Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Since 1977, the ‘Star Wars’ movies have captured generations of film-goers. The story of the Skywalker clan in their battle against evil has spawned a billion dollar industry showing no signs of abating. Even calling ‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’ the ‘final chapter’ of the Skywalker saga won’t stop the franchise. With a blossoming array of TV series based on it currently in development, the series will endure. For now, this supposedly last hurrah on the silver screen should suffice for all budding Jedi warriors.

The fabled Resistance, led by Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) and including, Rey (Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega) and Poe (Oscar Isaac) are ready for battle. Confronting the evil of the First Order, led by its Supreme Leader Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), the heroes face all-out war. Old enemies and friends resurface as the Jedi and Sith warrior’s fates move towards a decisive resolution.

The question viewers will want answered is does ‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’ deliver the goods? It does overall with all the expected spectacular CGI and action sequences a mega-budget can buy. Story-wise it’s a mixed bag although it’s consistently entertaining with a furious pace. The performances are solid for this type of flick with the emotional beats successfully generated amongst the glitz.

Long-term fans will feel a sense of deja vu with this instalment. It recycles elements of previous entries, especially Return of the Jedi, with parts of the narrative feeling stale. Generally it convincingly wraps up the current trilogy and the series ensuring it feels as ‘final’ as a money-making franchise can be. As always those expecting a visual feast will be delighted with the bright colours distracting you from any plot holes.

One shouldn’t feel too sad that ‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’ is potentially the end. Hollywood never lets a hit franchise wither away, with Star Wars’ future looking bright. Although disco may have faded since the first film arrived in the 70’s, the series looks set to keep spinning like an eternally moving mirror-ball.

Rating out of 10: 7

Terminator: Dark Fate

The sixth entry in the enduring ‘Terminator’ series, ‘Dark Fate’ highlights the quote ‘the law of diminishing returns’. The producers appear determined to squeeze every last dollar from the franchise as it regurgitates previously told plotlines. This makes ‘Dark Fate’ feel very familiar with originality taking a back seat. Only ‘Terminator’ die-hards may get a kick out of a film from an increasingly desperate series.

When a new terminator (Gabriel Luna) is sent from the future, all hell breaks loose. Its target is Dani Ramos (Natalia Reyes) who holds the key to mankind’s survival. Only Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) and an older terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) can protect her. With so much at stake, the fight for the future becomes an intense battle to the death.

Tim Miller directs this frequently tired-looking ‘Terminator’ instalment. The performances, script and visuals all exhibit a drab, grey hue preventing any genuine colour. ‘Terminator 2’ remains the best entry, as it had all the elements needed for an epic adventure. ‘Dark Fate’ has none of that as it takes itself far too seriously with tiresome earnestness.

Even the acting doesn’t provide much solace. Whilst a ‘Terminator’ movie isn’t known for its thespian marvels, the actors at least conveyed genuine emotion amongst the action. Only Schwarzenegger has any life to his welcome appearance with the rest phoning things in. Action-wise it’s hit and miss as the story rehashes plot points done far better previously.

‘Terminator: Dark Fate’ proves why the ‘Terminator’ concept shouldn’t have become an ongoing series. It only had a limited idea that by its sixth film is stretched to breaking point. Only the occasional action scenes enlivens a rather dour and boring affair with the only bright moment is when it finally ends.

Rating out of 10: 5