Terminator: Dark Fate is in cinemas and despite the fanfare and nostalgia that this newest film is slated to deliver, the sequel does disappoint. But then again, why should this be surprising? After all, every film after The Terminator and Terminator: Judgment Day has suffered the same [dark] fate.
The film teed up a lot of promise – the return of Linda Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger plus James Cameron in the producer’s seat. It also famously proclaimed that it would be a direct sequel to T2, basically ignoring everything that came after it, which was good, except that it also fell into the same trap of the previous three films in the franchise.
One bothers us most about Dark Fate is that the opening five minutes more or less negates everything that happens in Terminator 2. It took a risk for sure and it was central to this film’s main plot but what transpires next is one and increasingly insane big action set piece after another.
Driving this vehicle is Tim Miller, who resorts to the Wile E. Coyote rule book of basically blowing sh*t up every few minutes. The storyline, which introduces us to a new timeline, a new Skynet and Terminator as well as a new leader of the human resistance, tries very hard to spearhead its own way towards the new direction of the franchise, all the while with two of its mainstay franchise stars along for the ride.
Frankly, despite being weary and weathered, both Sarah Connor and the T-800 are the good parts of the film. Gabriel Luna, Mackenzie Davis and Natalie Reyes deliver decent performances but are hampered largely by a plot that plods along trying to explain everything along the way until of course the next massive action sequence arrives [dueling military transport airplanes anyone?].
Dark Fate may have bigger action, better special effects and larger explosions but it sadly doesn’t have heart unlike Terminator 2 or the gritty raw appeal of the original film. That said, any Terminator film that precedes the two classics already has an insurmountable task ahead of it. Unfortunately for fans of the series, despite what it initially promised, this latest effort left us wanting.
For a two hour romp in the cinema, it probably makes somewhat of a case for the price of admission, but that’s really it. Overall, it’s just another forgettable instalment to a great franchise that should have just ended in 1991. Hollywood should have stopped when they were ahead.
Popcorn Rating: Day old and not very sweet