“My name is Sarah Connor. August 29th, 1997 was supposed to be Judgment Day, but I changed the future. Saved 3,000,000,000 lives. Enough of a résumé for you?”
“No. You may have changed the future, but you didn’t change our fate.”
Terminator: Dark Fate, or what some are calling the third installment to the original first two Terminator films, tells the story of a woman, Grace, who is sent from the future to save Dani Ramos, who’s future causes a threat to Legion, an evil company behind a new “war machine.” Grace must save Dani, with the help of Sarah Connor and the T-800, from the Rev-9 that wants her dead. In bringing back several of the franchise’s original characters, Dark Fate is hands down the best Terminator since Judgement Day.
But everything is relative, am I right? Dark Fate may be the best film since Judgement Day, but it’s far from being called a great film. Sure, it has its moments, and Linda Hamilton’s return as Sarah Connor may just be the icing on the cake. But after all is said and done, and the action is all over, Dark Fate is a stale film that fails to preserve the enjoyment we had watching the first two films. I will say, the action throughout Dark Fate is a solid A. Not to mention, it’s action-packed from beginning to end. But that’s what we come for, right? Yes, in a way. Dark Fate relishes itself in explosions and what I like to call, “crazy robot violence.” However, you find yourself counting down the seconds until you can see more “crazy robot violence.” This is in part due to the film’s lack of intriguing dialogue. The dramatic and sentimental moments are cringy at best. To be honest, there’s a huge reveal halfway through that absolutely ruins the narrative. I say it ruins the narrative, because the “crazy robot violence” is still good fun. And if the lackluster script wasn’t enough to disappoint, it’s the film’s changing plot that takes Dark Fate in a confusing direction. It does its best to fill in plot points that are incredibly different from Terminator 3, Terminator: Salvation, or basically any Terminator film since Judgement Day. In the end, Dark Fate tries to tie up all the loose ends, but eventually it leads to nothing but a muddled story.
It’s nice to see our original characters back for another go. Hamilton stays true to her bad-ass self as she reprises her role of the ferocious heroine. Along with Hamilton, is none other than Arnold Schwarzenegger as the T-800. Both Hamilton and Schwarzenegger do their best to move back the hands of time. With these two heading into a scene, guns blazin’, it adds some fun entertainment where some sequences may lack. However, the return of these beloved characters is nothing more than a cash grab, because it just can’t respectfully provide a good story to go along with these characters. To round out the film’s annoying narrative is McKenzie Davis and Natalia Reyes. Davis, whose work includes Blade Runner: 2049, takes on the role of Grace, who is both human and machine. Davis’ performance doesn’t give much to scoff at. In fact, I actually like the character. Another “bad-ass” female next to Connor. But then there’s Reyes, a perfect incorporation of the Latino race, but not a performance to be in amazement of. Reyes often tries — too hard — to exemplify her emotions to the audience. Her strong moments are weak, and her emotional scenes are laughable. However, is it really the actors, or director Tim Miller, who does a disservice to the performances that make the final cut. I guess we can only speculate.
I can’t say much for Terminator: Dark Fate in regard to it being the blockbuster you may be hoping for. I believe the film will satisfy those die-hard fans of the franchise by mixing the old with the new. But in the end, once the action takes its break, Dark Fate is just another dried up sequel, and a disappointment to the franchise we so dearly admire.
Terminator: Dark Fate
Directed by: Tim Miller
Starring: Linda Hamilton, Mackenzie Davis, Natalia Reyes, and Arnold Schwarzenegger