Film Review: TERMINATOR DARK FATE (USA 2019) ****

Terminator: Dark Fate Poster
Trailer

Sarah Connor and a hybrid cyborg human must protect a young girl from a newly modified liquid Terminator from the future.

Director:

Tim Miller

Writers:

James Cameron (story by), Charles H. Eglee (story by) | 8 more credits »

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!

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oxy8udgWRmo

Movie Review: DEADPOOL (2016)

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deadpoolDEADPOOL (USA 2016) ***
Directed by Tim Miller

Starrting: Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, T.J. Miller

Review by Gilbert Seah

DEADPOOL the latest Marvel comic book ‘hero’ movie arrives with great anticipation and fanfare of comic book fans. Fans know their comic book hero and expect to see a foul-mouthed, angry, sexy and ugly fighter in an R-rated movie.

First of all, some background on DEADPOOL. Those familiar with the marvel character, best described as an uncensored personality would best skip this paragraph. DEAD POOL is the name of the lead character previously known as Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds). The character is less a hero than an antihero. He describes himself in the film as a bad guy paid to take out other bad guys. At first a normal human being, then voluntarily subjected to experiments in order to cure his cancer, Deadpool ends up totally mutated but also with accelerated healing powers and fighting agility. He is badly scarred especially facial wise and wears a skin tight costume. He is angry, swears all the time and beats various people up, depending on his mood. The fans expect the film to be extremely violent, especially in the already famous touted skewer scene in which Deadpool props a baddie up with his twin blades. Director Miller satisfies the fans with the segment not only shown twice, but also in slow motion.

To director Miller’s credit, the film is energetic and funny enough for the audience to be distracted from the film’s flaws. The film begins with mock opening credits that no doubt is funny at first, but soon wears out its welcome. It says for example that the film is directed by an overpaid tool with all other members of the the filmmaking team insulted except for the writers. The real credits appear at the end of the film.

The film begins with Deadpool (Reynolds) taking a cab, driven by Dopinder (Karan Soni) to fight his enemies, the main one being Francis (Ed Skrein from the TRANSPORTER remake). Deadpool has a lengthy irrelevant but hilarious conversation with Dopinder. The fight ensues, but because Deadpool has forgotten his bag of weapons, has only 12 bullets in his gun. As a result, he has to cut off his hand from a handcuff in order to escape in a garbage truck. The film flashes back to how this scene takes place. In the process, the audience learns that the film is a love story – one between Wade Wilson and Vanessa (Morena Baccarin).

The film’s storytelling format is chopped up unnecessarily as if the target audience is assumed to have a very short attention span. There is no need for the excessive violence, except maybe to satisfy the hardcore Deadpool comic book fans. The humour is forced, the dialogue terribly crude and blunt and many characters appear out of nowhere. An example is the blind old back lady, Al (the wonderful Leslie Uggams) who ends up as Deadpool’s lover, living in his apartment. Her quotable line: “I miss my cocaine.” All this might be entertaining to some but on the other hand , terribly boring to others, like the film critics.
For what it is worth, DEADPOOL delivers to its core audience. The film turned out better than I expected, having very low expectations after watching the trailer. But I am not the core audience. DEADPOOL fans will definitely be pleased!

 

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