Terminator: Dark Fate Returns To Its Roots (Review)

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{Warning: Article may contains spoilers for Terminator: Dark Fate.] Every few years Terminator receives a reboot. Tim Miller helms the latest attempt, Terminator: Dark Fate, and for the first time James Cameron steps in to help guide the franchise relaunch. Bring back the original Sarah Connor, aka Linda Hamilton and what could go wrong? After opening weekend that’s a good question.

Do Original Hands Bring Back Original Quality?

Cameron returns. Hamilton Returns. Arny never left, so could Dark Fate return the franchise to its glory days? Largely yes. Not only does Dark Fate ignore Salvation and Genisys and pick up where the story left off after T2, but the quality does as well.

Terminator: Dark Fate makes an excellent return to its roots. This feels like the first two Terminator movies, and while the time line was changed after the actions of the Connors in T2, the new time line mirrors what was done before with slight twists. Instead of Skynet it’s now Legion. Instead of the T-1000 we have the Rev-9.

The Dark Fate Story Makes Sense

One shortfall of the film is the studio’s marketing campaign for the movie. We saw the trademark characters, but the trailers did very little to explain the plot of the film and what was going on.

We get the standard opening of human and terminator returning to Earth in their transportation bubbles. The hallmark pursuit of the Terminator series begins almost immediately, except this time the Rev-9 seems even more unbeatable since it can seperate into a T-800 and a T-1000. When our heroes look to be near death, Hamilton steps in to save the day, giving us the trademark line from the trailers of Sarah saying “I’ll be back.”

What we finally learn is that Sarah and her teenage son John relaxed and basked in their victory. Then a T-800 shows up from nowhere and kills John before walking away. Dani becomes the new savior of the future that Grace and Sarah must protect.

New and Old Blood Mix Well in Dark Fate

Terminator; Dark Fate

The casting was spot on for Dark Fate. Newcomers Mackenzie Davis and Natalia Ramos do a wonderful job as Grace and Dani. Dani is the new Sarah Connor for this movie. She does well taking the helpless tag along and turning her into a capable fighter. Grace excelled past my expectations as Davis does a wonderful job of being a Terminator-like fighter, while hanging on to her humanity and revealing it throughout the film. She is the new Kyle Reese of this film.

Add in Hamilton and Arnie and you have a cast that mixed well. Seeing Hamilton bring Connor back to life was simliar to Star Wars fans with the Force Awakens when we see Han and Chewie boarding the Falcon and saying we’re home. Hamilton does a wonderful job with Sarah, bringing her back in the same mode we saw her in at the end of T2. This movie truly feels like the old terminator movies.

Where Does Dark Fate Fall Flat?

I thoroughly enjoyed this movie and recommend it to any fan of the first two movies…. But…. The problem is that Dark Fate falls flat exactly because it succeeds. When The Force Awakens came out, Director JJ Abrams got roasted for remaking Episode IV: A New Hope. Tim Miller does much the same in this movie. The acting is fantastic and the action superb, but it remakes the first two movies almost exactly.

Some of the dialogue, the action shots and more are copies of the orginal two tilms. Everything becomes predictable and follows the previous outlines almost exactly. Nothing new or unexpected happens. This movie ends up being a movie one must shut their mind off and simply enjoy the mindless action.

Dark Fate Review: Time For It To End

Terminator; Dark Fate

This movie series has run its course. This final installment even fell trap to the PC movement of casting all women as the good guys and all the guys are evil. The nice thing is Dark Fate avoids the pitfall of drawing attention to this where most movies put in anti-male jokes. Tim Miller does an excellent job just telling the story. However, the fact it went this far means it has nothing left in the creative tank.

As much as I liked this movie, It is time for the Terminator franchise to end. Terminator, like Alien and Predator, are essentially horror movies. The first ones are riveting and scary, but the more you do of the franchise, the more tired and cliched they become. This new movie entertained, but it failed to bring anything new or mind blowing to the series. They got Linda back. Now it’s time to say goodbye to Arnie and company.

Score: 92

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