Linda Hamilton in Terminator: Dark Fate. Picture: SUPPLIED/IMDB
Linda Hamilton in Terminator: Dark Fate. Picture: SUPPLIED/IMDB

Frantic, sad, tired and imbecilic. That describes the better bits of Terminator: Dark Fate.

I wanted to take aside this cyborg sequel’s creators, from director and co-writer Tim Miller to executive producer and story collaborator James Cameron (yes, him), and tell them to try reading Proust. Sometimes there is more excitement in a page of deeply thought, deeply characterised inaction than in two hours of berserk crash-bang-kerpow involving cipher human(oid)s.

Who cares about hybrid cyborg Grace (sheeny, inexpressive Mackenzie Davis), colourless Mexican Dani (Natalia Reyes) — a factory worker with a destiny whom Grace is protecting — or their pursuing antagonist, the galumphingly dull Rev-9 android (Gabriel Luna), whose novelty skill is to turn to puddles of sticky black liquid.

Poor Linda Hamilton, of the first Terminator, is pulled from semi-retirement to play senior citizen Sarah Connor. She looks ravaged and unhappy: no fun here either. In fact nothing is fun — not even the colliding planes action sequence in mid-movie that sets the computer-generated image  skies on fire — until the arrival of, yes, you guessed, Governor Schwarzenegger.

He plays Carl, our T1 and T2 android now living incognito in a cabin-workshop bearing the sign “Carl’s Drapes”. A wit-starved filmgoer is finally offered some moments of licensed hilarity. Carl waxes eloquent, in that sombre Teutonic monotone issuing from the Aku-Aku Arnie head, about curtains.

“One wrong choice can ruin a room,” he booms. This surely has the mileage for a sitcom. Planet of the Drapes. Netflix, sign now.

The rest of the movie doesn’t have the mileage even for a movie. It is surely time for the Terminator series to lower, as Carl might express it, the curtain.