple of Hollywood's eye to the Golden Gate set-piece stakes of the stunning San Francisco, that recent big blockbusters like 'Pacific Rim', 'Planet Of The Apes' and this months upcoming 'Ant-Man' superhero have bridged, this movie crosses the iconic red iron like no other. Flipping a truck more times than 'The Dark Knight' for one of so many acid-hot, reflex, stunning set-pieces that show action and Arnie can still bang for your buck, metal to mettle. 'Game Of Thrones' director Alan Taylor who gave 'Thor-The Dark World' his game of realms, vivid and vast directing magic shoots a guns and roses tribute to the 80's here that's blazing hot in both it's reference testament and it's modern, phone distracted crowd pleasing entertainment. Arnold too, armed with the ageing skin tissue of a robot out of time (the original working idea was that he would play an old family friend that the machines based the future likeness of the Terminator on...which would have worked well too, but maybe albeit a little too 'Jingle All The Way' family friendly) and some new catchphrases proves to the critics he's "old...but not obsolete", showing he can still muscle up and show Mike real magic with the XXL action and even make light of himself up with his infamous one-liners and robot deadpan wisecracks. Here's a guy that recently, hilariously shocked people at Hollywood's Madame Tussauds by posing as a real-life waxwork of his 'Terminator' character. A man that hilariously but justly shut down a homophobic troll on Facebook only this week by launching one of his famous catchphrases in response to a bigotry comment. Hasta La Vista critics! Schwarzenegger has still got it. Able to keep up with those 'Fast and Furious' speed-racers, show the 'Fury Road' of Max more madness and prove he's no dinosaur or extinct like 'Jurassic World' in this Summer season of blockbusters in this years 'Age Of Ultron', that shows this superhero is as good as any 'Avenger'. Now Marvel at that!
Sure like 'Jurassic World' (starring 'Salvations' Bruce Dallas Howard) before it and 'Jurassic Park' after the original 'Judgement Day' this new tribute testament can hallmark homage all it likes, but it'll never go back in time and overcome or kill the original. And with the 'bring your kids', lack of an R rating this franchise loses some of it's edgier, sinister streak, just like the bigger and better, arm-folded audience defying 'Jurassic World' fails to recapture that old 90's Hollywood magic somewhat. Still, that doesn't mean that either of these updates aren't successful in bringing new audiences and their parents who grew up with these films together alike. And in the modern day age of sequels and reboot saturation's of original ideas, it's great to see these monsters and machines still stand the test of redefining time. Forget what you know, this movie is re-writing it all and is this years surprise blockbuster of the big-budget, billion ton movie Summer like last years 'Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes', these two franchises now sharing more than just a leading star. This animal is still thumping it's chest too like a new-age 'King Kong', scaling the movie world, despite critics flying around in machine gun loaded paper planes. That's thanks to some fresh faces joining "Pops" Schwarzenegger. Almost as iconic as 'The Terminator' itself the woman he was once sent to kill Sarah Conner is a character that has been played by many actresses even having the 'Chronicles' of her own T.V. show. Still Linda Hamilton-who made the role as iconic as Sigourney Weaver in 'Aliens'-has always been hard to replace...until now. 'Game Of Thrones' star Emilia Clarke (fitting because co-star Lena Headley played Connor in the 'Chronicles' T.V. show) proves she can muscle up to play the freedom fighter we are sure inspired Lara Croft in this game of time zones. Even without the dragons and blonde wig she's still blazing hot, switching swords and stones for semi-automatics and bullets beautifully and brutally. Whilst 'Zero Dark Thirty', 'Gatsby' and 'Lawless' actor Jason Clarke (no relation off-screen) replaces his 'Public Enemies' co-star Christian Bale perfectly as the leader of the resistance John Conner. All grown up from the previous Public Enemy t-shirt (with the aforementioned film, were these Conner's all meant to be and written in the Hollywood stars?) wearing incarnations, with a twist that we hope you didn't see in the coming trailer because it'll ruin what works almost as well as the infamous, classic one in 'Terminator 2: Judgement Day'. For all those who know what I'm talking about...just how even better of a surprise film would this be if we didn't know. The major shake-up continues with 'Die Hard' franchise son Jai Courtney arming up to another series as the legendary Kyle Reese, finally after the original movie giving the characters legacy the more outstanding screen-time that he deserves. Time-Lords unite too as former 'Doctor Who' Matt Smith applies himself to these frames with a formidable feel for these foes of the future. Even Oscar winner J.K. Simmons is here still on a roll after 'Whiplash', albeit more 'stumbly' than angry. And if you miss Robert Patrick, 'G.I.: Joe' star Lee Byung-hun, plays a T-1000 with Patrick perfection, mirroring him whilst casting his own reflection in some effecting moments that takes us back to the 80's of the original in feel and fondness. This film even has those lasers at night war of the machines we were promised and thought we'd finally have 'Salvation' in with the fourth film, only to be left with a derelict waste-land of the aftermaths of battle that still leaves us fighting with our imaginations for a future film called; 'Terminator: War'! All in all this is more that just satisfying and gratifying...it's electrifying. But with Arnie suiting up in leather and metal face alongside these new parts of liquid metal and nano bot Terminators, this movie shows no matter how much you update in this modern age...nothing beats the old model. Come back with me to the future if you want to love! TIM DAVID HARVEY.