Terminator: Dark Fate (15)

With the return of Linda Hamilton and James Cameron, the hope is greater than ever for a Terminator reboot.

It’s been 23 years since Judgment Day was averted but the fate of mankind was only given a stay of execution. It’s 2020 now and the threat from the machines is still very real. No future is set in stone though. “There is no fate but what we make for ourselves.”

Much like it did to Sarah Connor in the original Sci-Fi classic, the world of Daniella ‘Dani’ Reyes (Natalia Reyes) is about to be flipped upside down as an advanced machine, the Rev-9, has been sent back from the future with one mission – to terminate. Coming to her aid is cybernetically enhanced soldier Grace (Mackenzie Davis) and none other than Sarah Connor herself. The fight for the future is on.

Casting off other efforts to reboot the franchise, Terminator: Dark Fate attempts to correct those mistakes and, with the return of Linda Hamilton, it proves that, though Arnie is iconic, it’s Sarah Connor that truly breathes life to the Terminator story. And with that, Sarah doesn’t miss a beat. As strong and as determined as ever, there is no character quite like her.

It’s also clear to see that Terminator: Dark Fate leans towards what made the initial films so successful. It’s action packed with a relentless pace relying more on practical stunts and car chases, as opposed to heavy CGI work. Add into that a relentless villain similar to the T-1000 and the model is there. Get ready for a thrill ride as Terminator: Dark Fate thrusts you straight into the action like a jolt to the heart.

When Sarah Connor shows remorse and an inability to kill Miles Dyson in Terminator 2 Judgment Day, the film points to the biggest differences between human and machine – to have a heart. It’s our conscious that makes us human. Beyond the action spectacle, this is what’s truly worth fighting for. This is on display again in Terminator: Dark Fate and it’s better because of it. There’s a heart and emotional core that’s not been seen in the films that tried before.

That being said, the plot isn’t fully without its hiccups. It certainly would have been interesting to be a fly on the wall in the writers room for Terminator: Dark Fate. With all the complications between actors returning, those not returning, ages, and plots that never came to be from the earlier films. There’s quite a mess to untangle and you can sense it.

That said Terminator: Dark Fate is a nod to the past, but also start afresh. With this come decisions that ultimately influence the Terminator history and legacy. I’ll let you make your own minds up but they really didn’t sit too well with me.

There was much joy and surprise with the announcement of Edward Furlong’s involvement but I’d warn you to temper those expectations. It did, though, make me wonder what the fate of the Terminator story might be had Edward Furlong not suffer a downward spiral. I guess that’s a future we won’t see.

With some strong additions to the cast in Mackenzie Davis, Natalia Reyes and Gabriel Luna, Terminator: Dark Fate is a solid action flick that’s certainly one to try and catch on the big screen but it’s not quite ‘The Force Awakens‘ for the Terminator franchise that was needed.

By Jordan Barrett

★★★☆☆

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