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article imageReview: ‘Terminator: Dark Fate’ redeems and renews the franchise Special

By Sarah Gopaul     Nov 18, 2019 in Entertainment
‘Terminator: Dark Fate’ goes back to the beginning, as the heroes must save the future’s next saviour from an elite assassin machine.
Sequels and reboots are often confused because they share some characteristics. The former is usually a follow-up to its predecessor, expanding on the original story and often featuring returning cast members. The latter takes the original concept and attempts to build a new story around it with a new cast. The Terminator franchise is rare in that it includes a fair number of both types of pictures. But the general consensus is that the last good movie was the first sequel, Terminator 2: Judgement Day. Taking that into account, creators have returned to the series’ roots with Terminator: Dark Fate.
The future is constantly changing. Putting out one fire doesn’t mean another won’t be ignited by another means, still causing the world to go up in flames. Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) doused the spark that would have awakened Skynet more than 25 years ago. Since then, she’s been on a mission to destroy any remnants of the future that would no longer happen. Dani Ramos (Natalia Reyes) doesn’t know anything about this. But then Grace (Mackenzie Davis) is sent back from the future to protect her from a new, even more advanced, nearly invincible, assassin machine (Gabriel Luna). Suddenly she’s in the middle of a battle for her life that she doesn’t understand, but needs her to get on board quickly.
Tim Miller has only directed a couple of other films, but in a few short years he’s been entrusted with some high profile, big budget movies with a lot of expectations attached to them… and each time, he’s delivered. This time around, he was assigned one of the most renowned action, sci-fi franchises in the world of which even he’s a fan. Thus, with a desire to return the series to its former glory and a script with the promise to do so, Miller set out to make a Terminator picture that picks up where they left off a quarter-century ago. Bringing back Hamilton was definitely a good place to start, but there’s so many aspects of the movie that are familiar — such as the electric disturbance that precedes a time traveller or the terminator’s emergence from a fiery crash — and others that are slightly altered to account for the time that’s lapsed — like Grace’s cybernetic enhancements or the weapons at their disposal.
Grace’s commitment to protecting Dani is reminiscent of the T-800 and John Connor, except that she’s also connected to her via already existing human emotions rather than learning to feel as they go. However, her humanity doesn’t make the fights any less impressive. In fact, the battle sequences are even more exciting with the REV-9’s new technology and Grace’s heightened reflexes. Even when it’s like she’s fighting two superior enemies, she’s still incredible. In spite of fulfilling her mission decades earlier, Sarah is still combat-ready and tougher than ever. Dani is lucky to have both women watching her back, even if they can’t always agree on the best strategy to keep her safe.
The narrative takes some liberties with the original story in order to mold it around the new story, but they fit within the overall context and don’t require too much of a leap to be acceptable. In the meantime, Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger don’t miss a beat as they step back into their roles. And Mackenzie, Reyes and Luna do well to bring their characters into this universe, and make them feel like a natural extension of the old guard.
It’s hard to put one faith’s in yet another Terminator movie, but this one really does make up for the years of disappointment.
Director: Tim Miller
Starring: Linda Hamilton, Mackenzie Davis and Natalia Reyes
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