In Terminator: Dark Fate, Sarah Connor returns to do battle with a new breed of Terminator sent from the future to crush the future resistance by killing people in our time. She’ll have the help of a cybernetically enhanced human from the future and an old frenemy as she once again tries to save the future in the present.
Pro – Action
The Terminator franchise has survived through years (and some rough sequels) primarily on the strength of its action. Flipping semis, crashing planes, and more shotgun blasts than a clay pigeon contest have helped to ensure the franchise stays bankable. Terminator: Dark Fate is no different. Whether it be on ground, in the air, or even underwater, the action chews through scenery as it burns white hot throughout. The nice thing about fighting an almost unstoppable robot is it allows for almost limitless ways to try to slow it down throughout the film. Dark Fate looks and feels like the true spiritual successor to Terminator 2: Judgement Day. It’s wall-to-wall action replete with catch phrases, killer robots, and even cybernetically enhanced humans who get thirsty really easily. It totally works and will delight fans expecting all of the above.
Pro – Acting
It’s no surprise that the best Terminator movie since 1991’s Terminator 2: Judgement Day features two of that film’s biggest stars. Linda Hamilton is back as an older, wiser, and even angrier Sarah Connor. Arnold Schwarzenegger is also back as a T-800 named Carl. Both actors are outstanding in roles that seem to fit them perfectly. The newcomers to the series are excellent too. Mackenzie Davis plays the aforementioned thirsty Grace, the cybernetically enhanced human from the future. Gabriel Luna doesn’t have much in the way of speaking lines but is very menacing as the near-unstoppable Rev-9 Terminator sent to kill Dani Ramos, played by Natalia Reyes. Reyes is particularly good in the film and seems to grow in stature as the film progresses.
Con – Again and Again
The biggest issue with Terminator: Dark Fate is it feels more like a rehash of Judgement Day than anything new. An unstoppable, near-invincible robot comes back form the future to kill a clueless innocent who has no idea how important they’ll be in the future resistance. Arnold Schwarzenegger is here, Linda Hamilton is here, and so are lots of guns and explosions. Sure, there’s a couple new faces, but that’s about it. It’s not bad, because audiences often enjoy having their nostalgia catered too, it just feels very “samey.” As such, the run time starts to feel a bit long. By the end, don’t be surprised to be checking your watch, wondering when you can tell this film, “Hasta la vista, baby.”
Terminator: Dark Fate is a fun movie, even if it seems to stick a bit too closely to the major beats of its successful brethren. Along those lines, it might outstay its welcome a bit, but good acting and exciting set-pieces should be enough for most franchise fans to have a very enjoyable night at the movies. Terminator: Dark Fate is best enjoyed on the big screen, so crank your GnR, put on your sunglasses, and get to the Fridley Palms Theater to give this film a viewing.