It’s a very small step forward in the right direction, but this is still a mediocre ‘Terminator’ movie.
Dir. Tim Miller
2019 | USA | Action/Sci-Fi | 128 mins | 2.39:1 | English & Spanish
NC16 (passed clean) for violence throughout, language and brief nudity
Cast: Linda Hamilton, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mackenzie Davis, Natalia Reyes, Gabriel Luna
Plot: Sarah Connor and a hybrid cyborg human must protect a young girl from a newly modified liquid Terminator from the future.
Distributor: 20th Century Fox
Subject Matter: Moderate
Narrative Style: Straightforward
Audience Type: Mainstream
(Reviewed in theatres)
The ‘Terminator’ franchise seems to be forever cursed—every new movie after the first two definitive films by James Cameron has consistently disappointed, reaching an unprecedented low with 2015’s Genisys. But the latest, Dark Fate, shows some signs of revival; in the big scheme of things, it is a small step forward in the right direction, but it’s still not good enough.
There’s a lot lacking in Dark Fate, chiefly how the story plays out predictably, though the return of Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor at least makes the movie fairly watchable. Arnold Schwarzenegger also makes a welcome return in what is an elegiac treatment of his iconic ‘Terminator’ character.
“I won’t be back.”
But the discovery of the hour has to be Mackenzie Davis as Grace, an augmented human sent back through time to protect a young woman. Her screen presence is surprisingly strong and she steals nearly every scene she is on, even when she’s acting directly opposite Hamilton.
An unmeaningful stab at expanding the storyline after the events of Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991), Dark Fate does feature some interesting action sequences, though the less said about a superfluous underwater sequence the better (an ill-judgment on the screenwriters’ part).
Overall, there’s little wall-to-wall suspense and the tension generated has diminishing returns. There are fan-service nods to the Cameron films, particularly T2, which remains to be a masterclass in action staging, where plotting is ‘sutured’ into action sequences that bridge effortlessly from one to another. Dark Fate, however, is a poor imitation.