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THE MOVIE GUY — ‘Terminator’ told you that he’d be back

“Terminator: Dark Fate”

Paramount Pictures

Directed by Tim Miller

Rated R

2 ½ Stars

Remember those last three “Terminator” movies? Paramount Pictures is asking you to forget that they ever existed, as they attempt to re-launch the “Terminator” franchise with a sixth film. This new movie should now be viewed as number three in the franchise’s official chronology.

Yes, it’s a bit confusing, but no more so than those last few films that strained to meld a credible story with thrilling action sequences and cutting-edge special effects. This latest installment, “Terminator: Dark Fate” goes back to the basics in the story department, but it still suffers from the mindless bombast issues that made the past few films so disposable.

The story once again involves a killer robot from the future (Gabriel Luna) traveling back in time to kill the woman (Natalie Reyes) who is fated to be a big part to the upcoming war between humanity and the terminators. Mackenzie Davis plays an augmented human who is also sent back in time to protect the woman, and it’s a lot of fun watching her go mano-a-mano with the unrelenting killing machine.

If that’s not enough, Linda Hamilton is back playing the gun-toting Sarah Connor. Her entire life revolves around killing terminators whenever they pop into our world. Arnold Schwarzenegger also returns, once again playing the evil robot turned heroic good guy. He’s the biggest star in the franchise, but in this latest film, he frequently takes a backseat to the other characters.

The other figure returning to the franchise is writer/producer James Cameron. He hasn’t been part of this world since “T2” back in 1991. I suppose that his involvement gives this latest movie some credibility, but it doesn’t exactly elevate the movie above its genre limitations.

This is still a B-movie action flick, notable for relentless action and special effects. We do get a lot of chase sequences, many of which are quite thrilling. The special effects are also quite good. The twist this time out is that the terminator can separate himself from his metallic skeleton, forcing our heroes to battle two deadly monsters, when one is lethal enough.

This is all well and good, but the filmmakers feel the need to top themselves with each successive action spectacle. Things can get a bit silly, such as a fight scene set at the bottom of a lake. There’s a fine line between cutting-edge and over-the-top. “Terminator: Dark Fate” has trouble holding that line.

Still, the girl power ethic of this film is a lot of fun. It’s great to see Hamilton back on screen, with her iconic character. Davis makes a very good action hero and even Reyes grows into a capable heroine. Throw in an impressive performance by Luna in the villain role, and yes, the cheesy guilty pleasure thrill of letting Arnold reprise his greatest role ever, and you have a fun B-Movie, that should please most of the fans of the franchise.

“Terminator: Dark Fate” isn’t a great movie, but it’s a far cry better than the past three films.

Movie reviews by Sean, “The Movie Guy,” are each week in “The Port Arthur News” and seen weekly on KFDM and Fox4. Sean welcomes your comments via email at smcbride@sbgtv.com.