Updated: Jan 16, 2020
* SPOILERS INSIDE
If you're like me you occasionally get inspired to make a delicious meal for yourself. You make it, it's big, it's amazing, you nailed it, you pat yourself on the back and put the leftovers in the fridge for next day goodness.
You eat those leftovers the next day.
But there's still more of it, so you eat it again and again. So a meal that was great when you first cooked it by the fifth, sixth time you can barely stand a mouthful.
That's the Terminator franchise, once so amazing and filled with fresh SciFi ideas, now a force feeding of the same tired story over and over. That's why the franchise has a dark fate, if they can't find something new to explore, people will stop putting themselves to chore again through a story they've seen six times already.
But to talk about the film itself outside of considering the larger franchise, it's actually an entertaining action film worthy of your time and money. It has solid action set pieces throughout and Arnie's presence value-adds.
Linda Hamilton is great in this and reaffirms to all those out there that claim women are never represented as strong kick-ass characters on film obviously never saw T1 or T2. She is as tough as they come.
She carries that tough presence into this film even though she is now much older.
This is in strong contrast with the character in this film played by Natalia Reyes as Dani Ramos, mankind's new only hope against the robots. This is terrible miscasting. Natalia is barely 5ft tall and has no presence at all to convince you the she has qualities (spoiler!) to be the new John Connor in the future. This is not some misogynistic cry fest here, I just don't see it. Her arms are barely long enough to hold a shotgun.
This issue may have come up in a pre-movie focus group with people sharing a similar opinion because halfway through the movie there is a weird little flash forward sequence of her inspiring bandits to fight against the robots.
It feels forced and deliberately added later to add believability to her being a future leader of the resistance. Unfortunately no amount of corn-rowing your hair can simply make that believable for the audience.
An actor like Michelle Rodriguez would be far better casting and believable in the same role. Natalia's character seems to lack the requisite amount of toughness that needs to come to the fore in this movie to show she could lead an uprising in the future.
You may say, "well, she's not tough now, but she's new and will toughen up now she knows she's being hunted by the robots". But when you go to back to T1, you can clearly see the inner strength and leadership qualities emerge from Sarah towards the end as she inspires Kyle Reese to get on his feet and keep moving to escape the Terminator. There's just nothing like that for Natalia that emerges (convincingly at least) for the character of Dani Ramos.
As John Connor gets shot like a punk in the first few minutes of this film (it's a bit of toss the lightsaber over your shoulder moment) Dani is now presented as the new saviour of mankind. There's a line Sarah Connor delivers to Dani as they sit on a train, Sarah goes on a rant about her being nothing but a valuable womb so get used to it (something to that effect). This was a real cheapening of who Sarah Connor is and what she achieved because it's always been about her and her transformation, her mission to protect her son John Connor. This new 'woke' interpretation of her contribution by the scriptwriters was a disservice to the legacy of that character.
Talking about time travel always gets confusing but some things just don't make sense in this film. Why does a T-800 come back to kill John Connor after T-1000 models exist? Why does Sarah still think her and John successfully changed the future to avoid the robot apocalypse when she is getting text messages that help her locate and kill new terminators arriving in her time?
An absurdity of this story is a T-800 on completing it's mission to kill John Connor then deciding to start a family and run a drapery business. I know I'm taking this a little too seriously but with the detailed information T-800's have, surely after killing a primary target it would then just go down a list of secondary targets key to the resistance and terminate them too? No, apparently a T-800 will start a drapery business, who knew?
My final thoughts on this movie are yes, it was competent and entertaining, but it's the same crap rehashed. I'm a massive fan of the first 2 films but even I towards the end of this film just felt bored by the same old idea being repackaged to me. It's time to find new ideas in the Terminator universe or it's Hasta la vista baby!
(one final, final thing. This movie has a Mexican lead and they didn't even use Hasta la vista, opportunity missed!).