Round and round we go on the reboot/prequel/sequel merry-go-round. This time out pops Terminator. The original, from way back in 1984, was reportedly sold as a script by Cameron for just $1 providing he could direct. Smart move. But I’m not sure even he would have thought, over 30 years later, we’d have yet another Terminator film.
The film opens, as most of these seem to do these days, with explaining what you already know if you’ve seen any of the other films. After that things get a little weird as it looks like we’re in for an almost shot-by-shot remake of the original movie. Then things get a little clearer when we find out we’re in a sort of alternative reality, things have changed, timelines have shifted.
You still have Sarah Connor, this time round played by Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones, Dom Hemingway), and Kyle Reese, this time Jai Courtney (Divergent, A Good Day To Die Hard), and John Connor, played by Jason Clarke (Zero Dark Thirty, The Great Gatsby), and, how could we forget the original Terminator himself Arnold Schwarzenegger.
We also have Byung-hun Lee (A Bittersweet Life, Hero, G.I. Joe) as the liquid Terminator who first appeared in T2: Judgement Day played by Robert Patrick. We don’t, for some reason, Get the T-X from T3: Rise of the Machines (played by Kristanna Loken) or anyone or thing from Salvation…which is probably a good thing.
I’m not going to waste my time explaining the story, you already know it if you’ve seen any of these movies, it’s like groundhog day at times.
So, I hated it right? I really wanted to if I’m honest. But I didn’t and the reason for me not doing will surprise you even more, certainly surprised me. You see the person that makes this movie, the person who stops it being a parody of itself, taking itself too seriously, is Schwarzenegger. I know right!
Arnie seems to be having a blast making this film. I think he knew what people would think if he accepted it and so he’s just rolled with it. He produces some classic one-liners and looks that had me actually laughing out loud. That could be down to screenwriters Laeta Kalogridis (Shutter Island, Alexander) and Patrick Lussier (Drive Angry), or that everyone else is taking themselves really seriously, but I’m pinning it on the big Austrian, why not, he deserves some credit.
I know what you’re all thinking, he was born to play the role with his acting style, well sure, maybe, just like Keanu Reeves was born to play Klaatu in The Day The Earth Stood Still. But heck, he does it well whatever. Whilst the two Clarkes and Courtney are good and J. K. Simmons is woefully underused for me, Arnie steals the show. And why shouldn’t he? If Cameron isn’t coming back to it then he’s the one you associate most with the original.
I won’t, however, be holding my breath for the next two films that have been announced. What now? An alternative reality to the alternative reality we’ve already had? I’d like to visit an alternative reality where Hollywood produces something original, or maybe I need a time machine to go back to 1984.