3.5/10 After re-watching the first two films in the Terminator franchise (this sequel ignores #3, #4 and #5 and acts as a direct sequel to “Terminator 2: Judgement Day”), I was actually pretty excited for this film due to ignoring the muddled sequels, maintaining its R rating and bringing back Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor for the first time. Despite some elements working, this ended up being a massive disappointment that makes its box office failure make so much more sense to me now. Let’s start with the positive aspects before I get into everything that completely did not work. For starters, the first act was very strong and contained the movie’s best scenes/moments. The action really worked as the set pieces impressed. The action was well shot and edited and entertaining to watch. Mackenzie Davis gave the best performance in this movie and she raised the overall quality of this. Even the score from Junkie XL was noticeably strong in the first third of the movie, before it gets overshadowed by the movie jumping the shark later on. Most of the special effects look great and the REV-9 in particular looked incredible and was an intimidating adversary. Those strengths aside, this movie had a ton of problems, mostly involving the plot and script. First off, you have John Connor and his fate being completely irrelevant since judgement day was already stopped so it doesn’t matter what happens to him or his mom. The movie’s most ridiculously laughable scene expects us to believe that not only does Sarah Connor, a wanted criminal pursued by the federal authorities, still have the ability to acquire an arsenal of weapons and still have connections high up in the military but even more ridiculous is that her high up connection in the military is so easily able to take a military grade EMP from a secure military base without raising alarm or anyone noticing that it is missing. As the scene with them meeting up so Sarah can acquire the EMP unfolded I was just baffled by how unrealistic and stupid that idea was. The first act has some realism in it but as the movie continues on, it just becomes so over the top and silly. The action unfolding in the sky followed by some eye rolling moments at the Hoover Dam totally went overboard, literally and figuratively. There were cheesy lines, lame attempts at humor and predictable moments. Another one of the terrible ideas behind this plot is that one of the evil Terminators, sent back in time to kill John Connor, is able to make like the Cowardly Lion, Tin Man and Scarecrow and somehow grow the courage to do the right thing, the heart to raise a platonic family and the brains to learn about a plethora of new emotions. Everything involved with his subplot was so painfully forced just to bring Arnold Schwarzenegger back into the movie. The main protagonist who is being protected, Dani, is the most forgettable, vanilla character in the movie. We don’t really care about her at all because she has no character development and is poorly written and she is more upset when someone she barely knows dies than she is when her loved ones do. There was some behind the scenes turmoil between director Tim Miller and producer James Cameron added to the fact that there were five men credited for “Story By” and three writers credited and you have too many cooks in this kitchen. Mackenzie Davis, some great action pieces and a strong opening act aside, I think it is time we terminate this franchise once and for all.
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