Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Movie Review: "Terminator: Dark Fate" (2019)

Director: Tim Miller
Year: 2019
Rating: R
Running Time: 2 hours, 8 minutes

A Terminator gets sent back in time to kill a woman named Dani Ramos, a prominent player in the future that was changed forever by Sarah and John Conner when they destroyed Cyberdine Systems. Now, Grace, an enhanced human from the future, must save Dani from this new Terminator with the help of Sarah Conner herself.

Terminator: Dark Fate (2019) movie still featuring Linda Hamilton as Sarah Conner and Natalia Reyes as Dani Ramos
"You put 100 cops between you and a Terminator, and you'll get 100 dead cops." (Image Source)
"The Terminator" franchise was spawned from the brain of writer/director James Cameron and was first presented to the public in 1984. Cameron made the technologically innovative follow-up, "Terminator 2: Judgment Day," in 1991. Many film fans consider this sequel their favorite "Terminator" movie despite its similarities to "T1." Then, James Cameron left the franchise, and though other filmmakers have tried to continue the series, each new installment has had diminishing results. Cameron has now returned to the series as a producer of "Terminator: Dark Fate." He also has a writing credit on the script along with a half dozen other people. The film is helmed by "Deadpool" director Tim Miller. When Sarah Conner (Linda Hamilton) and her son John (Edward Furlong) destroyed Cyberdine Systems back in the '90s, it changed the course of the future and prevented Judgment Day. Decades have passed, and a new Rev-9 Terminator (Gabriel Luna) is sent back from an alternate future to murder a woman named Dani Ramos (Natalia Reyes), who will become a significant person in the fate of the future. A cybernetically-enhanced woman named Grace (Mackenzie Davis) has also been sent back to protect Dani. They get some unexpected help from Sarah Conner, who has spent the last couple of decades killing any Terminator that may appear in the present time.
Arnold Schwarzenegger returns to the Terminator franchise to help destroy a Rev-9 (played by Gabriel Luna)
"I'll be back." (Image Source)
It's clear to us now that the public at large has grown wary of "The Terminator" franchise at this point...and who could blame them? The series derailed a long time ago, and it feels like studios have been beating a horse that has been dead for years. That being said, "Terminator: Dark Fate" is probably the best film in the series since "Judgment Day," though that isn't saying much. Unfortunately, lots of people won't know this because too many bridges have already been burned between the "Terminator" property and its fanbase. This installment retcons every other movie post-"T2" (according to the powers that be, it moves them to an alternate timeline), which makes it "Dark Fate: Terminator 3 - Take 2." Overall, we found this to be a (mostly) enjoyable flick. It's not perfect, but it's better than "Terminator Salvation" and "Terminator Genisys" combined. Tim Miller really knows how to direct action, and he has managed to create an appealing visual aesthetic full of compelling action set pieces that are sure to excite and entertain. Other positive factors include Mackenzie Davis's performance as Grace, a couple good puns and zingers in the script (which, come to think of it, can actually be counteracted the number of bad puns and zingers in the script...), Linda Hamilton's return to the franchise, and a decent attempt at delivering an important message. Much like "T2," "Dark Fate" uses the same framework as "T1" where a seemingly unstoppable villain hunts down and tries to kill a future savior with only an underpowered person/machine to protect them. They must succeed against even the worst odds because the fate of the (predictable) future depends on it. The writers toss in a few new characters and put them in a couple new places with a couple more dangers, and that's about it. We have to mention that there is one plot point that happens very early on that could be a "make or break" moment for many viewers. It didn't bother us, but we can definitely understand why it might ruffle some feathers.
Movie scene from Terminator Dark Fate where Mackenzie Davis prepared for battle with a machine gun
"You're not the threat. It's your womb." (Image Source)
We still think "Terminator: Dark Fate" is a decent, fun action movie worth checking out., but, do we need another "Terminator" movie? No. We guess the machines, much like the movie studios that produce these films, will never learn from their failures and will keep trying for a future that just isn't meant to be.

My Rating: 6/10
BigJ's Rating: 6.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.5/10
RT Rating: 72%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?

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