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Paramount, M, 126 Mins
The fifth Terminator film (in 3D, of course) is also a somewhat blurry rejigging of the first, and revels in absurd time paradoxes and complicated chronological rewritings to the point that even Doctor Who might have been bewildered. Fortunately, Ah-nuld Schwarzenegger, once again in nice-guy mode, is so funny here, and the rest of the cast so appealing, that you’ll go along for the chaotic ride anyway, no matter how puzzling it all threatens to get.
In 2029, with the war against the machines still raging after the nuclear fire of 1997, Sgt. Kyle Reese (Aussie Jai Courtney filling in for Michael Biehn) is sent back to 1984 in a more expensive-looking revamp of the events of the 1984 original. Kyle’s mission is to rescue the imperilled Sarah Connor, as expected, but he instead finds a radically different timeline where Sarah (Game Of Thrones’ Emilia Clarke coolly filling in for Linda Hamilton) is protected by T-800 Terminator the Guardian (Schwarzenegger), as all the while events back in 2029 take a turn too (and look out for a star in the background under a slightly different name than usual).
There’s a muddle here of elements from the first film (striking recreations of 30 year old key scenes), the second (liquid-metal Terminator hi-jinx, all seriously CG) and the compromised fourth, with all that screwy stuff about soldier John Connor (now played by another Aussie, Jason Clarke) out the window in favour of alternate JC(s) and lots of obvious attempts to keep the series going into potential sixth and seventh parts – and beyond. Diehard fans won’t mind (any Terminator is a great Terminator for those guys), but anyone poorly schooled in Terminator lore might feel that their heads are being severely messed with.
(Bonus Features: the 3 disc Blu-Ray edition has the film in 3D, featurettes, multi-angle scene breakdowns and more, while the standard DVD has the film in 2D and just the one featurette, Family Dynamics)