“Terminator” is one of those franchises that isn’t worried about continuity. Like a comic book in search of a refreshing reboot, it just wants a story, CGI and an indulgent audience. This Terminator film has two new innovations and reunited the original damsel-in-distress Linda Hamilton’s Sarah Connor with the original Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Terminator (Model 101). Think of if as a really bad family vacation film with a hearty twist of immigration policy politics.
Coming to Terms with Terminator History
For the curious, the first movie (1984) had Cyberdyne Systems Model T-101 chasing Sarah Connor to prevent the birth of the future resistance leader, John Connor, against Skynet. To protect her, a soldier, Kyle Reese, has been sent back to the future and becomes John’s father. Kyle sacrifices himself and the T-101 is destroyed. In the 1991 “Terminator 2: Judgment Day,” a T-101 has been reprogrammed by the future John Connor and sent back to protect the young John Connor from a new model, T-1000. T-101 is more human-like and speaks slang (“Hasta la vista, baby”) and becomes John’s father figure. Ultimately, Sarah destroys him to prevent his technology from falling into the hands of Cyberdyne and what will become Skynet.
In the 2003 “Rise of the Machines,” T-101 is reprogrammed to protect John and his future wife Kate (Claire Danes) from T-X. T-101 killed John in the future because of the event of the previous movie led to John’s emotional attachment to it. Kate reprograms T-101 in the future so this Terminator follows orders from Kate and not John. In the 2009 “Salvation,” John Connor saves his future father from Skynet and the first T-800 is activated.
In the 2015 “Genisys,” Sarah Connor is in an alternate timeline and be raised by a reprogrammed Terminator (T-800) now known as the Guardian. Sarah, her Guardian and Kyle need to escape T-800 model 101 and a nanobyte prototype (T-3000). Genisys is the Cyberdyne Systems application software. Judgment Day is averted.
Hamilton is now 63; Schwartzenegger is 72. Think of this as a wacky vacation with your grandparents unless you’re of their generation; then think of this as an indication that you, too, can still have adventures. The movie begins with grainy footage of a woman in some sort of a mental institution where’s she’s making some wild claims about machines from the future hunting humans and the murder of her child. In this alternate universe, John Connor was killed in Guatemala as a boy by a T-800.
Leap forward 22 years later (2020) and two lovers under a bridge in Mexico City witness strange crystals forming on the ground, electrical currents emanating around a strange spherical shape in the air and a naked woman dropping down. She has strange linear scars on her body because she’s an augmented human and soldier named Grace (Mackenzie Davis) sent from the future (2042) to protect a woman named Dani (Natalia Reyes) in Mexico City. Elsewhere, a similar occurrence deposits a naked man, Terminator Rev-9 (Gabriel Luna),below clotheslines strung between apartments.
Dani and her brother, Diego (Diego Boneta), has left to work in a maquiladora car factory, except today Diego has been replaced by a machine. Terminator Rev-9 is a shape-shifting model and he arrives as Diego and Dani’s father (Enrique Arce), pretending they’ve forgotten their lunches, but they haven’t. Grace gets the two out of there, but they are unable to save Diego and are rescued by the tough-talking weapon carrying Sarah. They try to dump her and take her ride, but Grace’s argumentation has a few drawbacks. She’s only made for quick bursts of energy, but after that she needs a drug cocktail to revive her. Sarah finds the two robbing a pharmacy and explains that she’s been getting mysterious texts that give her the exact coordinates of where she needs to be to kill Terminators and always with the sign off: “For John.”
Grace determines that the texts are coming from Laredo, Texas, so that means two gringas end up hopping on top of a train to the border with Dani. Dani’s uncle just happens to be a reputable coyote (human smuggler). If you haven’t figure it out: The savior of the world is an illegal alien being protected by an America’s Most Wanted subject and an augmented orphan soldier without proper documentation.