Ranking The Actors Who Played Kyle Reese in the Terminator Movies

Since we’re talking about Terminator movies here we’re going to have to leave Jonathan Jackson out of the mix for now since The Sarah Connor Chronicles was a TV show. But in the movies, the ranking is pretty easy to see for most people since Kyle Reese became a key character that, much like John Connor, was dumped the moment that James Cameron decided to trash the rest of the Terminator movies and go straight from T2: Judgment Day. The big downside of this is that we didn’t get a fourth person that could have played Kyle Reese and instead we got what was supposed to be a tough as nails hybrid warrior that turned out to be tough, fast, strong, and resilient, but had a lot of limitations despite the very big feminist lean that the movie was given and the idea that women didn’t need men to rescue them. That was until Arnold Schwarzenegger came into the movie and evened the odds up just a little bit since without him the new terminator would have slaughtered the heroes pretty quickly. Hey, remember when Kyle Reese managed to fight off a terminator on his own, saved Sarah’s life, and made a getaway? Man, those were the days. Dark Fate could have been something great had they joined forces and allowed John Connor to survive and brought Mackenzie Davis and a new addition to the resistance into the mix. But that would have been too simple apparently. Oh well.

Here’s how the men that played Kyle Reese stack up next to each other.

3. Jai Courtney – Genisys

There is a reason I’ve put him third, and it has a lot to do with the fact that Genisys felt like a forced movie that was trying to incorporate too many elements all at once and made Kyle a paranoid individual that went way beyond his initial paranoia. His brief feud with ‘Pops’ didn’t really feel that generic and while it was kind of amusing for a while it faded out pretty quick and became more annoying than anything. Plus, there didn’t appear to be a lot of chemistry between Jai and Emilia Clarke for one reason or another. Also, the fact that Sarah met Kyle in the past was a bit awkward even if they did travel through time. By this point, the terminator had gone off the rails and those that kept making movies were trying to set it right again, but they were just making it so much worse. There are few points to add though since the manner in which Kyle appeared in the past fit in nicely with the original movie, though of course things had to chance since Skynet was aware of the time-traveling that Kyle was doing and had to make adjustments that would affect the future.

2. Anton Yelchin – Salvation

This felt like more of a natural transition to the character that we hadn’t seen yet but we’d suspected might be a little closer to the truth. Plus, it’s easier to see Anton Yelchin eventually becoming someone like Michael Biehn’s Kyle rather than Jai Courtney doing the same. But while Salvation has still been maligned plenty throughout the years the truth is that it has it’s good points along with its nonsensical points as well. The idea that Kyle and his young friend were making do on the streets, surviving as best they could, and getting by until they were either found by the resistance or found them somehow, was kind of interesting. It was also interesting that a new terminator, who didn’t know he was a terminator, had the future in his hands the whole time and could have ended it for the resistance then and there. It’s nice to think that if he were still around that he could have contributed even further to this franchise.

1. Michael Biehn – The Terminator

This is one of those cases when you can’t beat the classic representation since Michael Biehn became the only Kyle Reese that a lot of people want to remember since despite being a human resistance soldier he was still fully aware of how to hamper and even take down a terminator, but with the right tools of course. He knew how to run, hide, and when possible fight, but he also had a duty, to become the father of the leader of the resistance that would one day bring down Skynet. But again, he was the best candidate for this position and is still the best one that’s had the part to date since he wasn’t an augmented human and he wasn’t a machine, he was a flesh and blood man that put a terminator on the ground, temporarily, with modern firearms and a good deal of surprise. He wasn’t a perfect soldier but he was still the perfect guy for the job at that time, and that’s why he’s still the best Kyle Reese out there.

Let’s hope that after Dark Fate that the Terminator franchise gets left alone for a while.


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