Terminator: Dark Fate is the sixth entry in the Terminator film franchise, and is directed by Tim Miller, best known for his work on the recent hit movie, Deadpool. This installment in the sci-fi/action franchise ignores every Terminator film after Terminator 2: Judgment Day, reintroducing old characters into a new world.
Terminator: Dark Fate attempts to combine classic Terminator action with a new, modern plot, hoping to revitalize the franchise while staying true to its roots. Does this mixture of franchise elements do the original movies justice, or is this just another mediocre Hollywood sequel? Let’s find out if Terminator: Dark Fate is able to keep the franchise alive with new technology.
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The Film Review
The story in Terminator: Dark Fate picks up after the events of Terminator 2: Judgment Day, with Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) and her son John successfully preventing an apocalyptic war from occurring. Despite their efforts to stay safe, John is killed by a rogue Terminator robot, originally sent back in time to stop Sarah and John and ensure the destruction of humanity.
Now, twenty two years later, Sarah spends her days traveling across the globe, killing random Terminator units that have been appearing with no explanation. Sarah is led to these Terminators by mysterious text messages containing coordinates, sent by an unknown guardian.
Sarah’s journey takes her to Mexico City, where she encounters Dani Ramos (Natalia Reyes), a young girl being tracked down by a new, seemingly indestructible Terminator unit from the future. Dani is accompanied by Grace (Mackenzie Davis), an augmented human super-soldier, sent back to protect Grace from the deadly machines.
Knowing this plight all too well, Sarah agrees to help Grace protect Dani, forcing them to flee from the highly advanced Terminator. Their adventure takes them through a slew of intense action scenes, encounters with old friends, as well as battles with new foes.
Terminator: Dark Fate is nowhere near as bombastic and gritty as Terminator Salvation, but still manages to amp up the seriousness and explosive nature of action sequences. There are a lot of fun nods to past Terminator movies, including a handful of car chases and fights that are very reminiscent of classic Terminator scenes.
Most of the action is exceptionally fun to watch, with the exception of some glaringly mediocre CGI in certain areas. Despite these visual weaknesses, there’s plenty of excitement in Dark Fate’s action scenes, as well as inventive and cool uses of military-grade weaponry. As with most of the newer Terminator movies, a lot of the sci-fi intrigue has been lost, but the intense action persists.
A lot of the issues with Terminator: Dark Fate fall within its narrative choices. Although the movie starts off with the promise of a new type of world of the Terminator franchise, it quickly devolves into a story that is both predictable and repetitive.
Whereas past Terminator movies had a bit of mystery to them, Dark Fate is very brazen with its character choices and dialogue, leaving very little up to the imagination.
While most of the fan-service works, some of it feels cheap and occasionally laughable, including some particularly ridiculous one-liners. For the most part, the story in Terminator: Dark Fate is nothing to write home about, often feeling scattered and mostly there to serve the action.
The Bottom Line
Overall, Terminator: Dark Fate is an acceptable albeit slightly disappointing modern sequel. The action scenes are fun despite some messy CGI and fans of the franchise will appreciate the various winks and nods to past films.
As long as you’re not incredibly invested in the overall narrative, Terminator: Dark Fate is an enjoyable popcorn flick with plenty of ridiculous action. At the very least, Linda Hamilton does an excellent job returning to the role of Sarah Connor, adding a bit of nostalgia to the experience.
- Fun and bombastic action scenes
- Great performances from returning characters
- Decent comedy and tone
- Predictable story and ending
- Some CGI is worse than past Terminator movies
- Lack of intrigue and mystery