Terminator: Dark Fate Review

Rise of the Machines/Insomnia cured here (via Flickr)

It’ll be back . . . again . . . and again

If you feel that the war between man and machines has been going on for way too long, then you’re absolutely right. In what is now the sixth film in this never-ending story of human misery, a fresh new cast of characters have been thrown into another sticky situation that needs to be resolved with death. It’s a Terminator movie people, not Citizen Kane, or A Clockwork Orange, although it does make more sense than the latter (yeah, look at these hot takes)
There’s nothing particularly special about Terminator: Dark Fate other than the fact that it, once again, features a veteran (and still badass) Linda Hamilton. However, here’s the immediate problem with Dark Fate for people who either have seen the film, or are on the fence and looking for feedback, the character of Grace (portrayed by Mackenzie Davis) feels really unnecessary to the film. This isn’t to say she’s a bad character, Davis does a wonderful job in making us care about Grace’s struggles and personality. It’s just that none of that seems to matter in the long run. Yeah (spoilers ahead), Grace has a personal connection with the new “only hope for the future” character (played by Natalia Reyes) because the apocalypse is really hard and sharing is caring.
Grace’s character is pretty unnecessary to most of the film. She fills the role of protector, which is something that Linda Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger end up doing anyway. Watching the film, feels like Grace is in the movie simply for the sake of being there. Even some of the dialogue between her and Hamilton feels forced.
Speaking of nitpicking, Dark Fate feels like a $185 million dollar Terminator 3 reboot. It’s like James Cameron said to the director, “Listen, I’m an amazing director, and I know what I’m talking about, and this is how we do Terminator 3, right.” Except, instead of doing it right, they did it a little bit better but still included subplots that don’t get a lot/any payoff. The plot itself is fairly straightforward, but it’s almost a little too fast, almost as if to say “yeah, you’ve seen this film before five times” and then chooses to focus on character drama as if anybody in the audience was even remotely interested in that.
Now, going back and doing a complete 180 into positive territory, Linda Hamilton is fantastic in this and doesn’t miss a beat from her time away from the franchise. Even the now overused and “totally there for marketing purposes” line of “I’ll be back” gets new life from Hamilton’s ability to just not give a crap in the best way. The funny thing is, I can say the exact same thing about Arnold in his role as the T-800, the man just seems to hit all the same notes that he did in Terminator 2.
This is where I’ll give Dark Fate a thumbs up, it does feel like a sequel to T2, and heck, I’ll even go as far to say that it’s a good sequel. Of course, this is when the older leads (Hamilton and Schwarzenegger) get back together and make it feel like T2 again. The newer parts of Dark Fate, such as the plot, the machines, the characters, they are all things that feel like they’d be featured in a newer, worse Terminator film (Genisys anyone?) The film is a welcome entry into the franchise, but it’s also one where two thirds of it doesn’t need to exist I know one thing for certain though I’ll be shocked if they’re back.

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