Terminator: Dark Fate | Movie Review

Thursday 14 November 2019

Let’s talk about movies that never stood a chance. Let’s talk about the Ghostbusters reboot from 2016, let’s talk about the new Star Wars trilogy, let’s talk about Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull. What do those movies have in common? They’re all reboots or continuations of movies from the 80s. They’re movies a lot of us hold dear from our childhood. The Terminator series falls right into that trap. Terminator 2: Judgement Day was the last movie in the series that most fans liked. It’s now an iconic film. T2 came out in 1991 and it wasn’t until 12 years later that a sequel came out. It was a sequel that set the series in a downward spiral that it never quite recovered from.

Director Tim Miller (Deadpool) decided to take a stab at the series along with a group of writers including James Cameron (Titanic, Avatar) and David S Goyer (Dark City, The Dark Knight). Arnold Schwarzenegger  and Linda Hamilton came back to reprise their roles and it would be their first time together again since T2 back in ‘91.  So how did they do? Here’s my review.

Let’s be honest, Terminator: Dark Fate was never going to do well. There’s too much bad air around the series. Public opinion went down after the third installment. Terminator: Genisys flopped so hard that the proposed trilogy was tossed in the trash faster than a poopy diaper.

The story for this installment was formulaic but enjoyable. I could see where things were going from the very beginning but I didn’t mind because the journey was fun. It didn’t take long for the story to get headed, which was good because if it had a slower burn it could have wound up being boring. Though it was fast paced, it didn’t feel like the story was being ignored for the sake of action.

The acting was solid. Good for a blockbuster film. Arnold, as always, played a great Terminator. It was good to see Linda Hamilton again and she put on quite a performance. Where Arnold’s Terminator had the usual one note, Hamilton’s Sara Connor had more nuanced emotion behind a layer of ice.

As for the newcomers, Natalia Reyes (Birds of Passage) as Dani (this movie’s Terminator target) had a good arc of growth from a deer in the headlights to a woman with fiery resolve. Mackenzie Davis(Halt and Catch Fire) as Grace, the augmented human sent back to protect Dani, was a pleasant surprise as it introduced another character with a wider emotional pallet than Schwarzenegger’s Terminator.

Now it’s time to talk about the most important factor of a Terminator movie. The Terminator. This time we have Gabriel Luna (Agents of Shield) playing a never-before-seen killing machine that can split into two and seems even harder to kill than the T-1000. The most pressing question is “how good was he as an unstoppable killing machine?” He was exceptional.

This movie could go one of two ways. This could be it. It could be the new ending. Much like Halloween (2018) did, it reset the movie’s cannon. So this could be the final movie with the new cannon being Terminator, Terminator 2: Judgement Day, and now Terminator: Dark Fate. Or this could start a new set of movies. Terminator: Dark Fate hasn’t been faring very well in theaters or with critics so the possibility of a new series is slim, but not impossible.

I think the biggest problem people have when going into movies like this is they don’t have realistic expectations. You should go into this expecting a fun action film. That’s it. Should you expect it to live up to the original two? No. Should you expect a heart stopping cinematic experience? No. Should you just expect a fun action film with a familiar characters, story, and world? Yes. This movie is enjoyable as long as you can enjoy a simple action film.

Terminator: Dark Fate gets an 8 out of 11

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