Terminator: Dark Fate (2019)

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An augmented human and Sarah Connor must stop an advanced liquid Terminator from hunting down a young girl, whose fate is critical to the human race. (IMDb)
Get Mackenzie Davis in more action movies STAT and fuck all the sexist “The Last Jedi killed my beloved franchise”-esque hate for this movie. Yeah, the plane reveal takes a step onto the nose and the main plot’s a rehash but the lead trio is so refreshing to watch (see Dani’s tear-jerking use of Spanish at the end) and Carl and Sarah’s history adds some seasoning to the story skillet. As for its meat, the set pieces are phenomenal (see the dam sequence leading to the thrilling final team-up).
7.5/10 (Really Good)

Terminator Genisys (2015)

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When John Connor, leader of the human resistance, sends Sgt. Kyle Reese back to 1984 to protect Sarah Connor and safeguard the future, an unexpected turn of events creates a fractured timeline. (IMDb)
It was around the third trip through time that the twisty plot crossed the line from “huh, interesting!” to “wut.” but at least we had Simmons’ wild-eyed O’Brien to add some comedic flavour to the mess (“Goddamn time traveling robots covering up their goddamn tracks!”). The main trio are engaging enough to take us through the wild action-adventure, though the romance is cringe-y and still on the shelf (cuz I didn’t buy it. Heh) and Clarke’s strong Sarah is often undermined (“Protect my Sarah”).
6.5/10 (Alright)

Terminator Salvation (2009)

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In 2018, a mysterious new weapon in the war against the machines, half-human and half-machine, comes to John Connor on the eve of a resistance attack on Skynet. But whose side is he on, and can he be trusted? (IMDb)
Man vs. machine, with the women relegated to giving tearful goodbye kisses. Kate’s pregnant but no one cares, Blair’s action is limited to the dumb prisoner break-out that just circles back to a conclusion that could’ve been arrived at a minute after Marcus’ arrival if the men just had a damn conversation. The climax is a mess even without CGI Arnold. Functional enough as an action-thriller but with bad moments that drag it down and overshadow its better ones (see Marcus’ Skynet self-discovery).
6/10 (Mediocre)

 

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003)

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A machine from a post-apocalyptic future travels back in time to protect a man and a woman from an advanced robotic assassin to ensure they both survive a nuclear attack. (IMDb)
The action is excellent (see the ridiculously destructive early car chase) and the humour is okay, but the whole thing starts to feel like a re-tread of the previous two installments, minus the beating heart passion and bad-assery provided by Hamilton’s Sarah, who is sorely missed (John’s voiceover musings don’t have quite the same impact). The unexpectedly melancholic ending is poignant though and provides the sort of unique and provoking additional content needed for a franchise’s third film.
6.5/10 (Alright)

 

Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

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A cyborg, identical to the one who failed to kill Sarah Connor, must now protect her teenage son, John Connor, from a more advanced and powerful cyborg. (IMDb)
It’s a great action movie–the set pieces are thrilling, the slippery villain excellent, the SFX hold up well, and stoic Terminator and badass Sarah make a great one-two punch of heroes (Furlong’s turn is mediocre)–but its mix of searing dystopian sci-fi and raw human emotion (see Sarah’s fantastic narrations: “Of all the would-be fathers who came and went over the years…this machine was the only one who measured up. In an insane world, it was the sanest choice”) make it a great movie, period.
8/10 (Great)

 

Batman & Robin (1997)

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Batman and Robin try to keep their relationship together even as they must stop Mr. Freeze and Poison Ivy from freezing Gotham City. (IMDb)
So, opening scene, Batman & Robin engage the ice skates built into their suits and start playing hockey with a diamond puck against a blue-faced Arnold and his robot army and I’m thinking, “This is almost ridiculous enough to be good.” Alas, it was not to be: cheesiness aside, there’s too much going on in the script (for the second time Schumacher, two villains is too many), the action scenes are awkwardly staged (very stage-y), and the performances are poor (Thurman’s overacting in particular).
5/10 (Poor)

 

The Terminator (1984)

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A seemingly indestructible robot is sent from 2029 to 1984 to assassinate a young waitress, whose unborn son will lead humanity in a war against sentient machines, while a human soldier from the same war is sent to protect her at all costs. (IMDb)
A time travel twist, a garish synth soundtrack, and a (literally) robotic Arnold with one-liners galore (see his choice from the “possible responses” to the cleaner) add just the right amount of retro-futuristic flair to an easily engaging chase-thriller. The special effects are pretty dated (see the stop motion robot; fake horizon at the end) but that doesn’t mean the climactic fight isn’t great or the open-ended epilogue isn’t supremely satisfying (“…there’s a storm coming in” “I know”).
7.5/10 (Really Good)

 

Red Heat (1988)

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A tough Russian policeman is forced to partner up with a cocky Chicago police detective when he is sent to Chicago to apprehend a Georgian drug lord who killed his partner and fled the country. (IMDb)
Surprisingly serious in tone, for the better–the odd couple buddy cop comedy (see Danko after the interrogation: “Soviet method is more economical”) is merely sprinkled tastefully throughout what is an actually quite solid and well-paced crime thriller set in the gritty streets of Chicago. Nothing crazy (you know, aside from the climactic bus chase), just solid scenes of detective work and bad guy chases. And there’s some subtle character development too (see the humorous final gift exchange).
7/10 (Good)

 

Jingle All the Way (1996)

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A father vows to get his son a Turbo Man action figure for Christmas, however, every store is sold out of them, and he must travel all over town and compete with everybody else in order to find one. (IMDb)
It certainly does well in capturing that Christmas consumer craziness, with its over-the-top single-day plot filled with every-man-for-himself shopping shenanigans featuring the not-exactly-Academy-Award-worthy Arnold, his arsenal of awesome one-liners (“I’m not a pervert!”), and a couple of recurring antagonists. In terms of fitting in those Christmas spirit fuzzies, though, the film flops (Arnold’s redemption is almost all luck), the kid’s surprising and moving final act of generosity aside.
6/10 (Mediocre)

 

Predator (1987)

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A team of commandos on a mission in a Central American jungle find themselves hunted by an extra-terrestrial warrior. (IMDb)
The visual effects haven’t aged well, but the music and the claustrophobic jungle setting create an effective mood right from the beginning. Unfortunately, Schwarzenegger and Weathers’ eye-rolling banter throughout does more harm than good in its attempt to add some character depth to the trigger-happy action, and when Arnold goes Tarzan and takes on The Predator mano-a-mano in the great final act you realize that the rest of the crew were just unnecessary extras from the start as well.
6.5/10 (Alright)