Talking Movies [Judgment Day]: The Terminator


“Three billion human lives ended on August 29th, 1997. The survivors of the nuclear fire called the war Judgment Day. They lived only to face a new nightmare: the war against the machines”.

Yes, friends, today’s the day that Skynet, the malevolent artificial intelligence of the Terminator franchise (Various, 1984 to 2019) was said to have launched an all-out nuclear attack against humanity and reduced us to the point of extinction. Subsequent Terminator films and media may have changed this date, and the specifics of Judgement Day, but one thing’s for sure: there is no fate but what we make for ourselves.


Talking Movies

Released: 26 October 1984
Director:
James Cameron
Distributor:
Orion Pictures
Budget:
$6.4 million
Stars:
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Biehn, Linda Hamilton, and Paul Winfield

The Plot:
The Terminator (Schwarzenegger), a ramosely, relentless cybernetic killer, is sent back in time from the year 2029 to kill Sarah Connor (Hamilton), who is destined to give birth to the saviour of humankind. Her only hope is Kyle Reese (Biehn), a human Resistance fighter sent back in time to protect her and safeguard the future for humanity.

The Background:
In 1982, filmmaker James Cameron awoke from a nightmare that was destined to give birth to one of the most influential science-fiction films of all time; inspired by an episode of The Outer Limits (1963 to 1965) and surely influenced by the likes of Westworld (Crichton, 1973), Cameron crafted a script that few, even the eventual stars, had any real faith in at the time. Initially uncertain about casting Schwarzenegger in the titular role, Cameron was won over by the Austrian Oak and, despite only having seventeen lines in the film, The Terminator made Arnold a mainstream icon and featured the debut of his famous catchphrase. Despite the studio having little faith in the film, The Terminator went on to gross nearly $80 million at the box office and was a resounding critical success. The film catapulted Schwarzenegger to superstardom, was preserved in the United States National Film Registry, and inspired first a blockbuster sequel then a slew of merchandise (including videogames, toys, and comic books) and mediocre to lacklustre continuations in a seemingly-never-ending bid to milk the franchise for all it’s worth.

The Review:
The Terminator opens with one of the most startling and iconic visions of the future ever put the film; in a dark, post-apocalyptic landscape literally littered with human skulls, remains, and the remnants of a once bustling society, machines reign supreme. Gigantic tank-like constructs and airborne fighters are only a part of Skynet’s vast mechanical army, however, which has over-run the world after directly causing a nuclear apocalypse. With the last vestiges of humanity reduced to a rag-tag group of guerrilla soldiers and desolate, frightened civilians, this is a world where humankind is on the very brink of extinction thanks to Skynet’s superior forces and weaponry.

The fate of the world is decided not in a future battle but in a desperate bid to protect the past.

However, the fate of the world is not destined to be decided in 2029; instead, that grim future lives on in the nightmares and memories of Kyle Reese and hangs in the air like an ominous cloud as he desperately attempts to keep Sarah Connor alive. After the human resistance, led by Sarah’s future son, John, scored a decisive and crippling victory over their mechanical oppressors in the future, Skynet activated its most daring plan yet by sending a Terminator, a T-800 model, back to 1984 to kill the mother of its enemy to pre-emptively win the war before it can even begin. In the world of The Terminator, time is like the branches of a tree, splitting off down multiple paths, with no one future being set in time; however, victory in one timeline is deemed victory enough for Skynet and so begins one of the more convoluted science-fiction franchises.

Reese is determined to see his mission through even at the cost of his humanity and empathy.

Disorientated and overwhelmed by the time travel experience (and the sights, sounds, and hustle and bustle of then-present-day Los Angeles), Reese is an agitated, highly-strung, and unpredictable individual. He quickly acclimatises himself to his environment, acquiring a degree of clothing and weaponry, and begins to track down (more like stalk) his assignment. Reese is extremely focused and absolutely dedicated to his mission, determined to protect Sarah even at the cost of his own life and over all other concerns; he never gets unduly distracted and is almost as obsessed and determined as the titular Terminator. Haunted by his traumatic experiences in the future war, Reese has no time for frivolities and very little patience for wasting his time; when psychoanalysed by Doctor Silberman (Earl Boen), he flies into a furious rage at having to answer his questions and being held captive when the Terminator is out there, relentlessly hunting its prey.

Sarah slowly evolves from a meek, frightened victim to a capable and proactive young woman.

Far from the capable and competent character she would later become, Sarah is a meek and relatively uninspiring waitress in The Terminator; the literal definition of a nobody, she’s overworked, underpaid, and underappreciated at work and, despite having friends and a social life, is relatively lonely and unassuming at the start of the film. Disturbed to find that women baring her name have been brutally shot to death across town, Sarah does the smart and logical thing by trying to contact the police but her distress is only increased when she notices Reese following her. When Reese saves her from the Terminator and begins to bark orders at her and rant about a dystopian future and cyborg assassins, she is overwhelmed, clearly scared out of her mind, and, naturally, doesn’t believe a word of what he says. In their earliest moments together, Sarah actually shows some fire when she tries to fight Reese off but, gradually, she comes to see that his ravings are all too true and shows a shadow of the potential she has as an assertive individual by first tending to Reese’s gunshot wound and, in the finale, inspiring him to continue fighting even while mortally wounded and, ultimately, overcoming her pursuer through her own initiative.

The T-800 is a remorseless cyborg assassin who won’t let anything stand between it and its target.

Of course, when you’re talking about The Terminator, you have to talk about Arnold Schwarzenegger; since he’s a walking mountain of a man, it may be difficult to believe that the T-800 was ever an effective infiltration machine but Arnold plays the part of a cold, emotionless cyborg to absolute perfection. The T-800’s monotone voice, unblinking stare, and relentless tenacity make it a chilling villain alone but its menace is only increased by its human appearance; unlike slasher villains and other movie monsters, the Terminator looks and acts human, even sweating and bleeding, and its inhumanity is only revealed in its fittingly machine-like efficiency and the degradation of its outer skin over the course of the film. Cold, remorseless, lacking both empathy and pity, the Terminator doesn’t hesitate to gun down or eviscerate those on its path and is, for all intents and purposes, absolutely unstoppable with the weaponry available to Reese.

Relentlessly hounded by the T-800, Sarah and Reese take advantage of every precious moment.

Because of this, The Terminator is, largely, an escort mission for Reese and a constant race against a unrelenting antagonistic force. Constantly on the defensive, hounded by the Terminator and the police at every turn, Reese and Sarah have few chances to stop and catch their breath but make use of every moment they have together. At first, this means acquiring new vehicles to evade pursuit, finding lodgings, and cobbling together more effective weaponry but, in time, Reese, admits that his motivation to travel through time wasn’t just out of blind devotion to his much-respected commander-in-chief, it was also out of love for Sarah. Though he struggles with these feelings and to stay completely focused on his mission, Sarah, grateful for his affections, protection, and all that he has sacrificed for her (and deeply sympathetic towards the unspeakable horrors he’s lived through in the future), reciprocates his feelings and, amidst the terror of their predicament, they come together (both literally and figuratively).

The Nitty-Gritty:
One of the first and most striking things about The Terminator, thanks to its simple but effective title sequence, is Brad Fiedel’s iconic Terminator theme; a rhythmic, synthetic symphony that resembles a heartbeat, the theme is both memorable and versatile, emphasising the Terminator’s ominous presence whenever it is onscreen and being sped up, slowed down, or played on different instruments to punctuate more emotional or energetic moments of the film. The Terminator also has a grimy, bleak aesthetic and tone that is in stark contrast to its more outlandish science-fiction elements in a style that Cameron described as “Tech-Noir”; sadly, too few films try to emulate this style of filmmaking, to say nothing of The Terminator’s many sequels, which emphasised blockbuster action over tense, atmospheric dread and the unsettling horror of the T-800.

The Terminator’s true nature is revealed the more it takes damage, stripping it of its human façade.

The Terminator is almost genius in its premise; the idea of a cybernetic assassin that is purposely made to appear human means that the film can build towards its more striking sci-fi elements and allows it to use its budget wisely in service of a steadily increasing pace. It isn’t until nearly forty minutes into the film that we first see through the T-800’s eyes or see (and hear) how ineffective conventional firearms are against it and, as the T-800 is further damaged by gunfire, car crashes, and explosions, more and more of its mechanical innards are revealed. This leads to some ambitious practical effects and animatronic shots, such as the T-800 fixing damaged servos in its wrist, amputating a wounded eye, and sporting a bloodied chrome skull beneath its torn skin.

Ambitious and impressive stop-motion and puppetry bring the T-800 endoskeleton to life.

While many of these shots now look rather dated, especially compared to the vastly superior special effects of the second film, they’re still impressive for the time and considering the budget of the film. The Terminator also features some complex and remarkable model shots and miniatures, specifically whenever it jumps to Reese’s nightmares of the future war, and concludes with an ambitious, if clunky, stop-motion effect to bring the exposed T-800 endoskeleton to life. Thankfully, this is only for a brief scene and animatronics and puppets are used for the remainder of the conclusion and to astonishing effect; with a practical, tangible effect to work against, Reese’s final and tragic last stand against the T-800 and its ultimate destruction are all the more compelling and cathartic since it actually feels as though these characters have overcome a very real and very dangerous threat.

Though necessary to the escalation of the film’s villain, it’s a shame to lose Arnold’s presence.

If there’s a downside to The Terminator, though, it’s that Arnold’s alluring screen presence is lost in this finale; although it hardly speaks a word throughout the film, the T-800 has a commanding and captivating screen presence thanks to its unflinching, stoic expression and ability to emulate voices to pass as human. Its human façade erodes over time just as Reese’s rational, machine-like efficiency gives way to human emotion and affection, and it becomes noticeably more aggressive and bolder in its pursuit of Sarah. Initially, there’s a sense that you could survive an encounter with the T-800 if you simply acquiesced to its demands for clothes and weapons but, by the end, it’s storming a police station and gunning down countless police officers without any hint of subterfuge or subtlety. Similarly, while it initially tries to mask its decaying exterior, it abandons all pretence and pursues them, gammy leg and all, as little more than a remorseless, inhuman, mechanical monster.

The film isn’t about changing the future, but preserving it to ensure mankind’s ultimate victory.

Of course, a central theme to The Terminator, and the entire Terminator franchise, is of fate. Reese carries with him a message from John, to Sarah, that there “is no fate but what we make”, which is designed to inspire her to allow Reese to protect her and to fight to change the future. Reese describes 2029 as a “possible future”, again indicating that humanity is not necessarily doomed to extinction and extermination, but the very fact that Sarah and Reese’s unity results in her pregnancy ends the film on an ominous cliff-hanger that suggests that, while the future may not necessarily be set in stone, it is destined to happen one way or another. Later films and Terminator media would greatly expand upon this and use it as an excuse to continue the franchise, even when it doesn’t make sense to do so, but, thanks to an excised sub-plot, there’s little in the film to suggest that the goal is to change the future. Instead, the idea is to preserve the future; by ensuring Sarah’s survival, Reese ensures (at the cost of his own life) that John is born, and humanity is victorious in the future. Fate, however, dictates that this future timeline remains on course since not only does Reese inadvertently become the father of the future (so to speak) but they practically bring about the creation of Skynet through their final confrontation with the Terminator; while this is, obviously a major part of the sequel, the fact that the film purposely ends on a cliff-hanger and with a few unresolved loose ends suggests, however implicitly, that fate is as inexorable as the Terminator itself.

The Summary:
The Terminator is another of the formative films of my childhood; it was, to my earliest recollection, one of the first films I watched to revolve around time travel and present a dystopian, nightmarish future where humanity has been reduced to pockets of underequipped soldiers. It had a lasting effect on my imagination thanks to its bleak visuals, horrific special effects, and thought-provoking approach to time and fate, and was directly responsible for my appreciation and affection for the works of Arnold Schwarzenegger over the years.

As great as the sequel is, The Terminator has a gritty, bleak quality that makes it a timeless classic.

Though the future is a dismal, desolate landscape filled with ruins and suffering, The Terminator is a film as much about hope as it is about inescapable destiny; even with everything lost, humanity continues to fight back against the machines and, even though he’s far from the ravages of that war-torn future, Reese continues to adhere to his mission, whatever the cost, in order to ensure that humanity will, ultimately, triumph. It’s tricky to decide which is better between this and the sequel but, while Terminator 2: Judgment Day (Cameron, 1991) may be bigger, better, and more impressive in almost every way, sometimes it’s just as entertaining to return to the grim, gritty original, which is much more like a traditional slasher or horror film than a sci-fi/action piece and, as a result, just as entertaining in its own right thanks to its simple, but ambitious, story and effects.

My Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Fantastic

What are your thoughts on The Terminator? How do you think it holds up today, especially compared to its other sequels? What did you think of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s performance in the film and do you think it made sense for him to play the titular cyborg? What did you think to the film’s portrayal of fate, especially considering how the later films skewed the concept somewhat? Would you like to see another Terminator film more in the style of this one rather than the bombastic sequel or do you think it’s better to leave the franchise as it is after everything its been through? How are you celebrating Judgement Day today? No matter what you think about The Terminator, and the Terminator franchise, feel free to leave a comment down below.

Game Corner: Terminator: Resistance (Xbox One)

Released: 15 November 2019
Developer: Dlala Studios and Rare
Also Available For: PC, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation 5

The Background:
The Terminator franchise (Various, 1984 to 2019) has quite a long history with videogame adaptations; every film in the franchise has been adapted to at least one videogame over the years and the franchise even crossed over with RoboCop (Verhoeven, 1987) back in the day. Just as the movie rights continually get shopped around Hollywood, so too have the videogame rights done the rounds in the industry; in 2013, though, Reef Entertainment purchased the Terminator rights and their original plan was to create a videogame tie-in to the classic Terminator 2: Judgment Day (Cameron, 1991). Poland-based developers Teyon came onboard to develop the game which, after a delayed North American release, was met with generally unfavourable reviews.

The Plot:
On August 29th, 1997, computer defence system Skynet became self-aware and initiated a massive nuclear strike against humanity, who form a fragmented resistance under the command of John Connor. After his entire unit is wiped out by a mysterious new infiltration unit, a T-800 Terminator, Resistance fighter Private Jacob Rivers is forced to ally himself with scavengers to survive and reunite with the Resistance and continue opposing their mechanical enemy.

Gameplay:
Terminator: Resistance is a first-person shooter (FPS) in which you are placed in the role of Private Jacob Rivers, a Resistance fighter in the war against the machines in a war-ravaged future. Unlike many FPS protagonists, Rivers can actually talk, which greatly helps to flesh out the story and his characterisation, which is also dictated by the choices you make during the story.

Combat and controls are all pretty standard FPS fare, though you can hold more than two weapons.

In terms of controls, it’s all pretty standard FPS fare: A allows you to jump (which is mainly to clear some low obstacles or to hop out of some glitchy parts of the environment), B puts you into a stealthy crouch, Y sees you swinging a metal pipe in a melee attack, and you can press in the left analogue stick to run indefinitely. It takes some time for you to acquire a firearm but, once you do, you can hold the Left Trigger to aim, press in the Right Trigger to fire, and use Y to reload and, in a nice change of pace, you can hold up to four weapons at any one time. You can also throw a variety of explosives and other weapons by pressing the Right Bumper and bring up the weapon wheel with the Left Bumper to switch weapons on the fly (though be warned as this doesn’t pause the in-game action so it does leave you vulnerable).

It’s important to stay out of sight of the machines, especially in the game’s early going.

The first portion of the game is extremely light on combat and is focused more on stealth, survival, and scavenging; Rivers can pick up a whole bunch of junk (or “Trade Resources”) and other items that are used in the game’s rudimentary crafting system to create explosives, Medkits, ammo, and other items but, while it is worth searching high and low and all around to find these items, you can only carry so many in your inventory and, to be honest, I never really found myself lacking for ammo and Medkits and such. In the early going, though, your greatest ally (besides your trust metal pipe) is your ability to stay out of sight; Skynet’s machines will detect you if they spot or hear you, so you must sneak around them and keep an eye on the Motion Detector bar if you don’t want to get into a fight. It’s easy enough to pick off the small Spider Scouts but, when the T-800s come onto the scene, you won’t stand a chance and they’ll hunt you down relentlessly, smashing through doors and choking the life out of you if you’re not careful.

The Ultravision Goggles and comprehensive in-game map help you to track your objectives.

To aid you in getting about during these vulnerable times, you can press in the right analogue stuck to use the Ultravision Goggles, which let you see through walls to a limited extent, point our nearby machines, and show you their health and current weapon (though, annoyingly, you can neither attack or run while using these goggles). You can also enter vents to get around, close and barricade doors to slow the machines down, and toggle a torch (or “flashlight” for you Americans) by pressing down on the directional-pad (D-Pad). A helpful mini map is located in the very clean and limited heads-up display (HUD) and you can bring up a bigger map of the immediate area, and a list of your current objectives and side quests and such, by pressing ‘Select’.

Earn XP to upgrade your different skills and gain access to addition weapons and abilities.

Eventually, you do acquire firearms which, like the enemies you encounter, start small and ramp up as the game progresses; you start off with a pistol and a shotgun battling smaller machines or drones, before eventually acquiring the iconic Phase Plasma Rifle and battling variations of the T-800s. Every time you destroy a machine, complete side quests or missions, or find notes and Skill Books you can increase your skills by spending experience points (XP) on one of three skill trees: Combat (which increases your stealth and allows you to utilise better, more powerful weapons), Science (where you can increase your lockpicking, crafting, and hacking skills), and Survival (which increases the size of your inventory, your health bar, and how quickly you level-up). The maximum level you can reach is twenty-eight and you’ll need to reach level twenty-four to unlock everything but, as long as you stay the course and engage enemies and complete your quests, that’s pretty easy to do.

Use cover and your computer-controlled allies to pick off the machines safely.

Once you become better equipped, your combat options become much more versatile and you can be much more proactive against the machines. Still, you can’t just go in all guns blazing against rooms full of T-800s and may have to content with multiple different enemies in a single environment, meaning you’ll have to switch between staying out of sight of HK-Aerials, picking off Silverfish with your sound decoys, and blasting T-800s in the face from behind or around cover. If worst comes to worst, though, you can always try to run past enemies but a lot of the time your objectives are directly tied to clearing areas of enemies. Luckily, other Resistance fighters are often on hand to offer back-up (or be invulnerable human shields) but make sure they don’t steal your kills (and, thus, your XP in the process).

A couple of mini games help to break up the sneaking and shooting mechanics.

It’s not all sneaking about and combat, though; often you’ll need to use a lockpick to open doors. Lockpicks can be found and crafted and you’ll need a lot of them as they tend to break on the harder games and because the controls are so finicky; basically, you have to rotate each analogue stick to find the sweet spot, which can be tough the first few times but then either you eventually get into the rhythm or the game just decides to let you win (though you can also try to force the lock, which is generally easier despite the higher risk of the pick breaking). You’ll also make use of a hacking device to hack turrets (which is super useful as they’ll attack other machines on your behalf) or open doors, especially in Skynet bases and facilities; these mini games are basically a horizontal version of Frogger (Konami, 1981) and see you moving a small, 8-bit dot across moving pathways while avoiding collisions.

There’s a heavy emphasis on character interactions, which will determine events and endings.

One of the big mechanics of Terminator: Resistance is the emphasis on story and character interactions; you’ll talk to a wide variety of non-playable characters, from scavengers to children and other Resistance fighters and commanders, all of whom have their own stories and opinions. Often, you’ll be asked to pick from a couple of options and what you choose depends on how close your relationships with these characters grow and the endings you’ll get. As there are no Achievements tied to these interactions, you can simply skip through all the dialogue and pick whatever you want and the only real consequence will be that some characters live, die, or fuck you depending on how well you do. These NPCs will also set you optional side quests, which are generally easy enough to accomplish so it’s worth taking the time to complete them if only to take in more of the game’s environments and earn some more XP; in fact, there’s only one point where you absolutely will fail one of two side quests as you’re given the option of killing a man or sparing him, which is a bit of a black mark on your record.

Graphics and Sound:
In many ways, Terminator: Resistance does a fantastic job of recreating the look, feel, and atmosphere of the Future War scenes of the first two Terminator movies; environments are a mess, with bodies, skulls, debris, wreckage, and smashed up cars and buildings all over the place. Every area is a bleak, desolate location where humanity is holding on by the skin of its teeth, with rundown interiors, gaping holes, exploded buildings, and all kinds of post-apocalyptic horror strewn all over the place. In a common issue with the Terminator films, though, it’s odd how many buildings are still standing, vehicles still work, and technology that still operates with little issue but, for the most part, it definitely sets the mood for the game and works best in the night-time sequences.

The game includes some welcome, and surprising, faithful references to the first two films.

The best thing about this is when the game includes references to the first two films; you’ll spend a lot of time in Pasadena, a common location from the films, including paying a visit to Big Jeff’s (Big Buns is even standing right outside of it) and what appears to be Miles Dyson’s house, and, while Arnold Schwarzenegger doesn’t make an appearance, a body in the hospital bares more than a little resemblance to Robert Patrick’s T-1000. The desolation of the world is juxtaposed with Skynet’s smooth, shiny, horrific technology; Skynet encampments can be infiltrated here and there and large mechanical prisons and structures are all over the place, all of which are highly technologically advanced and stand out from the misery and suffering of other recognisable environments, such as the Resistance base.

Sadly, as good as the machines look, the human character models leave a lot to be desired.

Sadly, though, while a lot of the environments look great, they’re very drab and grey and, while the T-800s and other machines are faithfully recreated, character models look absolutely dreadful; they, and the game in general, resemble something more suitable for the Xbox 360 and I can imagine people who paid full price for the game were quite disappointed with these graphical features. Since story and character interaction is a big part of the game, it’s very noticeable during gameplay even with the comparative lack of cutscenes and no amount of awkward first-person sex scenes can really save that.

The game’s stability and graphics may be questionable but the soundtrack is impressive.

I also noticed a fair amount of graphical issues, such as renderings and items popping up and a delay in them loading properly and, as if some long load times weren’t bad enough, I also had a weird moment where the game crashed on me. There are also some odd grammatical errors in a lot of the dialogue sequences (“you’re” instead of “your”) but where the game excels is not only recreating the bleak Terminator mood and allowing you to take part in the penultimate campaign against Skynet’s defence grid but also in the use of music and sound effects ripped straight from the films. The ominous T-1000 theme, especially, stood out to me as a highlight during the more action-packed moments and the iconic “duh-duh-dun-da-dun” plays frequently throughout the game, which never gets old, though I found the user interface to be a little too boring and simplistic.

Enemies and Bosses:
One thing I really enjoyed about Terminator: Resistance is that, unlike some other games I could mention, you never had to fight against human enemies (though you can kill any of the really shittily animated rats you find for a Trade Resource); it’s fitting that, even though the human survivors don’t always agree or even like each other, they’re still united against the common, prevailing threat Skynet poses.

A handful of mechanical monsters regularly patrol the war-ravaged future.

Instead, you’ll battle a range of mechanical enemies; the first you’ll encounter are the Spider Scouts, which are small spider-like machines that zap you with an electrical blast if you come too close but are easily smashed into junk with your lead pipe or some pistol bullets. Scout Drones hover overhead and protect their vulnerable “eye” with their armoured flaps and Armoured Spiders scuttle about and blast at you from their twin guns; again, the key here is to target the red eye when it’s exposed and shoot from behind nearby cover. Silverfish pose a bit more of a problem as they pop out of their metal hidey-holes and roll at you in a suicide run (you can coax them into destroying themselves, though, with a sound decoy and they’re easy enough to pick off with a shotgun).

At first, you’ll need to hide from the T-800s but, by the end, you’ll be blasting them to smithereens.

Eventually, of course, you’ll come up against the Plasma Rifle-wielding T-800s; these horrific mechanical endoskeletons patrol around and relentlessly clomp after you to blast you to smithereens or crush you to death and must, initially, be evaded or put down with pipebombs until you acquire Plasma Rifles of your own. You’ll also encounter slightly different variants of these machines which utilise flamethrowers, more powerful Plasma Rifles, or even dual-wield weapons, though they’re often indistinguishable from each other beyond the number of weapons they use and the colour of their laser blasts.

The massive T-47 is actually pretty easy to take down if you keep your distance.

Terminator: Resistance is surprisingly light on boss battles; you’ll have to hack into and destroy Skynet outposts by overloading the main console and will come up against larger versions of the T-47 Walker every now and then. These like to fire rockets or plasma blasts at you but, because they’re so big and clunky, it’s pretty easy to pick them off from a distance and from behind nearby cover and it’s definitely worth doing for the XP and to take them off the battlefield. Later on, though, you’ll have to battle them alongside other machines and multiple Walkers at once, though your more powerful weapons and explosives will turn the tide in your favour.

The T-850 infiltrator is a far more formidable killing machine, but easily duped.

You’ll also do battle against the T-850, which is the infiltrator model of the T-800, covered in human flesh, and wields a far more powerful Plasma Rifle. The T-850 can also absorb a great deal of punishment (with more and more of its exterior suffering damage as the fight goes on), retreats behind cover and out of range, and even throws pipebombs at you from a distance. Eventually, you’re left to finish it off by yourself, which can be a daunting battle but it’s also ridiculously easy to trick it into going around in circles around parts of the environment. Later in the game, you’ll be stuck in a narrow corridor with only a few pillars for cover and trapped in the burning remains of the Resistance base but, in both cases, you’ll have access to far more powerful weapons to make short work of the T-850.

The HK-Aerial and Tank prove to be dangerous threats requiring a little more skill to destroy.

A persistent threat in many of the game’s missions is the iconic HK-Aerial; similar to when you first encounter the T-800, at first all you can do is hide when this flies overhead and you can only bring them down when you get your hands on a rocket launcher and the game’s more powerful plasma weapons. One of the standout boss battles is against the titanic HK-Tank; though completely stationary, it will unleash a barrage of plasma shots at you if it spots you and you’re forced to desperately run around the ruins of the environment, grabbing rockets and stunning it with shots to its head to score a damaging blow at its exposed generator. It’s quite a harrowing battle, made all the more tense by waves of different machines that distract you from your main objective.

The final mission sees you storming the defence grid in a massive campaign against Skynet.

Terminator: Resistance is at its most enjoyable when you’re out in the field trading shots against a variety of metallic machines and the game’s final mission is all about that. Loaded up with the most powerful weapons, with a Resistance-piloted HK-Tank at your back, you’ll blast down every single variant of Skynet’s forces as you help to smash through the defence grid, including T-800s, T-850s, HK-Aerials, and another HK-Tank, all of which are reduced to mere cannon fodder by this point thanks to the weaponry at your disposal and makes for a thrilling conclusion to the game.

Power-Ups and Bonuses:
As you explore the game’s various bleak or ruined environments, you’ll pick up all kinds of junk and other items that can either be used to craft useful resources or traded with other survivors for ammo and weapons. When you destroy machines, you’ll be able to loot them for weapons, ammo, items, and chips; these can be grafted to the Plasma-based weapons to power them up, increasing their fire rate, ammo capacity, handling, and damage output, but must be placed in a specific order so that they actually work.

Your standard firearms soon get replaced by heavy-duty plasma weapons to deal serious damage.

Weaponry is largely tied to your current level, the progression of the story, and how you unlock upgrades through the skill tree. At first, you’ll have your lead pipe, pistol, shotgun, and rapid fire weapons like the uzi and machine gun but, eventually, you’ll be able to wield a far more powerful Plasma Rifle that will even the odds against T-800s and Skynet’s more powerful machines. A major plot point of the story is the acquisition of the VSB-95 plasma minigun (as seen in the first film) and, while you can eventually wield this beast of a weapon, you can also acquire other plasma-based weapons, such as a sniper rifle-esque gun and more powerful plasma weapons. The most powerful of these don’t require reloaded but will overheat if overused, which adds an extra dimension to combat as you’ll be left vulnerable while waiting for the weapon to cool down but can blast the machines to smithereens in seconds on the flip side.

Get in close to use the Termination Knife for an instant kill move.

Rivers can also utilise a number of sub weapons, such as pipebombs like in the first film, decoys to take out Silverfish, and more powerful explosives. You can also pick up and craft Medkits to replenish some, or all, of your health and also acquire (or, again, craft) a series of stimulants that will give you an edge in combat by temporarily slowing down the action or increasing your attack and defence. Then there’s the so-called “Termination Knife”, a specially crafted electrical shiv that will instantly dispose of a Terminator if you manage to sneak up behind them for an instant kill move.

Additional Features:
Terminator: Resistance features twenty-five Achievements for you to earn, most of which are tied into story progression. Although there are four difficulty modes, no Achievements are tied to them so you may as well play through on ‘Easy’ to sweep them up, but I’d advise upgrading your lockpicking skills to the maximum as quickly as possible as you can miss the ‘No Hope’ Achievement otherwise. Other Achievements include setting off a boombox to annoy an NPC, destroying the T-47 in Pasadena, and simple things like hacking a device or crafting items so it’s pretty easy to get all of the Achievements on offer.

There’s not much replay value beyond the Achievements and limited DLC.

Sadly, there’s no a lot of incentive to replay the game beyond reliving some of its more entertaining moments; when you finish it, there’s no ‘New Game+’ mode and, while you can reload previous chapters to try out different dialogue options, endings, and grab a few missed Achievements, none of your skills or weapons carry over. There’s also no multiplayer option but the Steam and PlayStation 5 versions of the game does allow you to download “Infiltrator” mode that puts you in the shoes of the iconic T-800 and sets you against the human resistance. Presumably, this mode will eventually come to Xbox as well and I can only hope that, when it does, it comes with some new Achievements.

The Summary:
Terminator: Resistance is probably the best and most accurate Terminator videogame ever made; it perfectly captures the atmosphere and mood of the first two movies and recreates some of the dread and tension of the first film alongside the action and desperation of the second film. Numerous references and allusions to the first film help to emphasise the legitimacy of the title, which does a much better job of continuing the franchise than the last movie, and the game does a great job of bringing the machines to life even without some of the more iconic celebrity licenses. Sadly, though, the game’s graphics, character models, and glitchier moments let it down; it feels like a step back, technologically speaking, and, while it’s not a game-breaker, it was noticeable. It’s also little more than a fairly bog standard FPS; the stealth elements and tenser moments of the early going were an interesting change of pace and I was happy to see that the crafting system was nice and simple, but there’s a lot of extraneous collecting and some wasted potential here and there (particularly in the branching story paths) that also bring the game down a bit. Without the Terminator name attached to it, it would be little more than another unremarkable FPS title but, as it is, it’s enjoyable enough if you pick it up cheap.

My Rating:

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Could Be Better

Have you ever played Terminator: Resistance? If so, what did you think of it and how do you think it holds up against other Terminator games and FPS titles? What did you think about the game’s graphics and its attempts to recreate the look and feel of the Future War? Did you enjoy the stealthier sections or are you more a fan of the more action-orientated parts of the game? Do you feel like it failed to properly live up to its potential or do you think it’s decent enough for what it is? Would you like to see more Terminator games in the future and which Terminator videogame is your favourite? Whatever your thoughts on Terminator: Resistance, feel free to leave a comment below and be sure to check back in next Sunday as I’ll be celebrating Judgment Day!

Game Corner [Bite-Size]: The Terminator (Mega Drive)

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Released: 1992
Developer: Probe Software
Also Available For: DOS, Game Gear, Master System, Mega-CD, Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES)

A Brief Background:
The Terminator (Cameron, 1984) was a massive box office hit, catapulting star Arnold Schwarzenegger to superstardom, and making nearly $80 million at the box office against a paltry $6.4 million budget and quickly becoming a cult classic. Its incredible success not only led to numerous sequels and spin-offs at the cinema and in comic books but also a number of videogame adaptations, despite the film’s violence and mature content, released for virtually every home console available at the time. The Terminator was generally well-regarded at the time, with critics praising its digitised graphics and catchy music, although the game’s length and difficulty have drawn criticism.

First Impressions:
The Terminator begins hopefully enough; it features the opening text of the movie alongside a pretty decent recreation of the iconic Terminator theme and opening credits. It even includes a further piece of introductory text and dialogue between main character Kyle Reese and his commanding officer that gives the player the rundown on the game’s first mission. Once you move past these opening sections (and choose from a range of difficulty options in the game’s main menu), you’re dropping into the role of Reese in the middle of the war-ravaged Los Angeles of 2029.

Mere seconds are being given your mission, you’re attacked by HKs in a post-apocalyptic landscape!

The controls are just about what you would expect from a run-and-gun title like this; the directional pad moves Reese around and allows him to duck to avoid incoming fire and scale ladders, the A button has you drop and detonate one of your few smart bombs to break down certain walls, B will cause you to either toss an infinite number of grenades or fire your weapon, and C performs a jump. You can alter these controls in the game’s options but, sadly, the controls aren’t the issue here; it’s the game’s literal immediate difficulty spike as, after a few steps to the right, you’ll immediately be fired upon by a Hunter Killer (HK) Tank! Touch its treadmills or get hit by its diagonal blasts and Reese will lose health; since you don’t have a gun, your only option is to lob grenades and it takes a shit load to finally put it down. Then, a couple of steps after this, a HK Aerial will fly overhead dropping bombs on you! This one can’t be taken out so you’ll have to desperately try to avoid its bombs to make it down the ladder and into the Terminator base.

Once you enter the complex, you’re beset by an endless swarm of Terminators.

Once in the underground base, you’ll be faced with an endless swarm of what appear to be T-600 model Terminators who blast at you with Plasma Rifles. Luckily, they’re quite slow and you can generally duck beneath their shots but they’ll also duck and shoot at you, which can be tricky to avoid as the ceiling’s quite low and stunts your jump. The main issue is the fact that the Terminators just. keep. coming without end; add to that the little mini tanks that are also in the area and that fact that you only get one life to complete the entire game and you’re in for a troublesome time right off the bat.

Fight through the maze to plant a bomb and get yourself off to the past.

The absolute worst thing, though, is that this opening stage is a bloody maze! It’s almost impossible to figure out where you’re supposed to go as everything looks the same. Sometimes you’ll reach a wall you can’t pass and will need to blow it up but if you waste your smart bombs, you can’t progress; other times, you’ll run around in circles being whittled down by the endless onslaught of Terminators desperately trying to find some health and ammo only to be gunned down. Eventually, you may stumble upon an orange section of the environment (the “Time Displacement Reactor” according to the manual) where you’re supposed to place a smart bomb to blow the facility but there’s no indication that you have to do this and, once you do, you’ll have to run out of the complex before it explodes! If you try to run to the right on the top level before doing this, you’ll be immediately killed by Skynet’s defence systems but you can just as easily be killed trying to escape.

My Progression:
If you’ve read some of my Bite-Size features before, and the text above, then you know where this is going. I couldn’t even get past the first damn mission! A longplay I watched actually made this first mission seem pretty simple but, when trying to figure it out for myself on “Easy”, I kept getting turned around, running out of smart bombs, and trapped in the underground complex.

Get past the first mission (if you can…) to recreate more iconic scenes from the film.

From what I can gather, The Terminator isn’t an especially long game and can be beaten fairly quickly; sadly, I cannot comment on this as the developers sought to artificially extend the playtime of the game by making it a right ball-ache just trying to get through the first mission. Seems to me that they could have just as easily taken inspiration from the likes of Contra (Konami, 1987) and other run-and-game games available at the time. Endless swarms of enemies and a bit of a puzzle/maze layout aren’t necessarily bad gameplay mechanics in-and-of themselves but, here, they made the game needlessly frustrating and, even worse, the PAL version of the game doesn’t even include any cheat codes to help bypass these issues, meaning I’ll have to actually get good in order to progress!

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I was super excited to play The Terminator and pretty damn disappointed to find that the first mission is all-but impassable without knowing exactly what you have to do, where you need to go, and was full of endlessly spawning enemies. Add to that the fact that you only get one life for the whole game and it was a pretty dissatisfying experience. Still, have you ever played The Terminator on the Mega Drive? If so, were you able to get past the first mission and complete the game? Do you think I need to suck it up and give it another go or would you recommend playing a different version of the game, perhaps the Mega-CD version? Have you ever played a videogame where everything about it was really good and appealing but you just kept hitting a wall and couldn’t progress? What is your favourite Terminator or run-and-gun game? Are you excited for Judgment Day later this month? I have a few more Terminator articles coming to celebrate it so be sure to check back in next Sunday for more Terminator content.

10 FTW: Comic Book Crossovers We Need To See

If there’s one thing comic books allow, it’s the grandiose crossover between characters. Ever since Barry Allen met Jay Garrick all the way back in 1961 and introduced the idea of multiple parallel universes, comic book characters have existed in both isolated shared universes and travelled across a near infinite multiverse. However, while it’s relatively common to see Bruce Wayne/Batman and Clark Kent/Superman interact with the Justice League or the Teen Titans, or to have Peter Parker/Spider-Man randomly join forces with the Fantastic Four or the X-Men, we’ve also seen the characters of DC and Marvel Comics interact with each other. We’ve seen Superman and Batman both cross paths with Spider-Man, the X-Men team with the New Teen Titans, and both publishers’ greatest heroes go head-to-head in the epic DC Versus Marvel Comics (Marz and David, et al, 1996) crossover.

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There have been some weird crossovers in comics.

In addition, Dark Horse Comics snapped up multiple science-fiction and horror film franchises, giving us crossovers such as RoboCop Versus The Terminator (Miller, et al, 1992) and a whole slew of Aliens vs. Predator (Various, 1989 to present) comics. It doesn’t end there, either; we’ve seen Batman cross paths with Judge Dredd on multiple times and Frank Castle/The Punisher team up with not only Eminem but also pop up in Archie Comics, and it was thanks to such comic book crossovers that we finally got to see the three-way mash-up between Freddy Kruger, Jason Voorhees, and Ash Williams! Yet, as many and varied and seemingly limitless as these crossovers can be, it seems like we’ve missed out on a few seemingly-obvious crossovers. Maybe it’s because of licensing issues or the fact that DC and Marvel Comics don’t tend to do a lot of business together lately, but, either way, I figured I’d talk about ten crossovers I’d love to see in comic books.

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10 Justice Society/Watchmen

After DC Comics finally put an end to the largely-awful New 52 run, they teased Alan Moore’s seminal work, Watchmen (ibid, et al, 1986 to 1987), becoming part of DC canon when Edward Blake/The Comedian’s iconic smiley-face button turned up in the Batcave. Cue the extremely delayed publication schedule of Doomsday Clock (Johns, et al, 2017 to 2019), a storyline that revealed that Jon Osterman/Doctor Manhattan had been influencing DC canon for decades. While this, obviously, brought the characters of Watchmen (or, at least, versions of them) into conflict with Superman, Batman, and other versions of the Justice League, it’s the older, more seasoned members of the Justice Society of America (JSA) I’d like to see have extended interactions with the Crimebusters.

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A battle between these two could destroy realities, much less worlds!

The JSA were at their peak around the time of World War Two, meaning they are decidedly more optimistic and pragmatic about their approach to crimefighting. The Crimebusters, meanwhile, existed in a largely dystopian version of the 1980s that was pretty bleak and constantly on the verge of another World War, meaning this team up could produce an interesting clash of styles and philosophies that would probably be more in keeping with Moore’s more reflective text rather than an all-out brawl. Plus, who doesn’t want to see who would win a battle between Jim Corrigan/The Spectre and Doctor Manhattan?

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9 Pulp Heroes United

Before Batman and Superman, there were the pulp heroes of the 1930s to 1950s. Names like the Phantom, the Shadow, the Spirit, the Rocketeer, and Green Hornet may have faded from mainstream relevance in recent years, but they live on thanks to publications from Dynamite Comics and crossovers with DC Comics. Speaking of Dynamite Comics, they came very close to this crossover with their Masks (Various, 2014 to 2016) series, which saw the Shadow teaming up with the Green Hornet and Kato, a version of Zorro, and the Spider but this crossover has so much potential to really pay homage to the heroes of yesteryear. Ideally, such a comprehensive team up would be similar to The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (Moore, et al, 1999 to 2019) in its scope and legacy; hell, I’d even have the Phantom, the Shadow, the Spirit, the Rocketeer, Green Hornet and Kato, Zorro, Doc Savage, the Lone Ranger and Tonto, and the rest of their ilk butting heads with the Martians from The War of the Worlds (Wells, 1897) at the turn of the century. A proper sepia-toned, steampunk-filled piece that sees these wildly different pulp heroes begrudgingly working together to save the world could be a great way to thrust these overlooked classic heroes back into the spotlight.

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8 Red Hood/Winter Soldier

If the comic industry was like it was back in the mid-nineties, we would surely have already seen this crossover, which is as obvious and as fitting as the team up between the Punisher and Jean-Paul Valley/Azrael during his brief tenure as Batman. Speaking of which, a team up between Jason Todd/Red Hood and the Punisher is just as enticing but, in terms of thematically complimentary characters, you’re hard pressed to find two more fitting that Jason Todd and Bucky Barnes. Both characters were well-known sidekicks to greater heroes whose deaths shaped, influenced, and affected their mentors for years, and both even returned to life as violent, broken anti-heroes around the same time.

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Jason and Bucky’s deaths weighed heavily on Bat and Cap for years.

Yet, while Bucky has gone on to not only redeem himself and assume the mantle of Captain America (and is largely far more mainstream thanks to his prominent inclusion in the Marvel Cinematic Universe), Jason Todd has floundered a little bit. It didn’t help that Jason’s resurrection was directly tied to DC’s latest reality-shattering Crisis for years (even though there have since been far less convoluted explanations, and he really should have been Hush all along) but, even ignoring that, Jason’s place is skewed as one minute he’s a sadistic killer, then he’s a violent anti-hero, then he’s wearing the Bat embalm and is an accepted (however begrudgingly) member of the Bat Family. However, both characters have carved a name out for themselves as being willing to go to any lengths to punish the guilty; each has blood on their hands, a butt load of emotional and personal issues, and a degree of augmented strength, speed, and skill thanks to their training or resurrection. While both are similar, Bucky is far more likely to be the bigger man and take the more moral ground, which would be more than enough to emphasise the differences between the two (provided Jason feels like being more antagonistic in this theoretical crossover).

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7 Judge Dredd/RoboCop

It’s no secret that RoboCop exists almost solely because of Judge Dredd; without 2000 A.D.’s no-nonsense lawman, we’d likely never have seen the excellently gore-and-satire-filled sci-fi action that is RoboCop (Verhoeven, 1987). While Batman has had more than a few run-ins with Judge Dredd, Detroit’s resident cyborg supercop has yet to meet his cinematic counterpart. The story is so simple is basically writes itself; you could have RoboCop awakened from suspended animation or reactivated after decades of being offline in the war-ravaged dystopia of Mega City One and briefly come into conflict with Dredd.

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Robo might need an upgrade to two to make things even…

I’d wager that RoboCop would be the more likely of the two to be more morally inclined; RoboCop generally operates based on very specific, law-abiding directives (or, depending on the version, his own conscience) that justify violence in service of protecting the innocent. Dredd, meanwhile, is just as likely to arrest victims of crimes as those who perpetrate them and is generally more an example of totalitarianism and uncompromising brutality in the name of the “law!” Yet, just as Dredd and Batman were able to work together despite coming to blows over their methods and philosophies, these two would make quite the formidable team once they’d ironed out their differences…though RoboCop may need an upgrade or two to survive in the future.

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6 Deadpool/The Mask

DC Comics have had many crossovers with Dark Horse over the years, resulting in numerous interactions between DC’s finest and the Xenomorphs, Predators, and Terminators. Similarly, both companies worked together on a number of crossovers revolving around the violent, big-headed cartoon anti-hero “the Mask”.

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Both characters are known for their comic violence.

It stands to reason, then, that if the Joker acquiring the magical mask and gaining its powers is a natural fit, a crossover between the near limitless power of the mask and everyone’s favourite fourth-wall breaking Mutant, Wade Wilson/Deadpool, would be just as fitting. Both characters are known for their over-the-top, cartoony violence, springing weapons out of thin air, directly addressing the reader, and busting heads with a maniacal glee. Hell, DC and Dark Horse had Lobo team up with “Big-Head” and even acquire the mask in another crossover and, given Lobo’s similarities to Deadpool, it wouldn’t bee too hard to imagine a crossover between these two being little more than a non-stop bloodbath as they tried in vain to damage each other, before Deadpool inevitably acquires the mask for himself and, in all likelihood, reduces all of conscious reality to a cheesy puff.

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5 RoboCop vs. Terminator vs. Aliens vs. Predator

Speaking of Dark Horse Comics, they really have brought us some great crossovers over the years; RoboCop Versus The Terminator and Aliens vs. Predator were natural stories to present in comics, videogames, and toys that were (arguably) too big for movies. They also merged three of these franchises together in Aliens versus Predator versus The Terminator (Schultz, et al, 20000), though that story was more a sequel to Alien: Resurrection (Jeunet, 1997) and a continuation of the Aliens vs. Predator comics than anything to do with the Terminator (Various, 1984 to 2019) films. Instead, this four-way crossover would give Dark Horse a chance to take the time-hopping, action-packed story of RoboCop Versus The Terminator and merge it with their complex Aliens vs. Predator comics.

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RoboCop should lead the fight against these monsters.

RoboCop would probably be best served as the central character of the story; a member of the human resistance could travel back in time to try and eliminate RoboCop, only to run into a T-800 right as Predators come to clean up a Xenomorph outbreak in Detroit. A time dilation could transport them to the war-ravaged future, where RoboCop could team up with a reprogrammed T-800 (or John Connor) against the aliens, or perhaps the future war would be changed by the reverse-engineering or Predator technology. There’s a lot of potential in this crossover but, for me, it only really works if you include RoboCop. Without him, you end up with a poorly-executed concept like Aliens versus Predator versus The Terminator, which really didn’t utilise the Terminator franchise enough. But imagine a Terminator/Xenomorph (or Predator) hybrid exchanging plasma blasts with a Predator-tech-upgraded RoboCop and tell me that doesn’t sound cool!

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4 Hellboy/Constantine

We’re scaling back a bit with this one. Honestly, I am very surprised we’ve never seen these two team up before, especially considering the amicable relationship DC and Dark Horse Comics have had over the years. Hell, we did get a brief team up between Hellboy and Batman but, arguably, this is the far more fitting choice. In this concept, I would go with the idea that John Constantine and Hellboy co-exist in the same world and have them cross paths when investigating the same supernatural threat or mystery. Obviously, they’d have to fight before teaming up (or, perhaps, they’d just rub each other the wrong way after being forced to team up), but can you imagine the quips and taunts and insults Constantine would have for Hellboy all throughout this crossover? Toss in guys like Swamp Thing and Etrigan, or even the Justice League Dark and the rest of Hellboy’s buddies (and absolutely have Mike Mignola provide his distinctive art style to the piece alongside co-authoring the story with either Grant Morrison or Neil Gaiman) and you could have a very dark, moody, and entertaining paranormal crossover.

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3 Batgirl/Spider-Gwen

This one is more of a light-hearted pick but there’s nothing wrong with a bit of unapologetic fun amidst all the big action set pieces and violent action. After her debut in the “Spider-Verse” (Slott, et al, 2014 to 2015) storyline and prominent inclusion in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Persichetti, Ramsey, and Rothman, 2018), this alternative version of Gwen Stacy has gained quite the fan following over the years and has become firmly entrenched in Marvel canon as Ghost-Spider.

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These two have quite a bit in common, it seems.

Meanwhile, since the New 52, DC have returned Barbara Gordon to the role of Batgirl; this wasn’t without some controversy as, for years, Barbara had operated just fine as a paraplegic and the Batgirl mantle had been assumed by other, far more suitable candidates. Yet, DC have continued unabated, largely changing Barbara from a smart and capable tech and information wizard, to a far more catty, athletic, and socially-conscious young lady. Despite this, this has the potential to be a really fun crossover between these two; while Babs should really be the older and more mature of the two, they’re both around the same age these days (somewhere between fifteen and twenty-one, depending on DC and Marvel’s sliding timelines), meaning there would be a lot of common ground between the two. No doubt they would have plenty to say about each other’s costumes, hair, and ex boyfriends (throw Nightwing in there and have that cause a bit of tension between the two) and I would even have them team up against C-list villains, like the Vulture, Chameleon, Shocker, Mad Hatter, or Killer Moth, just to keep the focus on fast-paced, witty action rather than getting all sour and bleak.

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2 Spider-Man 2099/Batman Beyond

I know what you’re thinking: Shouldn’t this be a crossover between Batman Beyond (1999 to 2001) and Spider-Man Unlimited (1999 to 2001), considering both cartoons aired at the same time and both characters wore similar, futuristic costumes? Well, you might be right, but Spider-Man Unlimited really should have been based on the initial Spider-Man 2099 (Various, 1992 to 1996) comics as that cartoon is largely remembered for being a poor follow-up to the superior Spider-Man (1994 to 1998) animated series and for featuring a pretty neat new costume for Spidey. Instead, I’d go with Spidey’s futuristic counterpart, Miguel O’Hara, who is more famous for operating in an alternative future of Marvel Comics. Again, the easiest way for him to interact with Terry McGinnis would be to have them exist in the same world but there’s a bit of an issue with that: Batman Beyond was set in 2039 when Terry was sixteen. The Justice League Unlimited (2004 to 2006) episode “Epilogue” (Riba, 2005) jumps to fifteen years later and Terry is a thirty-one-year-old Batman but the story would probably need some kind of time travel plot to bring these characters together at their peak.

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Both characters come from similar futuristic worlds.

Luckily, neither character is no stranger to time-hopping adventures; perhaps the best way to do this would be to have two similar villains in each world experimenting with time/reality-bending technology and cause a dilation that threatens to merge both timelines unless Miguel and Terry can stop them. I’d even have them both swap places; have Miguel wake up one morning in Neo-Gotham, running into the aged, grouchy Bruce Wayne (Kevin Conroy) and battling some of Terry’s foes, while Terry randomly finds himself dumped in Nueva York and running afoul of Alchemax. After two issues of them exploring each other’s world, the third issue would be the obligatory fight between the two before they agree to team up for the fourth and final issue and sort out the problem. Both characters’ futuristic costumes have very similar traits and exist in visually interesting futuristic worlds, making a potential clash and eventual team up between them an exciting prospect for the art work and banter alone.

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1 Batman/The Crow

Easily the top choice for me, and the genesis of this list, I literally cannot shake how perfect a crossover between Batman and Eric Draven/The Crow would be. Neither are strangers to inter-company crossovers but, while the Crow has had to settle for teaming up with the likes of Razor, The X-Files (1993 to 2018), and Hack/Slash (Seeley/Various, et al, 2014 to 2018), Batman has met Al Simmons/Spawn, Spider-Man, Judge Dredd, and even Elmer Fudd and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

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Batman could put his detective skills to use when Eric comes to Gotham.

Yet, this crossover provides the opportunity to get Batman back to the gritty, noir-inspired style of stories like The Long Halloween (Loeb, et al, 1996 to 1997) utilising an art style that is part Dave McKean and part James O’Barr. As for the plot, I’d have Eric return to his undead life once again after it is revealed that there was another figure pulling the strings of Top Dollar’s gang. This would, of course, bring Eric to Gotham City, where he’d start killing members of this extended gang of thugs with his usual brand of violence and poetic justice. Naturally, this would lead him into conflict with Batman but, rather than the two descending into a poorly written, childish brawl as in Spawn/Batman (Miller and McFarlane, 1994), it would probably be better to focus on Batman’s detective skills as he investigates Eric’s murder, those behind the murder, and Eric’s violent actions on the streets of Gotham. In fact, I probably would only have the two interact right at the conclusion of the story, just as Eric is about to kill his final target; they could have a discussion on morality and the meaning of justice but, ultimately, Eric would fulfil his mission and return to the grave regardless of Batman’s protestations, leaving Batman to ponder the line between justice and vengeance.

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What comic book crossover would you like to see? Which comic book crossover has been your favourite, or most reviled? Whatever you think about comic book crossovers, leave a comment below.

10 FTW: Under-Rated Sequels

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Sequels are funny things; you have to get the balance just right between providing everything people enjoyed about the first moving but expanding upon the plot and characters in a natural way. If it’s difficult for a lot of sequels to get this right, it’s even harder for third, fourth, or other sequential entries to hit the mark.

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It’s not easy to make a sequel that surpasses the original.

There’s a few prime examples of sequels done right (Back to the Future Part II (Zemeckis, 1989), Terminator 2: Judgment Day (Cameron, 1991), and The Dark Knight (Nolan, 2008) spring to mind as some near-undisputed examples of sequels that were everything their predecessor was and more) and even fewer examples of completely perfect movie trilogies as most stumble by the third entry due to one reason or another. I can’t tell you, though, how often I’ve seen people talk shit about some sequels that are actually not that bad at all and, arguably, criminally under-rated. When movies, comics, and videogames produce remakes or other ancillary media based on these franchises, they either always complete ignore these films or openly criticise them for absolutely no reason. Today, I’m going to shed some light on ten under-rated sequels and, hopefully, try to show why they’re actually not as bad as you might think…

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10 Saw II (Bousman, 2005)

While the Saw (Various, 2004 to present) noticeably dipped in quality as Lionsgate milked the series for all its worth with sequel after sequel after sequel (most of which were actually interquels as they foolishly killed off John Kramer/Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) way too early in the series), I feel like a lot of people don’t give Saw II enough credit.

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Saw‘s terror mostly came from two guys being trapped in a room.

Saw (Wan, 2004) was an intense, terrifying experience that saw two people trapped in a room with the only option of escape being death or sawing a foot off with a rusty hacksaw. It kick-started a whole “torture porn” sub-genre of horror, despite most of its terror coming from the horrific situations rather than copious amounts of gore. Saw II, however, put the focus on Jigsaw, who was an almost mythic figure in the first movie and wasn’t fully revealed until the film’s dramatic conclusion. Here, we delve deep into his motivations for putting people through his gruesome “tests” and this film is a worthwhile watch simply for the subtle menace exuded by Tobin Bell.

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Saw II has some gruesome traps.

Not only that, Saw II ramps up the gore and the desperation by having seven shady individuals all infected with a deadly, slow-acting nerve agent and trapped in a horror house, of sorts. The film’s tension comes from the desperation of Detective Eric Matthews (Donnie Wahlberg), who is frantic to save his son from Jigsaw’s trap and to bring Jigsaw in by any means necessary. Yes, there’s more gore and more onscreen violence and, arguably, Saw II set the standard for the myriad of sequels to come by ramping up Jigsaw’s traps and plots to an absurd degree, but this was before the series fell off a cliff. Here, minor characters from the first film are expanded upon, the lore of this world is fleshed out beautifully, and we have some of the franchise’s best traps ever.

9 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze (Pressman, 1991)

For many of us back in the nineties, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Barron, 1990) was the first time the “Hero” Turtles were depicted as being as violent and nuanced as in their original Mirage Comics run. Up until the release of this movie, the Turtles were cute, cuddly superheroes who we watched foil the Shredder (James Avery) week after week and whose toys we bought with reckless abandon.

Turtles II upped the sillyness to be more kid-friendly.

However, given how dark and violent the first film was, this sequel does a massive course correction, increasing the silliness and reducing the onscreen violence and decreasing the Turtles’ use of their weapons in an attempt to align the live-action movies more with their more kid-friendly, animated counterparts. Yet, that doesn’t mean this sequel isn’t good in its own right. The Turtle suits (once again brought to live by Jim Henson’s Creature Shop) look amazing and are probably better and more expressive than in the previous movie; the film also stays relatively close to its source material by focusing on the mutagenic ooze that created the Turtles, and it also introduced two mutant antagonists for the Turtles to fight.

Tokka and Rahzar are surprisingly formidable.

While they’re not Bebop (Barry Gordon and Greg Berg) and Rocksteady (Cam Clarke), Tokka (Rock Lyon and Kurt Bryant) and Rahzar (Gord Robertson and Mark Ginther) are a fun, welcome addition. It’s great seeing the Turtles kick the snot out of faceless members of the Foot Clan but Ninja Turtles has always been about the crazy mutated characters and these are two of the most impressive looking and formidable, especially considering their childlike demeanours. The Shredder (François Chau) also returned in this movie and is a lot closer to his animated incarnation, being decidedly more theatrical than in the first movie but no less intimidating. Probably the only thing that lets this movie down for me (no, it’s not the Vanilla Ice rap scene) is the final battle between the Turtles and the ooze-empowered Super Shredder (Kevin Nash) in which Shredder is unceremoniously defeated by being crushed under a pier due to his own foolishness. Apart from that, though, I feel this movie is the perfect balance between the dark, violent Mirage Comics and the light-hearted animated series and this balance is where the Ninja Turtles (a ridiculous concept to begin with) shine the brightest.

8 Batman Forever (Schumacher, 1995)

Now, admittedly, Batman Forever has its fan-base; there’s plenty of very vocal people out there who rate this quite highly among the many Batman (Various, 1966 to present) movies, especially after viewing the special edition and a lot of the deleted scenes which, had they been implemented, would probably have elevated this movie even higher. There’s a couple of reasons why this film is often unfairly attacked: one is because of how God-awful its sequel, Batman & Robin (ibid, 1997) was. That film’s over-the-top camp, painful performances, and nipple-suits are often considered so bad that both of Schumacher’s Bat-movies are unfairly lumped together and judged as a failure, when this just wasn’t the case.

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McDonald’s had Burton’s weirdness replaced with over-the-top camp.

The second reason is because of how dramatically different it is from the previous Bat-movies; after Tim Burton brought us a dark, brooding, serious interpretation of Batman (Michael Keaton) in 1989, he was given free reign on the sequel, Batman Returns (Burton, 1992). While this made for one of my personal favourite Bat-movies thanks to Burton’s Gothic sensibilities, it upset a lot of parents (…and McDonald’s) and, similar to Turtles II, Schumacher was brought in to make Batman more “kid friendly”.

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It’d be some time before Robin would truly fly again.

And yet despite the gratuitous neon lighting, the slapstick elements, and an incredibly over-the-top (and massively unsuitable) performance by Tommy Lee Jones, Batman Forever not only brought us a physically imposing Bruce Wayne/Batman (Val Kilmer) for the first time but it actually had the balls to include Dick Grayson/Robin (Chris O’Donnell). Schumacher smartly uses Robin’s origin as a parallel to Batman’s so that the film can tread familiar ground but in a new, fresh way while also bringing us one hell of a bad-ass Robin suit. Thanks to the blinkered, narrow-minded opinion that Robin (a character who has been around basically as long as Batman) is somehow “not suitable” for a Bat-movie, it wouldn’t be until the recent Titans (2018 to present) series that we would finally see Dick Grayson realised in live-action once again (though we came so close to seeing another interpretation of the character in the DC Extended Universe). Also, sue me, I grew up in the nineties and have always been a big fan of Jim Carrey’s. His performance as Edward Nygma/The Riddler might be over-the-top but his manic energy steals every scene he’s in and he genuinely looks like he’s having the time of his life channelling his inner Frank Gorshin and chewing on Schumacher’s elaborate and impractical scenery.

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7 Terminator Salvation (McG, 2009)

Okay, I’m just going to come out at say it: Terminator Salvation was, hands down, the best Terminator (Various, 1984 to 2019) sequel after Terminator 2 and always will be, no matter how many times they force Arnold Schwarzenegger to throw on the shades and the jacket.

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Salvation focused on the future war, as all Terminator 2 sequels should have.

After how perfectly Terminator 2 ended the series, the only smart way to produce further sequels was to have Terminators travel to other times and target other key members of the resistance (a plot point touched upon in the Dark Horse Comics, the dismally disappointing Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (Mostow, 2003), and threaded throughout the semi-decent Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (2008 to 2009) television series) or to make prequels that focused on the war against the machines in a post-apocalyptic future. This latter idea would be my preference and, as such, I absolutely love Terminator Salvation. Is it perfect? Well, no, but it’s a different type of Terminator movie…and that is a good thing, people! Rather than making yet another lacklustre retread of Terminator 2, Salvation is, ostensibly, a war movie depicting the last vestiges of humanity driven to the brink of extinction by increasingly-dangerous killer machines.

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Bale always makes for fantastic casting.

Not only that, we got Christian Bale as John Connor! After the pathetic casting and portrayal of Nick Stahl (remember him?) in the third movie, we got freakin’ Batman as the last, best hope of humankind! And he gives a great performance; stoic, gritty, hardened, this is a Connor who is on the edge of accepting his true destiny and is desperate to do anything he can to stay one step ahead of Skynet. Add to that we got a pretty decent battle between Connor and the T-800 (Roland Kickinger). People like to shit on this sequence because Kickinger has Schwarzenegger’s likeness digitally laid over his face but, honestly, it isn’t that bad an effect and, if you can’t get Arnold back, this was a great way to utilise him. The only faults I have with this movie are that Connor shouldn’t have received such a clearly-mortal wound from the T-800 (I know he was originally supposed to die but, after they changed the ending, they really should have re-edited this scene to make his wound less deadly) and that the franchise has largely ignored it with subsequent sequels rather than continuing on from its open-ended finale, meaning we’ll forever be denied the bad-ass visual of an army of Arnold’s marching over a field of human skulls!

6 Star Wars: Episode II: Attack of the Clones (Lucas, 2002)

Okay, just hear me out…Attack of the Clones is not that bad, especially after Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace (ibid, 1999) focused way too much on boring shit like “trade disputes” and politics, insulted our intelligence with the dreadful Jar Jar Binks (Ahmed Best), and sucked all of the menace and intrigue out of Darth Vader (David Prowse and James Earl Jones) by portraying Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd) a whiny, annoying little brat.

The banter between Anakin and Obi-Wan was a highlight.

Arguably, the Prequel Trilogy would have been better if Lucas had opted to have Anakin discovered as a young adult and cast Hayden Christensen in the role from the start as this would be a far better parallel to his son’s own journey to becoming a Jedi. Christensen is a decent enough actor and he was simply handicapped by Lucas’s dreadful script; if Lucas had opted to let someone else take another pass at his dialogue, we could have seen a bit more of the snarky banter Anakin shares with his mentor, Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor). Despite the copious amount of green screen and computer-generated characters thrown at us here, Attack of the Clones has a lot of visual appeal; from the city planet of Coruscant to the rain-swept Kamino and the dry lands of Geonosis, the only location that lets Attack of the Clones down is its return to the sand planet Tatooine but even that is used as a pivotal moment in Anakin’s turn towards the Dark Side.

I would’ve preferred to see what Boba Fett was capable of.

And let’s not forget the fantastic Lightsaber battles on display here; every battle is as good as the final battle from The Phantom Menace, featuring some impressive choreography and setting the stage for one hell of an epic showdown between Anakin and Obi-Wan in the next movie. While I don’t really care for Yodi (Frank Oz) being a CG character, or wielding a Lightsaber, there is a perverse pleasure to be gained from seeing Yoda flip about like a maniacal spider monkey. Oh, and this movie has freakin’ Christopher Lee in it! Unfortunately, Lee’s Count Dooku/Darth Tyranus is criminally underused in this movie and killed off all-too-soon in the sequel. Another misfire for me was Lucas wasting time introducing Jango Fett (Temuera Morrison); I’ve never really understood why people love Boba Fett (Jeremy Bulloch) so much as he’s a bit of a klutz and doesn’t really do anything, but he does have a rabid fan base and, since we never see his face in the Original Trilogy, I would have instead cast Temuera as Boba so that we could see him actually do something.

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5 Hellraiser: Bloodline (Yagher (credited as Alan Smithee), 1996)

Hellraiser (1987 to present) is a horror film series that seems to have struggled to be as successful as some of its other peers. I’ve already talked about how the original Hellraiser (Barker, 1987) really hasn’t aged very well and this applies to every sequel in the series as well as they seem to immediately age to moment they are released thanks to the decision to release every sequel after the third movie direct to video.

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Hellraiser…in space (…for about half an hour…)

Admittedly, a lot of my fondness for Hellraiser: Bloodline is based on two things: it was the first Hellraiser movie I was able to sit through from start to finish and was responsible for me becoming a fan of the series, and Event Horizon (Anderson, 1997) is one of my favourite science-fiction/horror movies. Arguably, Event Horizon is a far better version of Bloodline’s core concept (that being “Hellraiser…in Space!”) but there’s an important thing to remember about that: Bloodline isn’t set solely in space! Instead, Bloodline takes place in three different timelines and follows the descendants of Philippe Lemarchand (Bruce Ramsay), an 18th century toymaker who was unwittingly responsible for creating the magical Lament Configuration, a puzzle box that, when solved, summons Cenobites from a dimension where the lines between pleasure and pain are blurred. Cursed for this act, Lemarchand’s descendants are driven by an inherent desire to create the Elysium Configuration, a means to forever seal the Cenobites from our world forever Dr. Paul Merchant (also Ramsay) is merely the latest in a long line of these toymakers to encounter the demonic Cenobite dubbed Pinhead (Doug Bradley) and his acolytes; unlike his predecessors, Merchant actually succeeds in his mission and destroys both Pinhead, and the portal to Hell, forever using a massive space station.

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Pinhead has lofty aspirations in Bloodline.

There’s a few reasons I think people misjudge this movie: one is that it was absolutely butchered by Miramax, who demanded all kinds of reshoots and changes, meaning that the film’s original director’s cut has never been seen. Another is a holdover from Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth (Hickox, 1992), which saw Pinhead ape Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) and become just another slasher villain with a twisted sense of humour. Similarly, in Bloodline, Pinhead goes from being a representative of the Order of the Gash (…lol), to wanting to unleash Hell on Earth permanently like some kind of invading force, to the point where he takes hostages and transforms people into Cenobites whether they have opened the box or not. Yet none of this changes the fact that Bloodline is a pretty decent film; we finally get to see some background into the mysterious puzzle box, there’s multiple times when the structure and history of Hell is hinted at, and there’s some really disgusting kills and gore. Personally, I rate this film higher than the second (because that film is boring) and the third simply because it doesn’t have a Cenobite with CDs jammed in its head!

4 X-Men Origins: Wolverine (Hood, 2009)

This one is gonna cost me a lot of credibility but I honestly do not get why X-Men Origins: Wolverine gets so much shit, especially considering how incoherent and screwed up the timeline and continuity of the X-Men (Various, 2000 to present) movie series became after this film. Sure, Wade Wilson/Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) is poorly represented, some of the CG is a bit wonky, and there are a lot of flaws in the plot, but there’s also a lot to like about this film.

At least Origins featured some new faces….

First, and most obvious, is the film’s opening credit sequence, which many have cited as being their favourite moment of the film. Seeing James Howlett/Logan/Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) and Victor Creed (Liev Schreiber) racing through various wars is stunning and I do agree that the film really should have based around this premise and their slow degeneration into bloodlust, with Logan overcoming it and Victor giving in to it to become Sabretooth. Yet, often, I see a lot of criticism about how the X-Men movies tend to always focus on Wolverine at the expense of other Mutants…yet people still hate on this movie, which puts the spotlight entirely on Wolverine and still manages to feature some new Mutants and fill in a few plot points along the way. We get to see Logan’s time in Team X, the full extent of the procedure that gave him his Adamantium skeleton (although we miss out on the feral Wolverine showcased so brilliantly in the otherwise-disappointing X-Men: Apocalypse (Singer, 2016)), and even how unknowingly pivotal he was in bringing the original X-Men together.

The cast for Origins was pretty much perfect.

The casting really makes this movie shine: Jackman is at his most jacked as Wolverine and, while he’s a little too tame compared to what you’d expect from this point in his life, he always brings a great intensity and charisma to his breakout role. Schreiber was an inspired choice to portray Logan’s brother, who (it is strongly hinted) eventually succumbs to his animalistic ways to become Sabretooth (Tyler Mane), bringing a nuanced menace and sophistication to what is normally seen as a feral character. Danny Huston is always great as a smug, scenery-chewing villain (though he doesn’t exactly resemble Brian Cox) and Reynolds gave a great tease at what he was capable of as everyone’s favourite “Merc with a Mouth” (…until it was sown shut). We also get some new Mutants, which I appreciate even more after subsequent sequels could never seem to let go of having teleporting demons involved in their plots; Fred Dukes/The Blob (Kevin Durand) is fantastically realised in the movie and has a great (and hilarious) boxing match with Logan and everyone’s favourite card-throwing Cajun, Remy LeBeau/Gambit (Taylor Kitsch) also makes his one (and, so far, only) film appearance here. I only expected a brief, unsatisfying cameo from Gambit but he actually has a surprisingly substantial role. Could it have been bigger? Sure, but I’d say he was treated a lot better than Deadpool (who, it should be remembered, was still planned to get a spin-off from this film).

3 RoboCop 2 (Kershner, 1990)

Now, don’t get me wrong: I love RoboCop (Verhoeven, 1987). It told an easily self-contained story of Detroit City police officer Alex Murphy (Peter Weller) being rebuilt from death as a bad-ass cybernetic enforcer of the law and rediscovering his humanity. It’s a classic film, with some amazing effects, hilarious commentary on consumerism, media, and corporate greed, and would be a tough act for anyone to follow.

RoboCop has never looked better than in this all-action sequel.

Yet, call me crazy, but RoboCop 2 succeeds far more than it fails. RoboCop has a fresh coat of paint and has (literally) never looked better onscreen; he’s just as efficient and pragmatic as before and, though he seems to have regressed back to a more mechanical mindset, he still exhibits a great deal of humanity but in new and interesting ways. First, he is routinely referred to as “Murphy” by other officers (particularly Anne Lewis (Nancy Allen), his partner) and struggles so badly with reconnecting with his wife and son (who believe that Murphy is dead and buried) that he routinely stalks them, which contributes to his superiors deciding to reprogram him. This results in a deliciously over-the-top sequence where RoboCop, his head full of insane, politically correct directives, tries to calm situations with talk rather than bullets. It eventually becomes so maddening that he is forced to electrocute himself just to clear his head enough for him to focus on the big bad of the film, Cain (Tom Noonan). Now, Cain and his psychopathic gang of untouchable drug dealers are great, but they’re not Clarence Boddicker (Kurtwood Smith); instead of Clarence’s manic energy, Cain brings a quiet, intellectual approach to his menace. He also manages to dismantle RoboCop’s metallic body, just as Clarence destroyed his human one, and is eventually able to go toe-to-toe with RoboCop as the frankly fantastic RoboCop 2 (or “RoboCain”).

RoboCain is an impressively ambitious inclusion.

If you liked ED-209 from the last movie, RoboCain is bigger, badder, and better. A combination of animatronics and stop-motion, RoboCain was an ambitious choice for the film and actually works really well considering the technological limitations of the time. The fight between Cain and RoboCop also holds up surprisingly well and is far more interesting than Robo’s encounters with ED-209 thanks to the villain being far more versatile than his clunky counterpart. I think what brings this movie down, for many, is that Cain’s gang aren’t as charismatic or memorable as Boddicker’s (I can only name two of Cain’s guys off the top of my head, whereas I can name at least five of Boddiker’s), some of the plot is a bit redundant (Robo’s story arc is, essentially, a truncated version of the same one from the first), and the awfulness of subsequent RoboCop movies leaving such a sour taste that people assume all RoboCop sequels are terrible…and that’s just not the case.

2 Predator 2 (Hopkins, 1990)

Okay, full disclosure: as a kid, I was not a fan of this movie. I loved Predator (McTiernan, 1987); it was over-the-top, filled with massive action heroes, and featured a tense build-up to one of cinema’s most memorable alien creatures. The sequel just seemed to be lacking something; maybe it was because we’d already seen the Predator (Kevin Peter Hall) in its full, gruesome glory and didn’t really need to go through the suspense of its eventual reveal all over again. Replacing Schwarzenegger is Danny Glover’s Lieutenant Mike Harrigan, a hardened, smart-mouthed loose cannon who plays by his own rules (as was the tradition for any cop worth a damn in cinema back then). I was in awe at Schwarzenegger as a kid so it was disappointing to go from him to Glover but, honestly, Glover is probably better in many ways: his anti-authoritative, roguish nature makes him more relatable as a character and the fact that he actually gets hurt and struggles to physically prevail makes him far more human. He’s a much more believable protagonist in a lot of ways and, thanks to his more developed acting chops, is more than a suitable replacement for Arnold.

The urban setting is a natural evolution from the jungle.

Predator 2 also takes the titular hunter out of the jungle and places him in the next most logical place: the concrete jungle. Now, a lot of people hate this change; even Arnold hated that the Predator would be in Los Angles for the sequel but…surely doing the sequel in the jungle again would have just resulted in exactly the same movie as before? It’s so weird that people rag on the city setting as it makes perfect sense, is realised really well, and even set the ground for a lot of the Dark Horse comics. No other sequel around this time repeated the first in this way; Aliens (Cameron, 1986), Terminator 2, Batman Returns, Lethal Weapon 3 (Donner, 1992), just to name a few, all fundamentally alter the concept of the first movie rather than rehashing it so why does Predator 2 get such a hard time for doing it (and doing it well, I might add)?

Predator 2 established almost all of the Predator’s lore and society.

To make matters worse, Predator 2 has been criminally overlooked in subsequent sequels; there was no mention of the film’s events at all in the otherwise-excellent Predators (Antal, 2010), a film that went out of its way to reference (both through homage and direct mention) the first movie, and it only gets a passing mention in the disappointing The Predator (Black, 2018). Jake Busey, son of Gary Busey, even featured as an expert on the Predator species but there was no mention in the film of his relationship to Busey’s character, Peter Keyes, despite the two being father and son! I’ll never understand this; it’s a real insult, to be honest. Predator 2 brought so much to the table; it defined the honour system of the Predator species, introduced a whole bunch of the alien’s iconic weaponry, and laid the foundation for comic books, videogames, and sequels and spin-offs to follow for years to come. Subsequent movies have no problem reusing the weaponry or the culture of the Predator introduced in this movie but when it comes to actually directly referencing the film’s events they shy away and why? It’s a great film! Great kills, great action, great tension, some fantastic effects, and a super enjoyable chase sequence between the Predator and Harrigan across the streets and rooftops of Los Angeles! I just don’t get the hate, I really don’t.

1 Ghostbusters II (Reitman, 1989)

Man, if you thought I was mad about Predator 2, just wait until you hear this one. Ghostbusters II suffers from a lot of the plagues of Predator 2, and other films on this list: it’s unfairly criticised for not being exactly the same as the iconic first film, it’s overlooked time and time again, and direct references to it are few and far between. Just look at the majority of Ghostbusters-related media; be it toys, videogames, or otherwise, the characters almost always look exactly like the first movie rather than this one. And why? Because it doesn’t have the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man in it. Give me a fuckin’ break! As much as I love him, and that entire sequence, it wouldn’t make any sense of Mr. Stay Puft to appear in this movie! The Ghostbusters destroyed it when they defeated Gozer the Gozerian (Slavitza Jovan and Paddi Edwards) and this movie revolves around an entirely different villain and plot so why bring it back? I guess audiences were just used to antagonists returning ins equels at that time but to judge this movie just for not having Mr. Stay Puft is not only unfair, it’s down-right stupid.

The river of slime always freaked me out as a kid.

After all, it has the Statue of Liberty coming to life instead! Sure, it doesn’t match up to Stay Puft’s rampage, but it’s still pretty decent. Also, the film’s antagonist, Vigo the Carpathian (Wilhelm von Homburg), is voiced by Max von Sydow, who is an absolute legend. Vigo’s threat is arguably much higher than Gozer’s in a way as his mood slime has been brewing under New York City for decades and is the direct result of all the animosity in the world (…or, just New York, which is bad enough). It’s powerful enough to cause ghosts to go on a rampage again and turn the Ghostbusters against each other, and is a far more grounded threat than Gozer’s plot to destroy the world. The stakes are raised in Ghostbusters II through the fact that the titular ‘Busters have been forced to disband and go their separate ways. Through this, we see something that is also often overlooked about this movie: character growth. Would you criticise Ellen Ripley’s (Sigourney Weaver) character growth in Aliens? Well, yes, probably; you are the internet after all but this plot point allows Ghostbusters II, like RoboCop 2, to retread the familiar ground of the disgraced Ghostbusters being called upon to save the city in a new way. The characters are all a bit more haggard after how badly the city burned them so seeing them rise up regardless, to the point where they’re even able to resist the mood slime, is a great arc.

There are some really horrific scenes in this film…

Add to that the film’s consistent and enjoyable special effects, the truly gruesome sequence in the abandoned Beach Pneumatic Transit system, and a creepy performance (as always) by Peter MacNicol and you’ve got a film that, like Turtles II, is more than a worthy follow-up to the original. And, yet, like I said, this film is often overlooked, almost with a vendetta. It doesn’t help that co-star Bill Murray despised the movie, which is always bad press for any film; his cantankerous ways also constantly held up the long-awaited third movie to the point where we had to suffer through that God-awful reboot before a follow-up would be approved. Despite Murray’s opinions, Ghostbusters II has managed to endure in some respects, though; characters and events were directly referenced in Slimer! and the Real Ghostbusters (1988 to 1991) and Vigo’s portrait was prominently featured in the true third entry, Ghostbusters: The Video Game (Terminal Reality/Red Fly Studio, 2009). Yet I wouldn’t at be surprised if Ghostbusters: Afterlife (Reitman, 2021) completely ignores this movie, or at least brushes it off or lampoons it, especially considering the trailers seem more focused on calling back to the first film.

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Do you agree with my list? I’m guessing not and you think most of these movies are terrible but why do you think that? Are there any other under-rated sequels you can think of? Write a comment and give me your thoughts below.

Game Corner: RoboCop Versus The Terminator (Mega Drive)

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Released: May 1994
Developer: Virgin Games USA
Also Available For: Game Gear, Master System, Super Nintendo Entertainment System, and Game Boy

The Background:
One of the greatest things about comic books published in the nineties was that the sky was, seemingly, the limit for plots, crossovers, and all kinds of stories to be told. Thanks to Dark Horse Comics snapping up the rights to some of the biggest science-fiction/horror franchises of the time, we got to see not only the likes of Aliens vs. Predator but also the cybernetic clash you always wanted to see in a movie but never got, RoboCop Versus The Terminator (Miller, et al, 1992). Given that the comic was written some time before Frank Miller flushed his reputation down the toilet with The Dark Knight Strikes Back (2001 to 2002), the RoboCop Versus The Terminator was relatively well-written, action-packed fun. The general premise was that RoboCop’s artificial intelligence (A.I.) formed the basis of the world-killing Skynet, which sent Terminators back through time to protect him and ensure its survival. Cue a time-line hopping, reality-bending story that sees RoboCop reduced to his digital consciousness, construct a fully robotic body, and travel back in time to destroy Skynet once and for all. It’s a pretty mental comic but, like Aliens vs. Predator, a fantastic concept that, apparently, had enough legs to warrant a videogame released on a number of consoles. I had owned and played the Master System version for years but, once I set my literal come corner up in my cabin, I knew that I had to track down the superior Mega Drive version.

The Plot:
Unwittingly responsible for the creation of Skynet, RoboCop must battle from the streets of Detroit, to the offices of Cyberdyne, to a war-ravaged future eradicating the Terminator threat and freeing hostages as he goes to ensure a future free from Skynet’s influence.

Gameplay:
Like the majority of videogames based on the RoboCop (Various, 1987 to present) and Terminator (Various, 1984 to present) movies, RoboCop Versus The Terminator is a side-scrolling action shooter with light platforming elements. Unlike the Alien vs. Predator (Capcom, 1994) arcade game, this is a strictly one-player experience that sees the player control RoboCop, who must blast his way through about ten levels taking out the likes of regular street thugs and Terminator alike. As much as I love RoboCop, he’s always a terrible character to control and play as; even in the excellent RoboCop (Data East, 1987) arcade game he was a slow, plodding hunk of metal and it’s more of the same here. RoboCop lumbers his way through levels at a steady pace, hopping half-heartedly to platforms (and, amusingly, monkeying his way across lines and pipes) and struggling to dodge incoming fire. While this is obviously a realistic way to portray RoboCop (who, despite being a massive efficient combat shooter, has never been the most versatile of sci-fi cyborgs), it does mean you can’t just plough ahead guns blazing.

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RoboCop has a real weight to him.

Instead, it’s best to hang back and keep an eye on enemy projectiles, ducking and hopping out of the way as best you can considering RoboCop’s massive hit box. Thankfully, many of the game’s environments are destructible and will yield all kinds of goodies, from baby food that will restore Robo’s health to extra lives and weapons. There are also loads of secret rooms to be found that hold similar rewards, encouraging exploration. RoboCop is armed with his trademark Auto-9 handgun and can fire in multiple directions; this alone is more than enough to take out most of the enemies he’ll come up against but, if you get up close to enemies, you can also punch them, and you can acquire bigger, better weapons as you make your way through the game’s levels. You can switch between these with a button press but, once your health is drained and you lose a life, you’ll lose one of your weapons until you return to the default Auto-9. the good news is that RoboCop can take a fair amount of damage and will return to action right on the spot where he fell, but the bad news is that it doesn’t take much to drain Robo’s health and there are a few occasions where environmental hazards (like vats of toxic waste or flaming pits) will instantly kill RoboCop.

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Rescue hostages to refill health and score points.

While RoboCop is generally given simple objectives (like cleaning up the streets or destroying the Terminator threat), some levels will see him having to rescue a number of hostages. Upon being rescued, a portion of Robo’s health will be restored, which is helpful; also helpful is that it doesn’t appear to be a requirement to clearing the level to rescue these hostages; when you see them, you can touch them to rescue them but I never reached the end of a level and was told I’d failed or was forced to go back and save any hostages I’d missed, so it’s more about gaining health and points than a level-clearing obligation. Yes, like pretty much every videogame ever made, there’s a nice little score tally at the bottom of the screen that’ll increase as you take out enemies, rescue hostages, and collect items. Earn enough points and you’ll gain an extra life, which you’ll need as the game ramps up in difficulty as you progress from the thug-infested streets of Detroit to the robot-infested headquarters of the killer A.I. known as Skynet. It’s around this point that you’ll struggle a bit with RoboCop’s controls, hit box, and clunkiness; Terminators of all shapes and sizes (from the traditional T-800s, to the robotic endoskeletons, to spider-like drones and wall-and-ceiling-mounted cannons) will unleash a hailstorm of projectiles your way and you’ll need all of your best weapons and skills to make it through the game’s bullet sponge of a final boss.

Graphics and Sound:
Coming off of the Master System version (which, honestly, isn’t too and compared to some Master System ports), RoboCop Versus The Terminator boasts some gorgeous in-game graphics. RoboCop and his various enemies are big, fantastically-detailed sprites; while this does mean they have large hit boxes, it makes for some impressive, arcade-quality graphics.

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Come for the cyborgs, stay for the gore!

One of the most enjoyable things about RoboCop Versus The Terminator is the copious amounts of gore it contains; when you blast away thugs, they explode in a bloody mess and it’s absolutely glorious. You’ll miss these effects once the Terminators begin to take precedence as the game’s primary enemies but, even then, you’ll see the T-800’s skin degenerate until only the endoskeleton is left, which is a nice addition. Alongside a few choice sound bites from the first RoboCop movie, the game features a techno-inspired soundtrack with a lot of beats and rocking bass; there’s some odd choices, like a sultry voice blurting out “Terminator!” every ten seconds or so but, while the game doesn’t feature either of the iconic themes from the two franchises, its techno-inspired beats seem heavily inspired by both.

Enemies and Bosses:
RoboCop will initially face little resistance from the street thugs of Detroit; they’ll shoot at him, sometimes from behind windows, and get in his way but they’re small fry and easily dispatched with a single shot.

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The T-800’s façade can be destroyed, revealing the robotic endoskeleton.

At the end of the second level, though, RoboCop comes face-to-face with a T-800 Terminator modelled closely on Arnold Schwarzenegger’s appearance from the end of the first film and the majority of the second. As a boss, this guy obviously takes more hits, degenerating from a fully clothed and skinned appearance to the iconic Terminator endoskeleton as the battle progresses. After this, similar Terminators will begin to appear as regular enemies; the Arnold models will take around three hits to put down (one to blast away the façade and two to destroy the endoskeleton) while the endoskeletons will take around two. Smaller Terminator drones also show up to spew projectiles at you as you journey deeper into the future and Skynet, but you’ll also encounter red Terminators, which are endoskeletons that take even more hits to put down.

You’ll also battle some classic RoboCop enemies, though Skynet is a giant floating skull…

You’ll also battle some iconic RoboCop bosses, such as ED-209 and (rather inexplicably) RoboCop 2 (or “RoboCain”), each of which are guarding the facilities and offices or RoboCop’s megalomaniacal creators, Omni Consumer Products (OCP). Once RoboCop travels to the war-torn future, he’ll battle bosses such as Terminator-controlled gatling guns, super-powered endoskeletons, and Skynet itself. Skynet is represented as a giant floating endoskeleton head that tosses small drones and projectiles at you while endoskeletons march in from either the left or the right side of the screen. This final battle is, honestly, a little underwhelming (though, honestly, most of the game’s bosses are after the first few and you’ve finished with RoboCain and Ed-209); you’ll have your work cut out for you to dodge all of the projectiles it throws at you and to unload enough bullets to finally do it in but I can’t help but feel the game missed out by not including a T-1000 battle or a final boss more reminiscent of the giant liquid metal T-1000000 spider from T2-3D: Battle Across Time (Cameron, Bruno, and Winston, 1996).

Power-Ups and Bonuses:
As mentioned, there are a variety of power-ups RoboCop can collect as he explores (and destroys) each level; baby food will replenish his health, little RoboCop heads will grant an extra life, and shields will grant RoboCop a generous period of invincibility.

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RoboCop can even fire ED-209’s arm cannon!

Most notably, though, RoboCop can acquire a variety of bigger, better guns which will dramatically increase his odds of survival; we’ve got everything from a traditional three-way spread to a grenade launcher, to homing missiles and a laser pistol. You can also grab one of ED-209’s arm cannons from a rapid fire burst, which is a pretty great little bonus; you can grab one of these during the boss battle with ED-209 but they do crop up in secret rooms and other areas of the game, too,

Additional Features:
There are three difficulty settings to pick from, each one carries a different set of lives, continues, and affects the amount of damage RoboCop can take. If you play on the hardest setting, enemies will be much more aggressive and the arrows that show you the way to go will also be missing. Aside from that, the only real incentive to replay again is to find all the secret rooms. As with all great old school games like this, there are a variety of cheats you can input that will grant you a whole bunch of lives and let you pick from all the available weapons. Unfortunately, though, you can only play as RoboCop; the narrative is geared in a way where Robo is the hero and the Terminators are the enemy but it might have been nice to see a mode where you play as a reprogrammed T-800.

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The Summary:
RoboCop Versus The Terminator is a blast to play; while RoboCop is a clunky and cumbersome videogame protagonist at the best of times, you really get the sense that you’re playing as RoboCop and his quick-firing weapon and variety of additional armaments more than makes up for his heavy, stilted control. It also helps that there’s not many cheap deaths here; projectiles can come at you quickly but each enemy has a specific pattern that you can learn and exploit and, given the generous amount of health and power-ups on offer, there are instances when it’s okay to plough ahead guns blazing. Some levels can be a bit of a maze but, other than that, it’s worth it for the gore and the joy of seeing RoboCop punch a Terminator right in the face.

My Rating:

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Pretty Good

What did you think of RoboCop Versus The Terminator? What is your favourite RoboCop or Terminator videogame? What did you think of Frank Miller’s comic book? Do you think we missed out on seeing these two sci-fi icons clash on the big screen? Whatever you think, feel free to leave a comment below.

Talking Movies: Terminator: Dark Fate

Talking Movies

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Released: October 2019
Director: Tim Miller
Distributor: 20th Century Fox
Budget: $185 Million
Stars: Natalia Reyes, Mackenzie Davis, Gabriel Luna, Linda Hamilton, and Arnold Schwarzenegger

The Plot:
Three years after ensuring that malevolent artificial intelligence Skynet never comes into existence, jaded and emotionally repressed Terminator-hunter Sarah Connor (Hamilton) is brought back into the fight and forced to team up with the cybernetically-enhanced Grace (Davis), and confront her past once more, when an advanced Rev-9 model (Luna) is sent back through time to terminate the seemingly-innocuous Daniella Ramos (Reyes).

The Background:
The Terminator (Various, 1984 to present) franchise has had a hard time of it in recent years. It seems like every time a film studio acquires the rights (or some of the rights) to the series, they scramble about trying to find new ways to shoe-horn in the classic T-800 (Schwarzenegger) and desperately kick-start a new trilogy of films, only to fail time and time again. James Cameron scored a cult classic with the original 1984 Terminator film and then caught lightning in a bottle with one of the greatest sequels ever made, Terminator 2: Judgment Day (ibid, 1991). Since then, only the criminally underrated Terminator Salvation (McG, 2009) has dared to try something new to the franchise as both the laughable Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (Mostow, 2003) and the mediocre Terminator Genisys (Taylor, 2015) simply chose to retell exactly the same story as T2 with only minor changes. Now, though, after Genisys failed to make the required box office impression, Cameron has been looped back into the production of yet another reboot to the franchise. Despite previously advocating Genisys as the “true Terminator 3, Terminator: Dark Fate (Miller, 2019) ignores every film in the franchise except for T2 and, with stars Hamilton and Schwarzenegger also involved, aims to be the true, definitive Terminator 3.

The Review:
Terminator: Dark Fate ignores the massive cliffhanger from the end of Genisys and chooses to open three years after the end of T2 where Sarah Connor and her teenage son, John (Jude Collie, with Edward Furlong’s facial likeness) are relaxing in Guatemala. We then jump to 2020 where Grace and the Rev-9 arrive in Mexico City; Grace, who is cybernetically enhanced (a concept not unlike what we saw in Salvation’s Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington), has been sent back to protect the new saviour of the future, Daniella “Dani” Reyes, who is just a lowly factory worker at this point.

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Dani finds herself the target of the newest Terminator…

They soon run into the Rev-9, perhaps the most charismatic of all the future machines we’ve seen so far; the Rev-9 is able to simulate clothing, emotions, and appears far more human than any of its predecessors. It is also comprised of both a metallic endoskeleton and a liquid metal exterior not unlike Terminator 3’s T-X (Kristanna Loken) and Genisys’ T-3000 (Jason Clarke), though the Rev-9 favours shape-shifting and stabbing weapons like the T-1000 (Robert Patrick).

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Sarah Connor is back, now as a bad-ass senior citizen!

While evading the Rev-9, Grace and Dani are saved by Sarah, now a world-weary, war-torn woman who has spent her years hunting down and eliminating Terminators thanks to tip-offs from a mysterious source. Facing the threat of a similar, yet fundamentally different, apocalyptic future and with nowhere left to turn, Grace brings the group to the source of Sarah’s intel, an aged T-800 and, together, the four formulate a plan to destroy the Rev-9 and maintain hope for the future. From the very beginning (and I mean this absolutely literally), Dark Fate is an immediate and egotistical punch to the gut. If, like me, you enjoyed Salvation (or, at least, wanted to see more of the future war in subsequent Terminator movies) or you were desperately hoping to see Genisys’ loose ends tied up, you’re going to be immediately disappointed. Hell, the few fans and defenders of Terminator 3 will likely to be disappointed, to say nothing of fans of The Terminator and Terminator 2.

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Grace’s augments make her more than capable of fighting the Rev-9.

Once you desperately try to process Dark Fate’s maddening opening, you’ll be treated some fast-paced, frenetic action scenes; honestly, these are the best parts of the film beyond the actors’ performances and Dark Fate has some intense car chase sequences and confrontations with the Rev-9.I wasn’t too impressed with Gabriel Luna’s appearance when I first saw the trailers for Dark Fate but he does a great job of being cold and calculating but also eerily sinister and human; he’s like a chattier T-1000 at times, which conveys just the right degree of menace. Davis fits the mould of a battle-scarred soldier extremely well as well; her cybernetic enhancements ensure that she is a formidable protector but, thanks to her human physiology, she is also vulnerable as she must take regular does of medicine to stop her metabolism from burning up (…somewhat similar to the Uni-Sols from Universal Soldier (Emmerich, 1992)). Like last year’s poorly-titled and poorly-conceived Halloween (Green, 2018), one of the big selling points of Dark Fate is the surprising return of Linda Hamilton to her most famous role. Controversially killed off between T2 and Terminator 3 and all-but-absent from the franchise outside of the short-lived television show and Emilia Clarke’s portrayal in Genisys, seeing Hamilton lace up her boots again is a nice treat and her character takes some sudden and unexpected twists throughout the course of the movie. Jaded and emotionally stunted, she cares on about destroying every last trace of Skynet, causing her and Grace to have a frosty relationship upon first meeting.

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Sarah’s obsession leads her to protecting Dani from the Rev-9…

Dani is a likable and serviceable character as well; she has a fighting streak in her but, rather than being the completely useless damsel-in-distress Sarah was in The Terminator or the bad-ass soldier Sarah was in T2, ends up as a slightly-more-capable version of Terminator 3’s Kate Brewster (Claire Danes)…only with way better writing and characterisation. Finally, there is the T-800; like in Genisys, the T-800 (who is known as “Carl”) is aged and has been preparing for Sarah’s inevitable arrival. The T-800 adds some muscle to the group and it never fails to impress how easily Arnold slips back into his most iconic role but, in the end, due to Grace’s presence, it doesn’t really feel like there’s a lot for the T-800 to do and even less reason to truly justify its inclusion beyond Terminator being synonymous with Arnold.

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While it’s great to see Arnold back, there isn’t much for him to do…

Instead, the T-800 sticks out a bit, especially given that Dark Fate is driven so strongly by three women who are very strong and capable in their own ways. Suddenly adding a male figure, even a machine one, to the mix seems to add a displeasing anti-feminist message that I’m sure will be the subject of many feminist essays, readings, and reviews for years to come. Unfortunately, a few fancy visuals and strong performances don’t change the fact that Dark Fate is the definition of “derivative”. Outside of one major change, there is literally nothing to see here that you can’t get from other Terminator movies. Apparently, Cameron and his writers watched all the other Terminator sequels before they hashed out the plot for Dark Fate but it seems that, rather than deliver something fresh and new, they instead jotted down all their favourites parts of the other movies and decided to do them all over again but now with “James Cameron’s seal of approval (as if that means anything given he was all for Genisys back in the day).

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Despite some good action, Dark Fate is just too derivative…

As a result, while Dark Fate is exciting and does a good job of recreating the same kind of tone as The Terminator and T2, it seems a bit pointless to watch it as it’s extremely unlikely that the film will perform well enough to allow for any sequels (it’s currently only made $12.6 million and Genisys didn’t get a sequel despite making over $400 million against a budget similar to Dark Fate’s). add to that that we’ve literally seen everything Dark Fate has to offer in other Terminator films and I’m seriously struggling with a lot of the decisions Cameron and his team chose to make. I’ve been saying for years that the Terminator franchise needs to stop playing it so safe, stop recreating T2, and try and do something new and fresh but, every time they do, the films never really take off; every time they lean heavily into nostalgia, it leads to disappointing box offices and, now, whenever they try everything else they can to keep things similar but ever-so-slightly different, it still seems as though people just aren’t into the Terminator anymore and that there’s just nothing left for the franchise to do.

The Nitty-Gritty:
So, if you’ve been paying attention to the trailers and managed to read between the lines of my review, you’ll notice that John Connor is conspicuous by his absence. This is because Cameron’s bright idea to really hammer home that Dark Fate has nothing to do with any of the Terminator films but the first two is to have a T-800 walk up to John and shoot him with a shotgun within the first five minutes of the movie. Who would have thought that, after everything Sarah and John went through, it would literally be as easy as walking up to him and shooting him? Honestly, I cannot get over this asinine decision. I get why they did it but it’s so unnecessary and literally just the easy way out. Now it feels completely pointless to watch The Terminator and T2 as John just gets blown away with no fuss or fanfare; all that drama and emotional investment just pissed away. Honestly, you’d think Cameron would have learned from the fan outrage to the off-screen deaths of Hicks (Michael Biehn) and Newt (Carrie Henn) in Alien3 (Fincher, 1992) but apparently not.

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The future still needs protecting from killer machines.

With John dead, Sarah is an emotional wreck; her own release comes from alcohol (though this isn’t shown onscreen) and destroying Terminators. She is cold and emotionally closed off and her character is learning to let go of her anger and reconnect with her humanity by taking Dani under her wing. She does this by forging an alliance with the same T-800 that murdered John; having completed its mission, “Carl” ended up living with a woman and her child and, through raising a son and being a family “man”, somehow developed something resembling a conscience and a degree of free will (so much for not feeling “pity, or remorse”…I guess). Wanting to give Sarah purpose, it relates to her specific dates, times, and locations of future Terminators (how and exactly why Skynet would program it with this knowledge is anyone’s guess…) and jumps at the chance to make amends for its actions by assisting Sarah. This is a pretty big problem, though. Because we’re all familiar with Arnold and the T-800 as a self-sacrificing protector, you want to feel empathy for the T-800 and, when it ultimately sacrifices itself to destroy the rev-9 “for John”, it should be an emotional moment. Sarah’s reaction even indicates that she has forgiven the T-800 and let go of her hate…but her hate is what drove her and gave her purpose and it’s very difficult to truly sympathise with “Carl” because it murdered a teenage boy right in front of his mother! And not just any teenage boy; future saviour John Connor, who we were equally attached to after following his and Sarah’s story in the first two movies!

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The Rev-9 separates into a liquid metal and endoskeleton for twice the danger!

As I said above, Arnold really feels completely unnecessary to this movie. He’s literally only there because of Cameron and because of the assumption that a Terminator movie cannot be successful without him, but he doesn’t add anything to it. They could have just as easily made the same movie with Sarah and John being Terminators hunters and stumbling into this new dystopian future; Grace is more than capable of fighting the Rev-9 and Sarah could have given her life so that John could mentor Dani on how to be the world’s saviour. Hell, they could have just had Sarah say John is off the grid and safe in Mexico but reveal that she was so paranoid and afraid that the future might still go to shit that she cut him off and devoted herself to hunting Terminators. Instead, like I said, they took the easy way out, killing John like he meant nothing and then tossing a load of stuff we’ve already seen onscreen and acting like it’s “new” or somehow “better”. I have news for you, James Cameron: it’s not. In the end, Dark Fate was about as good as Genisys but loses so many points not just for killing John but also for being so derivative: liquid metal and an endoskeleton? Seen it. Old T-880 with paternal instincts? Seen it. Skynet now a slightly different A.I? Seen in. cybernetically-enhanced human? Seen it. Nothing in this movie is “different” or “new” except that they killed John and even that happened in the future in Terminator 3 and, even if it didn’t or you don’t count that, it’s still a terrible decision to make.

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The Summary:
In the end, Terminator: Dark Fate is just too derivative and feels completely unnecessary. It has some decent action scenes and a bold, uncompromising feminist agenda but makes some truly deplorable decisions and isn’t given you anything you haven’t seen before. Honestly, it’s a massive disappointment as I was expecting James Cameron to bring some order and prestige back to the franchise; instead, they cut corners at every turn, took the easy way out at every opportunity, and have once again failed to live up to the lofty standards set by Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Here’s an idea for the future, though: try making something new rather than constantly recreating your biggest hit and, if you’re reading this, try actually liking something new. If more audiences had backed Terminator Salvation, we could have gotten one or two more gritty, science-fiction action/war movies that led naturally into The Terminator. Instead, we get derivative, disappointing, insulting stuff like this and I could not be more unimpressed.

My Rating:

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Terrible