Serving as a direct sequel to 1999’s Terminator 2: Judgment Day, and entirely ignoring the events of T3, Salvation and Genisys, Terminator: Dark Fate is a 2019 action movie, directed by Tim Miller (Deadpool) with James Cameron returning to the franchise as a producer. Twenty-five years after Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) prevented Judgment Day, Grace (Mackenzie Davis) is sent back in time to protect a young girl, Dani Ramos (Nalatia Reyes) from a new breed of terminator, the Rev-9 (Diego Luna), where Grace and Connor must turn to an unlikely ally for assistance: another T-800 Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger).
+ both Hamilton and Schwarzenegger slot back perfectly into their old roles. Hamilton is in phenomenal physical shape, and her obviously aged looks (she is 63 now) suit her rougher, angrier character, especially when contrasted with her two, younger female wards. Arnie, too, is seemingly enjoying his return to the franchise in a much more human role. If this is indeed the last time we see both or either of them in this franchise, I think they left it on a high note
+ the Rev-9 had some good emotionless, calculated moments, but I think it’s fair that I am not meant to ‘enjoy’ the time-travelling robot assassin’s acting capabilities. I’ve not seen Reyes before, and only tangentially know of Davis (Black Mirror‘s “San Junipero” being the only thing that stands out), but they were fine, if not particularly outstanding, and perhaps even slightly underdeveloped
+ in terms of action pieces, this was great. Sarah Connor’s take-no-shit attitude towards Terminators means she has a fondness for big guns, and the brawls between the Rev-9, the T-800 and Grace are like something from a superhero movie. The Rev-9’s ability to ‘split’ between the metal exoskeleton and the Terminator 2-style ‘liquid’ body meant we got some proper 2-on-2 tag team action between the fighters
– the very opening scene immediately does away with any of the canon of the movie sequels and TV series additions between Terminator 2 and this entry. As much as I loved that opening scene, it felt a bit too easy, and I almost wish that opening moment was instead an entire 20 minute cold opening to the movie; raise the stakes, without necessarily undoing the good will from Terminator 2
– in the same way Star Wars: The Force Awakens was almost a straight retread of A New Hope, just with new actors, this almost felt like the same thing for Terminator 2, and the inclusion of Hamilton/Arnie in a Leia/Han Solo situation only added to that. It’s different, sure, but the themes of the franchise of not being able to fight fate are ironically on full display here
> In a strange comparison, this felt a lot like Halloween (2018): the 60-something, well-prepared femme fatale returns, some decades later, to face off against her old nemesis one last time in a bid to protect a young ward, in a film that endeavours to ignore all the superfluous sequels
> Tom Hopper (Black Sails, The Umbrella Academy) has a small role, too. I like him, he’s a good looking guy, and I’m surprised he hasn’t been in more blockbusters
Should you see this film: This movie had it’s flaws, but overall it was a perfectly fine dumb action movie. Hamilton and Arnie seemed to be enjoying themselves as they returned to their iconic characters, and while the new cast don’t quite stand on their own against those nostalgic heroes, there is enough foundation work laid for any future sequels to only improve on things.