The tendency of destiny sometimes precludes a changing perception of time. The latest entry into the Terminator franchise brings back the texture of Sarah Connor, the first coming of the female action hero besides Ripley for many years. Now in an era of strong female action roles, the most interesting play in the ideal of Sarah Connor is how tired you know she feels. The irony bakes into her hate, hate for the Terminator, hate for the impending doom, hate for the vigilante she has been forced to become. But Connor as a character has always been about survival. Without giving too much away to the plot, the notion of prophecy or The One as mainstreamed by “The Matrix” seems to add an idea that time fixes whatever changes have been made so the end result is the same. MacKenzie Davis comes in as a protector this time, an altered human sent to protect a young girl who has become a focal point for the machines of a different future who have sent other machines to take her out. The paradox is that this sounds all too familiar in many ways.
The problem is that T2 was such a seminal and original film in this regard that it is hard for anyone, even one of the originators to hold up to it. Granted the sequences feel bigger than some of the previous Terminator entries but not enough to make it original. This is not director Tim Miller’s fault. He tries his best to balance all the expectations and the film is effective but ends up at many of the same points. Schwarzenegger who has been present in all the films throughout has been given a slightly different angle but nothing that directly intensifies the stakes. Certain metaphors of current society do make their way in making for some unusual set pieces but ultimately it feels like a road traveled before however well made.
By Tim Wassberg