Plot: An augmented human and Sarah Connor must stop an advanced liquid Terminator from hunting down a young girl, whose fate is critical to the human race.
Director: Tim Miller
Released: October 2019
The Terminator is a cult classic and Terminator 2 set new highs for the sci-fi action genre, however, it’s pretty safe to say that the series has struggled to recapture the glory of the first two films, with Salvation the only movie to close, before sinking to new lows with the release of Genisys, which is why when I heard Cameron was returning to the franchise and it was going to be somewhat of a soft reboot in which the abysmal Terminator 3 never happened, I was hesitantly interested in seeing what they do.
It’s fair to say that Terminator: Dark Fate learns from the failure of Terminator: Genisys, the complicated mess of timelines and giving away the main twist in the trailer, alienating the audience along the way. Dark Fate took a back-to-basics approach, with a more streamlined story, stripped of complicated exposition and functioning as a direct sequel to T2 and making it so the other films are relegated to another timeline.
By far the best thing about the film is Linda Hamilton, bringing the Sarah Connor character back into the fold for the first time since Judgement Day. The film really wouldn’t have worked without her. Connors world-weariness and no-nonsense toughness adds something to the film that the previous three Terminator films had been missing. A character worth caring about. Plus the R-rating means that she gets to swear a whole lot.
Schwarzenegger once again returns to the franchise, this time, however, he isn’t provided with dialogue that doesn’t make you cringe and wonder how much he was offered to tun up, in fact, when he’s on-screen he steals the show as the ageing T-800, with the film wisely making use of Schwarzenegger’s comedic talents. Though I have seen better digital de-ageing software.
The film does have some issues and I’m not going to say it reaches the heights of Judgment Day, firstly the fact that the opening sequence effectively renders the events of the first two films somewhat moot, which I suppose was done to show that mankind will always find a way to doom itself, I can’t help but feel it was a missed opportunity.
However, the biggest issue I found with Dark Fate was the character of Daniella. Although Reyes did the best with what she was given and I liked the fact that the makers were giving us another strong female character, the writing let her down and in the end, you just didn’t believe her character arc and in places, she can sometimes come off as a little whiny.
Mackenzie Davis’ Grace, on the other hand, is a great addition to the franchise. she must have gone through a complete physical transformation to play this kick-ass enhanced human character and despite the semi-robotic/battle-hardened nature of the character, she is still able to bring the emotion and motivation.
Sadly Dark Fate does suffer from the same problem that affects most modern science-fiction films. Despite the great-looking visual effects, there are still moments when the action feels a little too polished and maybe more use of practical effects and miniatures such as the ones in The Terminator and T2: Judgement Day would have given the film a bit more grittiness and stopped it feeling like a video-game cutscene in places.
While not a film that needed to exist Terminator: Dark Fate does a good job of tidying up the mess of the previous three films and as I’m sure there will be more films to come, maybe, just maybe, this will set the franchise back on track. I’m sure there will be more films.