James Cameron returns to the Terminator franchise with Terminator: Dark Fate. Set as a sequel to Terminator 2: Judgement Day, this latest film pushes all the recent Terminator films to the side along with all the ridiculously confusing timeline paradoxes. There was much hype around the return of James Cameron as writer and producer, but does it live up expectations? Sadly, not really.
In what is effectively now a trilogy, Linda Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger reprise their roles as Sarah Connor and a T-800 Terminator. You are probably wondering how The Terminator returns after destroying itself back in Terminator 2. His return is no ridiculous time-travel paradox as we saw in Genesis, but one that I cannot explain without spoiling a major plot point. You will just have to see it to find out.
Set in the year 2020 a new future is unfolding where machines have taken over the planet and are destroying humankind. A new Terminator (Gabriel Luna) is sent back to hunt down and kill a young woman, Dani Ramos (Natalia Reyes). With the new threat to the resistance, the leaders in the future send back an augmented soldier, Grace (Mackenzie Davis), to protect Dani and potentially save the future. Grace quickly locates Dani and her brother whilst they are at work in a motor vehicle factory and Grace has her first showdown with the new Terminator threat, a Rev-9 model with both liquid metal and metal skeleton frame making it twice as dangerous as the previous T-1000 model. The action kicks off here and doesn’t really stop until the film conclusion.
Terminator: Dark Fate feels more like a remake of Terminator 2 than it does a sequel. There are way too many similarities. From the shape-shifting liquid-metal Terminator, to the chase scenes involving a giant truck and the Rev-9 latching onto the back of the vehicle trying to get away, just to name a few. Each one of these scenes left me bored as I had seen it all before and nothing was surprising. The biggest surprise was Arnold’s T-800 and how hilarious his character was. I found the character’s dry humor extremely entertaining. Linda Hamilton is the same bad ass bitch that she was in Terminator 2, but this is a good thing.
In fact, all five of the lead roles performed extremely well with what they had to work with. But when the script is derivative and lacks depth, you can only do so much. The film was also a little bit longer than it needed to be. If it were shorter and had a more original plot, it may have been a much better film.
Overall Dark Fate is not a very good film and I think without the inclusion of Hamilton and Schwarzenegger, it would have been a horrible film. I am not entirely sure what compelled James Cameron to write this. Perhaps he felt that the story wasn’t complete in his own mind. To me, the Terminator timeline ended with Terminator 2. Everything else after that, including this one, is irrelevant. T2 always will be the best film of the franchise.
Terminator: Dark Fate is in cinemas now and although I didn’t really like it as much as I thought I would, it was still entertaining and I am still glad that I saw it in cinemas.