It started as a R-rated horror movie and wound up as a PG-13 joke for several films, only to try to redeem itself as an R rated throwback to better days. What am I talking about? Terminator! In part three of my ever-continuing series about how too much of a good thing can get progressively worse, I will give my brutally honest rating of each Terminator movie. Not appearing here is the tv series as that fits into a different article series, also I never finished it and just now remembered it existed. In case you missed the other two articles (Friday the 13th and Leprechaun) I give two rankings based on a great analogy that I won’t repeat because I wrote it in an article about a much better franchise. Pepper mills are negative rankings and cheese graters are positive rankings, both scores out of a possible one to five with five cheese graters being the best and five pepper mills being the worst. Keep your arms and legs inside the ride at all times and now that everyone knows the rules, we begin our journey into the wild ride that is the Terminator Franchise.
The first two films in the franchise are the ones I’ll call “the good ones”. Sure T2 is the much more favored of the two, but the OG still deserves some credit. Mostly forgotten as a horror movie, the original film chronicles Kyle Reese and his journey back in time to stop the premature murder of Sarah Connor before she can give birth to the future human resistance leader, John Connor, who only appears in this film as his future badass self, never to be seen like this again. So the T-800 gets sent back to kill Sarah before she can conceive baby John, during this pursuit, Sarah and Kyle Reese get brought into each other’s arms and to the naaaaasty dance. This sole action of boning brings about the life of the man that Skynet considers the Anti-Christ. What a twist! Oh, also Kyle dies from his injuries and no one believes Sarah so she gets locked up for being crazy. Next, I hope you like time jumps, because this series has a ton of them! T2, the golden child of this franchise is possibly one of my favorite all-time movies and most definitely Arnold’s absolute best movie. This time the ultra badass T-1000 gets sent back to try and finish the job again, however, the human resistance can learn of Skynet’s plan and sent back a T-800 that was hacked to be much, more friendly. T2 has much more action, much more meme-worthy scenes, and is overall a much better movie than the entire rest of the franchise. The good guys can prevent a nuclear apocalypse, defeat the T-1000 and destroy your soul in the finale. If you don’t cry at the end of this, you are a sociopath, you’re welcome, I saved you a trip to your psychiatrist. I could talk about this movie for days, but I still have the rest of the series to shit on. the are very cool special and practical effects here and it is the best that these movies get.
Now next we get to my first personal real dose of disappointment, Turdminator 3: Rise of the angered fanboys. To say less, T3 took the exact plot of T2, changed just enough to not plagiarize, and did the same thing, except this time, no Sarah to save the day and thus, Skynet launches the nukes at the end, killing billions. Yes, you read that correct, the heroes lose in this one… HARD. the movie ends with John Connor making it to a Nuclear Fallout shelter instead of the Skynet core, failing at stopping judgment day, and then answering calls for help, thus accepting his fate as the leader of the human resistance. I get that they had to have this to get the whole future thing but, I honestly hate this movie the T-X isn’t even as cool as the T-1000, even if she was way hotter than Agent John Doggett. This crapfest also marks the first of many PG-13 movies in this franchise and all I can say is “thanks, but no thanks” as I roll my eyes. The direct sequel to this wasn’t much better. In fact, we get like no real Arnold action in this one as he was busy being the Governator during this time, and we only get a crappy naked CGI copy for like one quick scene. To keep in the tradition of never retaining an actor to portray John Connor, Christian “Batman” Bale plays the series hero on this outing and gives his personal worst ever performance as this entire movie tries to remember its own plot. In fact, he’s not even the main character in this one, this other dude named Marcus takes over as you’re supposed to pretend you didn’t see any of the trailers or marketing materials showing that he’s secretly human/robot hybrid, also known as a Terminator. imagine my shock and awe as I couldn’t believe how much they disrespected my intelligence on this one. It was bad, very bad. One example is having a Young Kyle Reese featured as a scared little boy that John Connor takes in and under his wing. at this point you can’t even care about the throwback, you just want your money back and a recommendation for a much better movie. Also important here, John gets terminally hurt and Marcus sacrifices his own heart to save John, as this is important for foreshadowing future installments. I’ll end this little rant by reminding you that this movie was so bad, that it bankrupted the studio that owned the franchise.
Next up, is a much better movie. While still rated PG-13 and even used series creator, James Cameron as a consultant. I know not everyone liked Genisys, but it threw it back to the first two movies and was a much less stinky turd of a film. In fact, it straight up ignored 3 and 4, and that alone makes me happy. this time, we go back to Kyle Reese and his adventure to father little John Connor. However, the timeline has been messed with and no one expects this twist, the T-800 from T2 (now called pops) was sent back much earlier and raised little Sarah to be a badass from the get-go. They wreck the T-800 from the original film and Kyle Reese is pretty much useless here. This is where things get wacky. Kyle and Sarah now travel to the future to fight Skynet, now called Genisys in a different setting, because so much has been altered, and is now set to launch in 2017. So because they just show up in broad daylight and naked, because you know, time travel, Kyle and Sarah get immediately arrested. What a big surprise when John, who isn’t born yet in this timeline, shows up and saves them. What a bigger eye roll, I mean surprise when John ends up being the physical manifestation of Skynet from the previous-future timeline, which is also the cause for all the wibbly-wobbly timey wimey shenanigans going on in the first place, so of course pops has to now kill John Connor in a total twist of the original motif between the two characters. The end contains a bunch of explosions and a whole lot more suspension of your belief. I’ve spoiled enough here and I do like this one enough, so see the end for yourself to believe it. There is an end-credit scene that has no ramifications because the next, and final film in the series is another reboot.
Terminator: Dark Fate is notable for three reasons, It brings back the R-rating, and is a direct sequel to T2, It also lost a whopping $122.6 million, which makes it one of the biggest cinematic flops ever, ensuring that this is the last film in the series. So we pick up three years after T2 in 1998. Linda Hamilton and CGI Edward Furlong reprise their roles as they enjoy some downtime on a beach, with not a care in the world, that is until a new T-800 just casually strolls up and kills the crap out of Edward Furlong in the opening moments. Now that that’s out of the way, we get another time jump to 2020 where a whole new Terminator, the Rev-9 is sent back to kill Dani Ramos, who takes John’s place in the future war now that John is very dead. The Rev-9 is pretty cool, so bonus points right there. Old lady Sarah shows up and protects Dani, along with future fighter Grace. The trio of women do a great job carrying the franchise into new territory in my eyes, but as I said, this was a huge financial loss so it was also the last outing. We also get to see that the T-800 that killed John, now has a fantastic life with a beautiful family, because of course he does. They call him Carl and he joins the crew of women to fight the future and the badass Rev-9. In this new, once again altered timeline, Skynet is now called Legion and is just as set in its ways to destroy all human life with nukes. Also, Sarah gets cryptic messages from the future about activated Terminator units that get sent back, so she like really good at killing robots at this point. Once again we get a big old robot fight at a factory for the end, and once again we see the remaining heroes ride off into the sunset, hopeful for the future. This ending is much bleaker than the original T2, but as far as direct sequels go, it beats the hell out of Terminator 3. I really Hated Terminator 3.
That being said, Let’s give my ranking for the franchise as a whole. For the bad, I give this series 3 out of 5 peppermills. T2 being the only real saving grace of this series, I will say that each movie delivers some decent action scenes. Even the crappiest ones in the franchise have at least one good moment, but one is all they get.
However, I absolutely love the first two movies, especially T2 as I’ve stated several times by now. While I did personally enjoy Genisys and Dark Fate, most did not and the plug was finally pulled on any future installments. final answer: 3 out of 5 cheese graters.
What do you think? Agree, disagree? Let us know in the comments and I will catch you next week. Also, be sure to catch our Youtube and Twitch channels. Until Next time “I’ll be back”