Movie Review: ‘Terminator: Dark Fate’

“Terminator: Dark Fate” focuses on a group of individuals, primed for conflict against a futuristic force. Grace, an upgraded soldier, is sent to the past. While in a different time and place, she must protect Dani, humanity’s chosen one. With the help of Sarah Connor, they battle the Rev 9, a modified Terminator. In time, it’s evident that they will need as many resources as possible.

After “Terminator 2: Judgement Day” (T2), the ensuing sequels entered the realm of cinematic ineptitude, expanding the universe in sloppy and uninteresting ways. “Dark Fate” sidesteps complete ineptitude, and becomes a film that possesses shades of admirability. Right away, director Tim Miller captures the gritty, fast-moving nature of Cameron’s earlier films. The flick starts with a bang, giving us an opening battle overflowing with conflictual creativity and intense collision.

Sadly, none of the set pieces live up to the opening conflict. The film’s middle point drags considerably, and when the action hits, it feels consistently tight, eliminating the rhythm and fluidity of conflicts. An overrealince on computer generated imagery minimizes the film’s sense of entertainment, ushering in effects that seem unpolished and self-indulgently generated. Years ago, Cameron’s Terminator films were full of proper effects work, strategically utilized at the most opportune of times. When the special effects were presented, they were undeniably convincing and tailored. In this cinematic case, “Dark Fate” feels more like an animated feature.

Miller, a massive science fiction fan, takes the franchise’s female blueprint and runs with it, providing us with a crew of female combatants. Even with such superiority, the primary characters are imbued with elements of vulnerability. Yes, they are capable figures within the action landscape. But most of all, they feel like relatable human beings, complete with pain and fundamental flaws. Mackenzie Davis, Linda Hamilton and Natalia Reyes should be commended for their performances.

Sadly, these characters are stuck in a lazy narrative. The story feels like a retread of existing material, and as the plot moves forward, Miller’s film minimizes “T2’s” emotional impact, scratching out the vital elements that came before. As time progresses, it’s evident that “Dark Fate” lacks a sense of surprise and deep emotion. The film reveals too much information, eliminating every trace of mystery.

In closing, I am sad to report that Miller’s sci-fi tale continues the series’ trend of disappointing sequels. If you want to give the film a shot, go ahead. But please, do not expect a wholesome experience. Maybe the Terminator series should not come back.

My Grade:  C

Dillon McCarty can be contacted at [email protected]