Terminator Dark Fate
Starring Mackenzie Davis, Natalia Reyes, Linda Hamilton, Gabriel Luna, Arnold Schwarzenegger,
The latest “Terminator” film, 6th in the franchise, is as irrelevant and insignificant as previous iterations. James Cameron, creator of the original from 1984, can ignore or disregard all the versions he wasn’t associated with (films 3-5), but that doesn’t alter the fact those films and their stories are still in our minds. Despite having so many Sarah Connors, competing timelines and alternate realities, “Dark Fate” opens with flashbacks to the original film, a second opening sequence where Hamilton is de-aged, and then a third sequence introducing the new characters we follow in this script. With one action scene after another, the “Terminator” franchise would be more sustainable as a video game. There are simply not enough jokes in the script about Hamilton (63) and Schwarzenegger (72) pertaining to their ages, still clinging to the roles that defined their careers.
Sarah Conner (Hamilton) might have stopped Skynet from ruining the future for humans, but she hasn’t prevented similar companies from doing the same thing. Grace (Davis) drops out of the sky, from the year 2042, much like the T-series of future killing machines, only she is human. Her purpose is to protect Dani Ramos (Reyes) at all costs. With the unstoppable model Rev-9 (Luna) killing machine after them, Grace is willing to sacrifice anything and anyone in her path to ensure Dani lives, the future of mankind depends on it. Conner has spent the winter of her life hunting down Terminators (they took her son from her), and with the help of a secret source she shows up every time a new Terminator drops to earth. Three women from three different time periods must work together as one to ensure the future of womankind.
With one action scene after another, the Terminator franchise would be more sustainable as a video game.
The first big fight sequence, in a car manufacturing plant in Mexico, not only sets the tone for the two-hour action film, but also serves as a preview of the movie’s reliance on visual effects even for the hand to hand stuff. The action is mundane, which allows the viewer to hear the uncreative original score by Junkie XL thumping in the background. The “Terminator” films have always been a slave to whatever technology will allow and while they have progressed a lot since the ’80s, their storytelling skills remain largely underdeveloped. Some of the dialogue these characters say is baffling when you consider screenwriter Billy Ray is an Oscar-nominated writer and David S. Goyer worked with Christopher Nolan on “The Dark Knight” trilogy. Which points the finger at the third writer Justin Rhodes who has no mainstream writing experience.
Hamilton provides the nostalgia and comic relief, using iconic lines “I’ll Be Back.” “Deadpool “director Tim Miller was rumored to have instructed Hamilton to stop smiling every time she fired guns because her enjoyment wasn’t on-brand with the character. For fans of the franchise, seeing two members of the original cast together again after 28 years might be worth the price of admission, but for the rest of us it’s just a bad science fiction flick that serves no purpose when placed on the cinematic timeline. Who really wants or needs this film? Natalia Reyes (“Birds of Passage“) is the weakest link in the cast, her transformation arc of moving from helpless damsel in distress to badass literally revolves around a Corona with lime. Davis’ agility and amazing physique will be eye-popping for some, and killing machine Gabriel Luna (Transpecos) will be eye-candy for the rest. Reyes and Luna’s talents are wasted in this franchise, both more valuable to the independent film community.
The Terminator franchise is a product of the 80’s that should have lived and died there. No amount of technology can improve their scripts.