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Terminator: Dark Fate [Film Review]

Don’t get me wrong, it is always good to see Schwarzenegger play his iconic role, but the way he is returned for this film is mind-bogglingly lame and silly. 

Don’t get me wrong, it is always good to see Schwarzenegger play his iconic role, but the way he is returned for this film is mind-bogglingly lame and silly. 

Terminator: Dark Fate has diffidently made its fate look bad.

There are occasions when a film critic has genuine high expectations of a film for various reasons, and goes into a movie with a sense of hope and excitement. But then they leave the cinema disappointed, cheated, and annoyed.  

The story is about a Mexican girl called Dani Ramos who is being hunted (by a more advanced Terminator than the first two films) from the future. She is being assisted in her escape by Grace, a soldier from the future and Sarah Conner, who was from the first two films. 

If I say much more about the plot, there may be spoilers, and no matter how mean I maybe, I don’t want to ruin this film’s twists for the audience. Before I explain what parts of the film flop, I will mention the parts of the film which I was excited about and the parts that work. 

The Good

The return of Linda Hamilton playing Sarah Connor, the mother to the future resistance leader, is welcome. She brings charisma and continuity that is missed in the other sequels since Terminator 2; I will not go into those films as they are skipped through, and this film continues from where Terminator 2 left off. 

Even though she is one of the best characters in the film, it seems she is trying to help prop up the movie along with Arnold Schwarzenegger as the rest of the plot and story is weak. 

The return of Arnold Schwarzenegger in this film is a big welcome because he has come to play his repeated role so well, it’s almost as if Arnold and Terminator are Tweedledum and Tweedledee, you never know where the Terminator stops and Schwarzenegger’s real personality starts. In any case he also brings a sense of continuation and charisma to his role. 

The action set pieces are pretty spectacular, even though some of them are repeats of the previous films, and the special effects, production value, and editing don’t let down. 

The Bad

The film is a let-down in the story, script, and some actor choices that are made. For example, Natalie Reyes playing as Dani Ramos, or Gabriel Luna as the new Rev-9 Terminator is not believable and does not bring anything extra to the roles, and are very bland. It may have to do with the script they were given or that they are just not suited to the characters they are meant to play. The movie soundtrack by Junkie XL (Tom Holkenborg) is nothing special; again his style wasn’t suitable for this film and nowhere near the original Brad Fiedel iconic musical score. 

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A lot more was expected from James Cameron coming on board as producer and coming up with the story. His role as director in the first two films helped guarantee a unique style that fans will always love. He has dismissed the three sequels that came after Terminator 2, so when he agreed to help produce this film and come up with the story, fans were excited to see his magic touch.

We wanted the darkness and strength of story we got from part one and two, and yet it’s like Cameron has just put his name on the film but hardly contributed much to the overall direction of the whole movie. Perhaps he has, but I didn’t see his fingerprints on this film, as his films usually share common styles. He is currently busy producing four sequels for his new Avatar (2009) franchise; you know that movie with the blue aliens that was the biggest film of all time until Endgame (2019) came along. 

The Ugly

So this is the hardest part to talk about as the film was a real let down with these points. The way John Connor’s character is dealt with in this film, was an insult to the fans of the Terminator franchise. Once you see it, you will understand, but it was a terrible way of dealing with one of the central characters of the Terminator universe, and it will pretty much annoy you until the end of the movie and long after. It is one of the reasons why I disregard this film from the franchise in my mind and will not be interested in any more Terminator films, if they are to be made. The more I think about it, the more it distracts and annoys me. 

The movie has a strong female cast and character set up, shifting the direction of the saviour of humanity towards a more female-lead set up. This is fine and is not a problem, but the character Dani seems to have been thrust upon the audience, and her importance was forcefully pushed forward without much consideration and development, which is where the film fails. 

Even the way Schwarzenegger’s Terminator character is introduced is hilarious for all the wrong reasons. I cannot say more, other than I have not seen this much lazy character development and introduction in a big-budget film for a while, and Dark Fate fails miserably at introducing the reasons behind how Schwarzenegger’s character comes back. Don’t get me wrong, it is always good to see him play his iconic role, but the way he is returned for this film is mind-bogglingly lame and silly. 

Overall, if you are not a diehard Terminator fan, and you will not be offended with significant changes to the whole Terminator franchise universe and if you don’t care about John Connor in the series, then you will enjoy the set pieces, and you can turn your brain off for 2 hours of entertainment. But if you are a true Terminator fan, you will leave the cinema cheated and angry at this new film, and how it completely discredits the primary reason why you rooted and cheered for Sarah Connor in the first place. 

The film also makes a big deal about the idea of our fate being in our hands, trying to explore a philosophical concept, but that has been one of the messages of the previous two films anyway. This film has diffidently made its fate look bad. 



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