Terminator: Dark Fate returns to the roots of the T franchise with a new timeline and the comeback of two action movie icons.
Terminator: Dark Fate Synopsis
In this new continuity, Skynet never happens and John Connor is dead after the events of T2. Jump forth to 2020, young Dani relives Sarah Connor’s original nightmare when she is ruthlessly attacked by a Rev-9, a shape-shifting robot from the future. Dani manages to escape, thanks to Grace, a cybernetically enhanced soldier also from the future, after which she meets Sarah Connor and the T-800 that killed John. As the group struggles to retaliate, Dani realises the inevitability of her fate. While Sarah was able to change hers, Dani would have no such luck.
I’m going to resort to point form for this review. My thoughts about this latest episode in the Terminator franchise are too dissimilar to chain together coherently.
- I like the action! After two episodes of conspiratorial nonsense, it’s refreshing to see the franchise returning to its roots of chase, chase, and CHASE. Yes, to me, Terminator movies should always be about fleeing from a relentless robotic assassin. What happened in Salvation and Genisys were simply too convoluted and messy, and boring.
- Kick-ass, gritty grandmas are now the flavour of Halloween! Last year, we had a shotgun brandishing Laurie Strode. This year, the original Sarah Connor is back to show us she still wouldn’t stand for nonsense from a f***ing robot. Linda Hamilton looks and sounds a little under the weather, to be frank, but man, she is still the reason why you shouldn’t mess with an angry woman.
- Personally, I felt one of the biggest challenges for the franchise since T2 was the T-1000. Just how do you top that kind of coolness? Well, I wouldn’t say the new Rev-9 is on another level. But it’s more than decent competition for 1991’s legendary menace.
- To be honest, I’m not too sure about the new predestination angle of the story. By saying the future would inevitably be decimated by a self-aware AI, Skynet or not, what are the writers implying? That all efforts to date are futile? That the whole history-changing aspect is but a pointless game in an unchangeable cycle?
- Here’s the downside. As much as I enjoyed watching Arnie and Linda together again in their most iconic action movie roles, I cannot ignore the fact that Dark Fate is on the whole, little more than a modern retelling of T1 and T2. An attempt to milk the best days of the franchise, so to speak. As entertaining as the movie still was, it doesn’t grow the saga, does it? In a way, the new developments also further complicate the overall premise. I have a nasty feeling the next episodes, if they happen, would go down the same route as T3, Salvation, and Genisys.