by Hans A. Carpenter
Release Date: November 1
Director: Tim Miller
Starring: Linda Hamilton, Mackenzie Davis, and Arnold Schwarzenegger
Mister Marquee Says: A fate worse than death…but not Genysys
Forget T3. Forget Salvation. Forget whatever Genysys was…this Terminator is a direct sequel to T2. Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) teams up with enhanced human Grace (Mackenzie Davis) to protect Dani (Natalia Reyes), a person of importance in the future, from another advanced terminator sent back in time. At this point, the Terminator franchise has become the original T-101; it’s battle damaged, its skin has been blown off, it’s missing its legs and is crawling its way towards diminishing returns.
The first scene is the kind of franchise changer that may anger fans. I loved it. It seemed Terminator had finally moved on from the same old formula and was going a different route. Nope. It’s the same old story. A future war with machines and humans, a savior character, an enhanced protector, a super Terminator, time travel, it’s the exact same movie for the fourth time. The first half is at least watchable. Linda Hamilton is back, but she’s not quite the power house she was in T2 and instead feels like a stock action hero. Natalia Reyes is fine, but Dani Ramos is more of an object than a character. She has maybe one moment the entire movie that’s anything other than running or choosing to fight. Mackenzie Davis is a capable action lead and is one of the few characters that commands any attention.
I personally loved the direction of Arnold’s obligatory old man Terminator and the comic relief he brings. The action scenes early on aren’t bad, even if they do have that stock blockbuster fakeness to them. The later action is almost unwatchable, not because it’s bad but because you can barely see it, what’s happening under water and such at night. The CGI already wasn’t very good, but Hollywood’s stock response to blowing an ungodly amount of money on bad special effects is always to turn the lights off. If your special effects aren’t good enough for the light of day, sticking them in the dark won’t help.
Ultimately, we’re left with a watchable movie that pays lip service to change while having nothing new to say. It seems to be attempting to counter T3’s message of “your destiny is written, don’t run from it” with “fate is BS, you make your own fate.” However, since the future war and the rise of the machines always happens no matter what the characters do that invalidates the fate argument. This is a movie with nothing to say, and yet it’s only the third worst Terminator film. Someone terminate this franchise already.