After many failed sequels/reboots, we finally get an official sequel to Terminator 2: Judgement Day in Terminator: Dark Fate, which is now in theatres this time produced by James Cameron who wrote and directed the first two movies of the Terminator franchise. But can it live up to those two masterpieces of action and sci-fi?
The movie follows a Mexican woman by the name Dani Ramos (played by Natalia Reyes) as she becomes the target of a brand new terminator, hte Rev-9, sent from the future to kill her. But soon a cybernetically enhanced soldier named Grace (played by Mackenzie Davis), also sent from the future, comes to her rescue, later joined by an old Sarah Connor (played by Linda Hamilton). Together they must protect Dani and find a way to kill the Rev-9 in order to preserve the future.
We’ll start with the negatives because right way one of them is the plot. You can’t tell by the synopsis that this is just the same plot as most of the other terminator movies. We’ve been there, done that. It throws a couple of twists that make it feel kind of different but still too familiar. And while most of them are interesting, there’s one turn of events that is very irritating as it devalues a lot of the events from the previous movies, not to mention that the CGI in that particular scene is lackluster.
This leads to another problem: the CGI. A lot of times this movie is way to ambitious for its budget and it also seems unnecessary, since it doesn’t match the tone. It’s a smaller, more focused movie that, like the first two, it’s more about the chase than facing world ending stakes and yet they throw in these big action sequences that are blown way out of proportion and it just feels out of place as well not having very convincing special effects. This a movie the would of definitely benefited from more practical effects.
I also wasn’t a big fan of the tone. The movie was written by David S. Goyer, who can be very hit or miss and is notorious for infusing his movies with way to much seriousness ever since his days of working in the Dark Knight trilogy. It’s not as a big of problem as in, for example Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, but it still could have used more levity. The first two movies, especially Terminator 2: Judgement Day, worked so well because they found the perfect balance between silly and serious and the following movies failed when going to much into either side of the spectrum.
And then there’s the lead. Natalia Reyes does a decent job but when the movie calls for it, and it calls for it a lot, it feels like her performance doesn’t have the weight and presence necessary to be the action star of the movie. And in the end, a new gender and nationality can’t stop her from feeling too derivative of other characters of the franchise.
But, starting with the positives, that doesn’t mean all new additions disappoint. Davis’ Grace bring a lot of intensity and sense of danger to the story and she works wonders in any action scene she’s in. And as for the new terminator, the Rev-9 is easily one of the highlights. The CGI this time around is decent and the new abilities it has are nothing of awesome, as well as bit terrifying. And Gabriel Luna plays the role in way that is very intimidating and unsettling.
The return of familiar faces seems like a welcomed one. Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor is till the same badass she was many years ago and we actually get to learn a little more about her character. As for Arnold Schwarzenegger, the role he plays in the story is actually compelling and doesn’t feel tacked on like in other installments of the franchise.
And like I said, the story isn’t all bad. They do throw a couple of twists that make it feel a little fresh. And also not all bad is the action. Some times it’s too big for its britches, but, like in Deadpool, director Tim Miller shows that he’s got a knack for more focused and low-budget action sequences. When it’s more close combat, the action is really exciting and tense, you feel every punch stab and bullet. And the chase scene at the beginning is a pure rush.
So overall, it’s a mixed bag. It’s definitely the best out of all the movies after the first two, but doesn’t really come that close to reaching their quality. Fans of the franchise as well as newcomers will be somewhat entertained but for those not interested they won’t miss out on a bold new take on the Terminator franchise. I had an ok time despite being a bit disappointed considering the talent involved. But if James Cameron doesn’t write and direct the next one, I’m thinking I won’t be back.
Written by: Miguel Coelho
Have you seen Terminator: Dark Fate? If so, did you think it was a satisfying or disappointing addition to the franchise? Share your thoughts in the comments, and for more reviews on other movies, be sure to follow The Cinema Spot (@TheCinemaSpot) and me (@Miguel42Coelho) on Twitter.