A new Terminator is being shopped around. Justin Lin, of Fast and Furious fame, will be in the director’s chair. Series creator, James Cameron is nowhere in sight. However, Arnold Schwarzenegger, the original star of the series, is making his return, not only to Terminator, but also to the big screen. Since his stint as governor of California, Schwarzenegger has not had any major acting roles. In fact, his last starring role was in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. And arguably, his last truly great role was in Terminator 2: Judgment Day. It seems fitting that Schwarzenegger should make his return to acting with possibly his most well known character.
When Arnold announced his return to acting, he stated that various people are trying to get him involved in other projects, including remakes and sequels, from Predator to The Running Man. It isn’t clear whether he would be starring or merely making cameos in these films, though. Another remake of an Arnold classic, Total Recall, is in the works, with Colin Farrell set to play Schwarzenegger’s old role. Both the original Total Recall (1990) and Terminator 2 (1991) were made two decades ago. One can’t help but think that Arnold’s era is a thing of the past.

Are we to believe that Schwarzenegger’s time in office has somehow prepared him for a comeback? Schwarzenegger’s most recent years as an actor, since his breakthrough in Conan the Barbarian, were by far his worst. A break from acting may have given him a new perspective on his career, but he most likely didn’t pick up any new acting techniques. Any excitement surrounding Schwarzenegger’s return is most likely in regards to his earlier work. I, for one, would definitely see the new Terminator, good or bad, but it seems it is much more likely to fall on the bad side.

The director set to revitalize the series is Justin Lin. Like the other directors who have tried to take on Cameron’s beloved series, Lin is not the same caliber director as James Cameron. Lin’s most famous work are his sequels to The Fast and the Furious. Though no stranger to high budget action, it isn’t clear whether or not Lin will be able to contend with the original two films in the series.

In Lin’s favor, Fast Five, his most recent effort in the Fast and Furious series, has received both critical and commercial success. As someone who has proven he can handle making sequels, Lin might possibly do better than the last two installments of the Terminator series. But the first two Terminators are classics, influential movies in both the action and science fiction genres. If Lin’s film can top Rise of the Machines and Terminator Salvation, seemingly not a very hard task, then Terminator 5 will be at least a mild success.

The return of Schwarzenegger should be enough to pack some theaters across the country, especially in the guise of the Terminator. And even though Schwarzenegger is much older, the series has always relied on special effects for the appearance of the various robots. With modern technology, it shouldn’t be too hard to figure out a way to make a starring role work for the action veteran. What it really comes down to is this; will people be seeing a movie that is worthy of Cameron’s original titles, or will people be watching the movie mainly for nostalgic reasons? Unfortunately, the latter is probably the answer.

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