Film Review: Terminator: Dark Fate
Director: Tim Miller
Release Date: October 23, 2019
Runtime: 2h 8mins
big noises, big explosions!
Dark Fate is the sixth film to be produced in the Terminator franchise and sets the story on a new path… sort of. It is 2022 and Sarah Connor spends her time hunting and killing Terminators that happen to pop out of the sky every couple of years. This time, her fate becomes intertwined with that of Dani Ramos, a young Mexican girl that turns out to be the target of the Rev-9, a new ultra-liquidated breed of Terminator sent back from another future to destroy all traces of her. It won’t be that easy though as her futuristic high-tech guardian angel, Grace, a genetically modified human, has travelled back in time to protect Dani, as this particular future absolutely depends on it. Arnie makes an eventual appearance as well but we won’t spoil anything in this review as that may be the only surprise you get!
The film induces fast-paced adrenaline and emotional conflict at the beginning by using threat, fear, and loss that help drive it into action-thriller territory. This is a good opening sequence, but then dwindles off and becomes nevertheless predictable and not that exciting. We do continue to see blood, burns, gore, and destruction throughout as to keep our attention focused on the reality that sudden danger is just around every corner.
With that in mind, the story wasn’t all that surprising and felt like most other franchises we are now subjected to these days; unimaginative and a bit boring. Dark Fate follows a very familiar pattern of seek and destroy just like its predecessors, except this time the film is ramped up and injected with everything modern CGI has to offer. There is evident concentration on ‘big’: big noises, big explosions, big guns, big… deal.
OK, admittedly it isn’t fair to diss the whole concept of the movie without completely taking all elements into consideration. For example, the sound was one of the most poignant features in this movie and was actually quite outstanding. You hear every single shard of metal, screech, and collision as if they are happening right in front of you but on a hugely magnified scale. This is the beauty of seeing a film like this on the big screen with surround sound. The CGI is also worth a mention, we have come a long way since 1984 people!
Another positive feature is the acting. The majority of the performances were pretty terrific, especially from Mackenzie Davis (The Martian, Black Mirror, Halt and Catch Fire), her luminescent representation of the humanoid Grace is emotive and stands out. Linda Hamilton plays the scorned and determined Sarah Connor seeking vengeance and closure for the death of her son John as believable as she always has been, and lets’ face it, the Terminator films wouldn’t be Terminator films without her, right? Also, Arnie is Arnie, and that’s all there is to it. Gabriel Luna’s portrayal of the Rev-9 is fearful and threatening but he is no Robert Patrick, even with his creepy skeletal sidekick. And finally, Natalia Reyes makes for a believable damsel in distress but it is not until she understands her purpose that we really see her blossom on screen, her on-screen chemistry with Davis is convincing and finishes the film off well.
Overall, the film was OK. If the story had been a little more imaginative then we might have been able to see a clear future in which the Terminator franchise could thrive and leave fans feeling satisfied and elevated. But, is it enough just to be nostalgic? How many more future timelines are we willing to accept?
On the bright side, the acting was fiercely executed and the sound was totally enthralling and added to the whole experience, if we had 4D this would have been epic – see this on the best quality cinema screen available to you if possible.
It is a blockbuster movie that will pinch your memories just enough to make you like the film, but may perhaps leave you feeling a little unsatisfied and a tad confused as to why this storyline was chosen. If you want a no-brainer kind of cinema experience then go and see it but don’t go in expecting wonders because that is not happening in this space and time.
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📸 images: credit to the owners, Paramount Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox, Terminator:DarkFatemovie, IMDb.com
So, the question remains: in your opinion is Dark Fate worthy of mention or, should we just leave judgement for Judgement Day?