"Renewed Energy, But Too Many Expletives"
What You Need To Know:
TERMINATOR: DARK FATE brings back some much-needed energy and humor to the franchise. For fans, DARK FATE is a big improvement over the last three movies. It delivers plenty of great action sequences. There’s a higher level of authenticity and intelligence. However, despite some allegorical redemptive elements, DARK FATE contains too much foul language and extreme violence. The violence is about the same level as the first two TERMINATOR movies, but the foul language is worse.
The sixth movie in the TERMINATOR franchise, TERMINATOR: DARK FATE brings back its original heroine Sarah Connor in a story that ignores the last three films in the series and continues the storyline of TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY as she comes out of hiding to help save a young Mexican woman from being killed by a new class of Terminator. Sarah recruits Arnold Schwarzenegger’s kinder Terminator model and joins a human/cyborg hybrid to help along the way.
The movie opens with footage from TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY, of the heroine Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) screaming at cops that the world is about to be destroyed by nuclear bombs detonating. She of course managed to stop the tragedy from happening in that movie. However, the new movie shows her in 1998 relaxing on an island with her teenage son, John, when Arnold Schwarzenegger as the evil the T-800 Terminator robot appears and shoots him dead, leaving her furious and distraught as the T-800 walks away.
Cut to present-day Mexico City. A naked woman named Grace (Mackenzie Davis) from the future drops out of the sky and startles a young couple who are kissing in an obscure location. When cops arrive to see what all the commotion is about, Grace proceeds to fight off the cops and steal the couple’s vehicle. Soon afterwards, a new naked Terminator Rev-9 (Gabriel Luna) drops out of the sky and also lands in Mexico City. He’s looking for a young woman named Dani (Natalia Reyes), who’s destined to give birth to a son someday who will lead the rebellion against evil robots dominating humanity.
Grace has been sent back from the future as a robotically enhanced super-soldier assigned to protect Dani from being killed by the Rev-9. However, after a car chase to flee, the Rev-9 robot goes tragically wrong, Sarah Connor arrives out of nowhere to blow it to pieces and give Grace and Dani a head start to hide from the new robotic threat.
While Grace and Sarah at first distrust each other’s motives, they realize they have no option but to team up in order to save Dani. Since Sarah is receiving mysterious texts in honor of her late son John from Laredo, Texas, she, Grace and Dani head north to cross the border and find the source.
It turns out that the T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger) has been living and hiding himself since killing her son John over 20 years before, trapped in present-day earth with no assignment to complete and learning to act ever more human over the years. Skynet, the old artificial intelligence that created the Terminators, has been replaced by a new artificial intelligence called Legion. This has left the aging T-800 robot with no artificial intelligence to control him. So, Sarah teams up with the T-800 one more time, as well as with Grace, to face down the new threat of the ruthlessly constructed Rev-9.
TERMINATOR: DARK FATE is kind of a surprise entry in the TERMINATOR franchise, bringing back fan favorite Linda Hamilton in rousing fashion that drew major applause from the audience at the preview screening. Schwarzenegger is mostly seen in the second half of the movie, but he too provides a needed life to the franchise as he delivers more funny one-liners than ever while also conveying as much warmth as he can muster since the T-800 has been learning to assimilate among human life.
The movie wisely brings back the original TERMINATOR and TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY creator James Cameron as a hands-on producer and co-writer of the new movie’s storyline. This brings the movie a level of authenticity, intelligence, energy, and excitement that was somewhat lacking in the last three TERMINATOR movies.
Director Tim Miller (the DEADPOOL movies) is a pretty solid choice for taking the reins, as he has already proven himself able to do highly kinetic action sequences and also handles DARK FATE’s humorous moments as well. The only real quality downside to the new movie is the feeling that this has been done before – over and over, and over – even if it is done well. The movie does bog down somewhat in the second half, when the heroes first find the T-800 in rural Texas, and the movie spends a little too much time focused on the human side of things and has a long stretch of more dialogue than action.
For fans of the series, DARK FATE is a big improvement over the last three movies. For action fans, it definitely delivers plenty of great action sequences. However, TERMINATOR: DARK FATE is extremely violent. Also, DARK FATE has the highest number of obscenities and profanities of all the TERMINATOR movies. Thus, despite some allegorical redemptive elements, TERMINATOR: DARK FATE contains too much objectionable content.