Film Review: Terminator: Dark Fate

Dark Fate brings back everything that made the franchise – the good, the bad and the ugly.

The only thing missing from the sixth entry in the James Cameron created Terminator franchise is the opening theme song that lasts more than a minute as the credits slides by before the movie begins. I know Hollywood, somewhat, retired the opening themes but come on, the Terminator theme soundtrack is legendary. Du Du Dum Dum Dum.  Du Du Dum Dum Dum.  (Full disclosure, I love this franchise to the future and back).

Dark Fate brings it all back: naked people falling out the sky surrounded by a cloud of mechanized lightning; Linda Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger as Sarah Connor and T-800 Terminator respectively (Yea, Linda Hamilton from the first and second Terminator movies); and the compulsory character sacrifice so the target-in-distress can live.

The target this time is Daniella a.k.a. Dani, (which I see as a jab at Emilia Clarke but I overthink everything when it comes to franchise movies so never mind) a factory worker. Of course, something from the future wants to kill her and Sarah Connor, feeling all nostalgic, joins the protective detail. The newest terminator upgrade, Rev-9 Model (with Gabriel Luna perfectly cast), is unkillable. And Mexican. 

We were promised Arnold Schwarzenegger but we only got him when the film was well into its second act. Linda Hamilton’s pizazz, however, got us through the minutes before the franchise’s face made his lackluster appearance, and even after, but mostly through the shitload of cliched savior-complex that plagued the entire runtime.

So, in this entry, John Connor died as a kid, killed by Schwarzenegger’s T-800, and she (Sarah) carries the grudge till this day. Which ultimately cancels the plotline of 3 to 4 Terminator movies in the franchise? Right? Don’t look at me, I’m also confuse.

Mackenzie Davis, the newest addition to the franchise, is Grace, an augmented human sent by Dani to protect Dani. Typical, right? And just like its predecessors, Dark Fate doesn’t bring good news about our future. Same headline: WE ARE ALL GONNA DIE, AND OUR MACHINES WILL DO THE DEED.

Rev-9 won’t stop for anything. He has to kill Dani. His resilience is unmatched, not even by Grace’s programmed instinct to protect Dani – a job she’s bad at. She’s not really capable of protecting a human from a Terminator. Which begs the question: why send one augmented human to protect the future?

The film is thorough with its scifi lore, but is it though? Sarah Connor, the only human on the team, aside Dani of course, is hardly injured. She doesn’t have any cuts from the Rev 9’s liquifying metal extensions that can assume any shape by the time the film ends. Imagine a Terminator slapping an obstacle out of its way when it could just split it in half to end the charade. The Rev 9 impulsively kills innocent passerbys but only shoves Sarah whenever the script couldn’t avoid close contact.

The script couldn’t avoid a lot though but Dark fate is graphically appealing and yeah, you could say it brings nothing new to the table but just like every Terminator film or TV Show, I enjoyed the ride. The action is a vivacious expression of the growth of Sci-Fi since the first Terminator premiered 36 years ago. It’s animated, sometimes sparkly. Sci-Fi affords viewers the opportunity to glory in slashes, cuts and decapitations because it is never gory. In fact, it can be likened to a dance – a smooth, coordinated and, even, romantic, dance of technology. And Terminator has always delivered on that end. Once again, I enjoyed the ride and I even got my theme song at the end, twice even. Du du dum dum dum, du du dum dum dum.

6/10. 

Okiki Adeduyite

One thought on “Film Review: Terminator: Dark Fate

  1. […] Terminator: Dark Fate: I love this franchise and this is the first time I’ve written anything on any Terminator film and I’m glad its Dark Fate. As this wildly underrated epic is one of Scifi’s best. But beyond that, I nitpicked for errors and it had many. Read […]

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