Rev. Ron’s Bite Size Reviews of the Terminator Franchise

Terminator Week


the terminatorHey gang!  Terminator Genesis Genisys just came out in the last week and I’m about to take a look back at how far we’ve come with this franchise.  Each film varies in quality but the series is now so rooted in pop culture and is infamous the world over that everyone, even babies, know the famous line “I’ll be back.”  Even now, you just read that line in Schwarzenegger’s voice  So, without further ado, let’s take a look back at these films…

The Terminator (1984) – The original film received rave reviews from critics and was herald as one of the best films of the year and it’s not surprising as to why.  Co-writer/director James Cameron brought to life an engaging action film with a solid foundation of science fiction.  The concept of a robot dominated future sending a machine back to kill the mother of the future savior of the human race was super cool and it made for a film that was filled with suspense, action, sympathetic characters and a soundtrack that doesn’t feel dated even listening to it now because it fit so well.  Not to mention seeing Arnold Schwarzenegger play a character so cold and ruthless was impressive and you pretty much believed he was a robot.  It never would have been the same if O.J. Simpson got the role of the Terminator like what was originally planned.

terminator vs t1000

Terminator 2:  Judgment Day (1991) – This is where it’s at!  This is my go-to movie when people ask me to name a sequel that is better than the original.  James Cameron returns to co-write and direct this sequel and he does what a sequel is meant to do and that is up the ante and change it just enough so that it feels fresh but still feels familiar.  This time around Arnie is the good guy and we get a new Terminator in the form of T-1000 (Robert Patrick).  With a killer soundtrack of hard rocking tunes, bigger action and a further dive down the mythology of the franchise’s universe and the road to mankind’s destruction, this film takes the series to a whole new level and this time it was a family affair as Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) fights side-by-side with her son; the human race’s savior John Connor (Edward Furlong).  The performances are awesome and the trio of Hamilton, Furlong, and Schwarzenegger are great and play off each other very well and compliment one another perfectly–and they made for some very amusing moments with Arnie and Edward as John tries to teach the Terminator to be a little more human.  The film also arrived at a time when computer effects were still young and they still hold up today.  Even more impressive is how they perfectly gelled them with incredible practical effects and one-of-a-kind stunts.

terminator vs t-x

Terminator 3:  Rise of the Machines (2003) – While watchable and with its moments, this is the film that the franchise starts its steady decline into mediocrity.  Overall, the film feels like a hastily put together rehash of what we’ve already seen in the previous two films and the moral of how the future can’t be changed starts to come off as repetitive.  Additionally, the film feels like it takes a step backwards with its antagonist.  T-1000 felt like the top tier for human killing machines and that’s why the second film feels so epic.  The T-X (played by Kristanna Loken) feels like a step down from that and doesn’t have the same threat level.  Finally, the film has some bad gags thrown in–like Arnie getting his crotch grabbed by the female Terminator and an awful deleted scene that has Arnie being dubbed with a bad cartoon Southern accent.  However, Rise of the Machines isn’t without its moments.  The performances are still great, there are some awesome practical effects with the early machines for Skynet, and there’s a fantastic car chase sequence that I really dug.

kyle reese and marcus wright

Terminator:  Salvation (2009) – I was actually pretty excited for this film because we got to see Christian Bale step in the shoes of John Connor; however, the film was a mess as it felt like it was trying to be gritty for the sake of being gritty and any human emotion that should have existed in the story (and was prevalent in the previous films) was completely absent.  The effects are cool and the film is shot wonderfully but it never feels like it belongs in the franchise and feels more like a rip-off of the series.  The character of Kyle Reese, although played terrifically by Anton Yelchin, feels like an afterthought and is given second billing to Sam Worthington’s character (I honestly have no clue how Worthington became a leading role man, the guy just doesn’t have the acting chops for it).  Also, the less said about the CG Arnie the better.  That thing gave me nightmares just like the CG Jeff Bridges from Tron did.  In the end, this film just feels like generic Sci-Fi/Action with none of the creativity, energy, or originality that the franchise started with.

terminator vs terminator

So, how does Genisys compare to the rest?  I haven’t seen it yet but, for our readers that have, let us know in the comments (you might want to avoid spoilers, though…show more restraint than the trailers did with this one).  Does this latest addition come close to the first or Judgment Day? Is it just mildly entertaining like Rise of the Machines or is it worse than Salvation? Tell us what you think and which one is your favorite from the franchise!

Rev. Ron is a wannabe movie critic who spends too much of his free time watching movies and writing about them.  You can read more of his reviews at