A new timeline is unexpectedly created after John Connor (played by Jason Clarke) sends Kyle Reese (played by Jai Courtney) back to 1984 to protect his mother, Sarah (played by Emilia Clarke), from a Terminator. Originally a frightened waitress, the Sarah of this time is a skilled fighter armed with a Terminator guardian (played by Arnold Schwarzenegger) and completely aware of what’s going on. Reese must now change his original plans and focus on resetting the future and stopping skynet before it starts.
Overall it was actually better than I expected. Or at least I enjoyed it more than the fourth one with Christian Bale.
Arnie is actually pretty cool! They improved on the CGI of him compared to the 4th one and I thought they almost seamlessly re-imagined or remastered his iconic debut scene in the original. The fact that I can’t tell which without looking at the original again is impressive enough.
Jai Courtney has come a long way from the Spartacus tv show (when I first saw him), starring in high profile films like Die Hard, Divergent, and now this to name a few. I wasn’t sure if I would like him as Kyle Reese but I thought he handled the role well enough. He has a strong presence and you believe in him.
I believe this is Emilia Clarke’s first big screen role. Mostly known as Daenerys Targaryen from A Game of Thrones, she sheds the blond locks for her natural hair, giving you a different feel for her. Unfortunately, that feel didn’t scream Sarah Connor, the iconic badass. Linda Hamilton remains the best, but I though Lena Headey did a pretty good job for the Sarah Connor Chronicles that was cancelled prematurely (and I continue to side eye Fox about that one). Clarke just doesn’t exude that necessary swagger and she probably would have been more convincing if she was Daenerys instead.
Though Terminator 2 is a masterpiece, the storyline for the franchise as a whole is admittedly riddled with flaws, as honest trailers hilariously points out:
Even still, I don’t think that gives this film a right to feel so disjointed and all over the place which it does suffer from more often than not. It gets to the point where you have to let that all go and enjoy the action. If you’re going to throw $170 million worth of action in my face, I’ll do my best to enjoy it. The 3D is not necessary aside from a couple of scenes, and it almost gave me a headache, so I don’t recommend that format.
You do feel pings on nostalgia, but at the same time I still didn’t feel connected to it either, sort of like how I felt with Jurassic World. Every time I see a new John Connor it always bums me out that Eddie Furlong threw his career down the toilet in a spectacular fashion. These films are spaced out well enough that he could have returned for every one of them and been believable. Maybe they would have been better received too.
Some secrets regarding the character were revealed in the trailer so that ruins the surprise.
This is the second sequel of the franchise that is rated PG-13. Though I was not surprised, especially considering its massive budget, it was still a disappointment. That always means they’ll hold back. I think they pushed the PG-13 limits as far as they could with the swear words and brief nudity, but the fight scenes lacked the same level of brutality of its predecessors.
Overall, you aren’t missing much if you skip it, but I think fans of the franchise should still see it. I think it’s at the level where you can disregard it completely if it’s not to your liking. But it will be no surprise if you leave still believing that Terminator 2 remains the best.
*My review can also be found over at my friends at The Grand Shuckett.