12 February 2020
In the grand scheme of Terminator films this is a weird one, possibly because it isn’t an out and out rehash of a time travelling story as suggested in the 3 previous films. To start off with we witness a death row convict, Marcus Wright, being put to death. He wakes up and find that everything is different. He’s in a wasteland and machines seem to be killing off all traces of humanity they find. He helps, and befriends, a couple of kids – one of them a young Kyle Reece (who you may know from the first Terminator film becomes the father of John Conner after he goes back in time). The kids are captured for termination leading Marcus to search for them. He ends up running into a resistance fighter who convinces him to go and meet the leader of the resistance, John Conner. An accident occurs which shows everybody that Marcus isn’t quite what he thought he was – spoiler, he a half-man half-robot hybrid. Meanwhile, the resistance have a new weapon in their arsenal, a radio signal which can turn machines off – if it truly works then the resistance could bring Skynet down for good.
Despite the negativity in reviews, I really enjoyed this film, more than Terminator 3 in fact. It’s a good addition to the franchise and it looks at things in a new way rather than rehashing old stories. This film sets itself in the future, which the antics of the previous films were fighting against. It’s dark and its bleak, humanity is indeed on its last legs – if you have ever played the Fallout video games, it’s that kind of a landscape. The film as a whole feels like what the first Terminator film promised the future would be like. There is an element of trying to “save the present to save the past which saves the future which helps the present” (don’t get too confused), but it’s done in a way that works out and adds to cannon. The cast all do a fine job, albeit my biggest criticism is casting Christian Bale as John Connor which I found a little off putting at times – frankly I’d have been happier with an unknown playing this role, but Bale still delivers a good performance. Sam Worthington is central vehicle to the film and was happy to follow his story and actions, I found him to be an emotive and compelling character in the film. While T3 almost parodies itself by continually nodding to previous films, this treats itself as an action film and doesn’t try to be tongue in cheek, which works. There is a moment for the Arnie loyalists – and it’s done a tasteful way which makes the T800 series seem like the baddest of the bad Terminator units there is.
I thoroughly enjoyed this outing and feel that this is more deserved of a place in the Terminator franchise than the previous T3 film. For me, this gets 8 out of 10.