A few things are best known before watching the new TERMINATOR film or reading its review. So, here are a few facts (source: Wikipedia) to get the logistics out of the way. TERMINATOR DARK FATE is a 2019 American science fiction action film directed by the director of DEADPOOL Tim Miller making his second feature, with a screenplay by David S. Goyer, Justin Rhodes and Billy Ray from a story by James Cameron, Charles Eglee, Josh Friedman, Goyer and Rhodes. Cameron and David Ellison are the film’s producers. It is the sixth installment in the Terminator franchise and the direct sequel to THE TERMINATOR (1984) and TERMINATOR 2: JUDGEMENT DAY (1991), while the other films occur in alternate timelines.
DARK FATE has the benefit of franchise creator Cameron involved. The film stars Linda Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger returning in their roles of Sarah Connor and the T-800 “Terminator”, respectively, reuniting after 28 years. The film also stars newcomers Mackenzie Davis, Natalia Reyes, Gabriel Luna and Diego Boneta portraying new characters.
The plot involves a Terminator, the Rev-9 (Luna), travelling back in time to kill a young woman, Dani Ramos (Reyes), whose fate is connected to Sarah Connor and her son John’s legacies, which made Dani a target. The Human Resistance sends an enhanced soldier, Grace (Davis), whose existence is also depending on Dani’s survivals, back to protect her. Grace and Dani’s only hope for survival against the Rev-9 depends on them joining forces with Sarah and a T-800 Terminator.
It is best to remember that DARK FATE is a terminator action flick and should be treated as one and not as a serious drama with an all important life altering message. The message “we make our own fate” thrown into in this movie is as corny as any silly one-liners can be and should be taken at face value. The story’s time travelling paradox is also played to its fullest. The setting of a border with scenes of illegal Mexicans being held at an overcrowded detention centre with together with trains carrying hordes of illegal immigrants should also be taken with a grain of salt. Whether making a statement or not, all this is cheesiness at its best.
It is good to have Schwarzenegger and Hamilton back, both garnishing cheers at their first appearances (in the film) from the audience at the prom screening I attended. The other players including Mackenzie Davis and Gabriel Luna as the new terminator provide excellent support.
All the action set-pieces are solidly executed, especially the fight and chase segments that will have many at the edge of their seats. The humour is also dead funny, the funniest delivered by straight faced Schwarzenegger, The most hilarious segment is the meeting of Schwarzenegger as Carl who serves his visitors Coronas in a bottle complete with a slice of lime.
Work in other departments are also top notch. The cinematography is also crisp and clear, evident from the very first scene where the waves of the sea reveal pebbles followed by the skulls of human skeletons. The special effects are also magnificent from the transformation of human to terminator and vice versa to the little leaves blowing in the wind when the jeep drives away in the film’s closing sequence.
Director Miller is disciplined enough not to make DARK FATE look like a DEADPOOL movie. DARK FATE acknowledges the success and keeps to the feel and atmosphere of the first two original TERMINATOR films. Fans will not be disappointed, as evident by the loud applause given at the end of the promo screening I attended in IMAX. And see the film in IMAX!