Ac­tion thrills as the cy­borg war con­tin­ues

Ter­mi­na­tor: The Sarah Con­nor Chron­i­cles 8.30pm, Fox8

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Tv -

SUM­MER Glau did not wake up one morn­ing and de­cide to be­come a teenage ter­mi­na­tor. Aged 28 in real life, the ac­tor has a back­ground in clas­si­cal dance. Glau learns the many as­ton­ish­ing fight se­quences re­quired of her in this spin-off from The Ter­mi­na­tor movie fran­chise like chore­og­ra­phy. With­out that back­ground it would be hard for the tiny, del­i­catelook­ing ac­tor even to ap­pear to throw cy­borgs three times her weight around the place like con­fetti.

To play Cameron ( the name pays homage to Ter­mi­na­tor fran­chise cre­ator and di­rec­tor James Cameron), Glau had to un­learn many in­stinc­tive hu­man ac­tions. She learned not to blink, for ex­am­ple; not to brush the hair from her eyes, not to lean on one hip: all the things ac­tors in­stinc­tively do to au­then­ti­cate their per­for­mances. She also faced the chal­lenge of cre­at­ing a con­vinc­ingly non-hu­man en­tity with no gen­uine emo­tions but with a ca­pac­ity to man­u­fac­ture them as re­quired.

In the first se­ries, when the team in­ci­den­tally be­comes in­volved with a dance school, Cameron’s quest to ever more ac­cu­rately mimic hu­man be­hav­iour leads to dis­course on how dance, more than any other phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity, re­veals the hu­man soul. Prac­tis­ing at home, she is ob­served by Derek Reese ( Brian Austin Green), a re­sis­tance fighter sent to the past by the fu­ture John Con­nor. His usual dis­trust of her is pal­pa­ble: ‘‘ Don’t let your­self be­lieve that you can train them like a pet be­cause it will be the last thing you think,’’ he says.

But even this rugged, hard man of war is moved al­most to tears when he sees the cy­borg per­form a stun­ning bal­let rou­tine.

It seems a long time since Cameron was blown up in a car bomb in the se­ries one fi­nale. In fact, it was last March, when the pro­gram wound up its not en­tirely suc­cess­ful de­but on the Nine Net­work. It’s prob­a­bly not giv­ing away too much to re­veal that Cameron, like any good ter­mi­na­tor, sur­vives the blast. But is she quite the same? The gob-smack­ing ac­tion se­quences in the cy­borg war to save the hu­man race con­tinue. The com­pelling ten­der­ness be­tween Sarah ( Lena Headey) and her son, John Con­nor ( Thomas Dekker), who car­ries the weight of the world on his slen­der, now 16-year-old shoul­ders, is as poignant as ever.

And the rich ensem­ble of re­sis­tance fight­ers and ter­mi­na­tors is ex­panded, most spec­tac­u­larly with the world’s first Scot­tish ter­mi­na­tor. All red hair, per­sonal ice and cor­po­rate fire as Cather­ine Weaver, chief ex­ec­u­tive of ZeiraCorp, Garbage lead singer Shirley Man­son adds a note of pure ter­ror. Her char­ac­ter is a mas­querad­ing T1001 ( liq­uid metal se­ries) ter­mi­na­tor. Trust me, it will be a long time be­fore male view­ers com­fort­ably use a uri­nal again.

Ian Cuth­bert­son

Is she the same? Sum­mer Glau, cen­tre, re­turns as a teenage ter­mi­na­tor

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