Flaws include bad CGI, a generic romance, and having both a Terry and a Harry character (that one crater scene where they keep yelling at each other while a guy on a walkie-talkie is yelling at both of them is comically chaotic). It’s good otherwise: the pre-explosion tension builds nicely, the disaster action afterwards is gritty and great (ashy drives, acidic boat rides, and claustrophobic underground treks all have real weighty suspense), and the practical effects hold up really well.
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).
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.
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”).