The film series about the cyborg T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger) that saves humanity made its debut with James Cameron’s Terminator in 1984, the audience completely took off in the action classic sequel Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991).
Since then, it has released four more Terminator movies, of very varying quality, with Dark Fate as the latest addition. This time, Cameron is back as a screenwriter and producer, and reboots the series in an almost remake of the first and second films. The result is a highly enjoyable classic Terminator-style action film, but it is not as stylish and satisfying as its two “fathers”.
By suddenly ignoring the latest films, the screenwriters are much freer. We now face a new danger in the superrobot, from the future, REV-9 (Gabriel Luna) embarks on a tireless hunt for the Mexican Dani (Natalia Reyes). However, he gets strong opposition from the hybrid robot Grace (a Mackenzie Davis who really kicks ass!). The film’s most gratifying reunion is with the “one-man army” Sarah Connor, who at the age of 63 still knows how to shoot and kick herself. Dark Fate invites you on a journey down-memory lane.
This is definitely not the best Terminator movie, nevertheless it is definitely the most notable movie since just Terminator 2, and this time it is (politically correct) girl power that is at the center of the hefty action scenes. Schwarzenegger himself is making a comeback, as a sedate curtain seller (!), But must find himself playing second fiddle as Hamilton and Mackenzie try to save the world from the machines.
This round it is not John Connor who is to be saved, he meets his fate in an early flashback, but the newcomer Dani; without any idea why she has ended up in the center of the event in a spectacular power struggle between humans and machines, represented by “Legion”.
The plot is neither original nor innovative, but Dark Fate offers solid entertaining action, impressive special effects (without standing in the way of the plot), a fitting, distant, dose of irony and liberating humor. Should also not hide under a chair that it is really fun to see Arnold in great shape again; he makes a completely different character than his “action brother” Sylvester Stallone performs in the misery Rambo V.
In addition to shooting-happy action scenes, in a “feminist” twist, the film also attempts, in a subtle way, to criticize the Trump administration’s immigration policy (no coincidence that the film’s most important person is Mexican); something not to be missed.
Although the newcomer Mackenzie works very well in the action scene, both she and Reyes’ character suffer from low credibility and ill-considered choices. Then the more established characters, Connor and T-800 sit much better, the others become more of a pretext for renewal.
All in all, Terminator: Dark Fate is a nostalgic nod to old fans of the Terminator franchise, while younger viewers will get an action movie adapted to our time. Not a movie you will remember forever, with well worth 4 stars for Arnold’s playful comeback.