Terminator: Dark Fate

Terminator: Dark Fate


This latest addition to the Terminator franchise is that it reunites the people who made it great in the first place: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton and James Cameron. They’re back for Dark Fate, promising to straighten all those crooked timelines and deliver some honest-to-goodness shock and awe. On paper at least, that’s a tantalising prospect.

In reality, however, the involvement of James Cameron is limited to a story and producer credit – and it’s hard to imagine the story took him longer than an Avatar 2 lunch break to whip together. The set-up and structure are so similar to 1991’s landmark Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Dark Fate could almost be called a remake. It’s a watery facsimile of that movie, full of nods and winks to iconic moments long past.

Deadpool director Tim Miller is the latest filmmaker to try to bring freshness to these reheated beats, and there are some promising flashes early on.

That iconic shot of terminators skull-crunching their way across an apocalyptic landscape transforms into a tranquil beachside scene in one smooth edit. The tension at the heart of these Terminator movies was always between the clutch of terrified, clued-up survivors and the oblivious masses, and the moment captures it neatly.

But there’s so little new here that the parallels with T2 become invidious. That film’s genius was in knowing when to throw in a show-stopping visual at us and when to keep the effects practical (the truck chase along the Los Angeles River waterbed). There’s none of that balance in Dark Fate, let alone the cat-and-mouse guile and character beats that helped elevate the 1991 sequel to the all-time sci-fi pantheon.

Instead, we get a CGI-drenched cargo plane sequence that feels fake and unengaging. So just sit back and enjoy Arnie’s committed turn as a battle-worn T-800 just trying to make a go of it as a man – okay, a killer cybernetic organism – of the land. The character once famous for saying next to nothing gets all the best lines. Sadly, it’s the only surprise here.

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By Phil De Semlyen | 30 Oct 2019


Terminator: Dark Fate
Release DateOctober 31, 2019
Director Tim Miller
Casting Linda Hamilton, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mackenzie Davis
Film Category Action