Viewed – 02 July 2012 Online rental
Cartoon faced Chris Pine (Star Trek) and walking muscle Tom Hardy (Warrior, Inception) are two highly trained CIA assassins who fall for the same woman, Reese (the jaw) Witherspoon, and soon find their friendship put to the test as they attempt to sabotage one another’s chances. Meanwhile a terrorist who survived an earlier mission is hell-bent on revenge.
Director McG (Terminator Salvation, Charles Angeles) has crafted an immediately ‘fun’ concept here with a likable cast and plenty of humour, romance and action. Although his flair for pop-corn thrillers livens up the movie with some beautiful sets, slick cars and cool gadgets, he seems most at home with the entertaining love triangle. Witherspoon is equal parts sexy and ditsy and has always been a favourite, whilst the two male leads are perfectly cast; Hardy playing the more in-touch-with-his-feelings type, whilst Pine is the charismatic womanizer with all the right moves. At times the action, which should have been the highlight, seemed forced and to be honest distracting – McG’s approach making me feel like the movie had been put into fast forward every time something kicked off. Add to this a clichéd villain that was all but an afterthought – and this often felt like a movie playing a tug of war with its own ideas.
So as you can probably imagine, it’s the banter between the three principal players where this shines (the dialogue positively bouncing off the screen), and it was still very entertaining. Just a shame McG felt the need to pad it all out with a weak terrorist subplot and badly handled action.
Verdict: 3 /5
Viewed – 09 June 2009 Cinema
Well what can I say here? Lets begin by my thoughts on the Terminator franchise. The first is a genre defining thriller that set the bar for chase movies. The follow up is one of the most well executed, jaw-dropping action movies ever made. The belated third film certainly has its moments, and hey, a naked Kristana Loken in place of Michael Biehn or Arnie’s naked butt is gonna be a keeper every time. But let’s be honest here. T2 wrapped up things so well, I don’t think for a second director and series creator James Cameron envisaged further sequels, and therefore I am always left wondering how on earth the war against the machines is still playing out, than for any other reason than a money making scheme?
So here we are with the latest entry. Arnie is out of the picture this time round, and the setting is the near-future apocalypse of a desert landscape and rebel resistance headed by John Connor (Christian Bale). This time we have a mysterious drifter seeming from the past (Sam Worthngton), who befriends a young Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn’s character in the first film, and future father of John Conner … please try and keep up). Meanwhile John himself is searching for Kyle after discovering that Skynet have his future father targeted, and he therefore must rescue him and keep him safe if he himself is ever to exist and eventually save the day.
This is convoluted stuff that seemingly relies on the viewer having a cast-iron memory of the previous films, no easy task when they were complicated enough to begin with, and Bale although looking the part adds very little to an iconic character that Edward Furlong didn’t deliver much better in T2. Thankfully new hot-property Sam Worthington lends some emotional weight to proceedings and pretty much steals the show. Director McG handles the brilliantly realised action with style & panache, and is definitely an action director to watch, coming fresh off his fun but brainless Charlie’s Angels movies into something, that at least on the surface has more depth. I say on the surface, as there are some majorly stupid plot developments here, especially Skynet’s ridiculous plan to capture Kyle when killing him would much more easily solve their problems with Connor (but then again, we wouldn’t have a film, would we?). Yet we do have some great tongue-in-cheek references to the earlier films that made me smile, and it ticks along at a cracking pace that even if this does feel pointless as far as the whole Terminator mythos is concerned … it remains great entertainment.
Verdict: 4 /5