Terminator: Dark Fate begins with a flashback to 1991’s Terminator 2: Judgement Day, before we get to the present day, or rather, 2020, so it’s slightly near-future. Well, may as well get a nice round even number, eh?
Plot-wise, this feels rather like a rehash of that classic sequel and, effectively, the original, but this time round, rooting for the good guys is Grace (Mackenzie Davis) who arrives shortly before a new foe is about to turn up, and just in time for laundry day. Well, time travel has yet to master the art of clothing – it can do a lot, but it can’t forward you in time, nor can it make you suitably-attired.
Despite Skynet no longer being the future, and so you’d think the war against the machines having been won, the reason augmented human Grace, and the improved Rev 9 Terminator (Gabriel Luna) have come to this time on Earth is because those Terminators who run the future are now known as Legion, and her mission is to protect Dani Ramos (Natalia Reyes). She was sent back from 2042, but by who, and what does the future require from Dani that makes her so special?
There’s a lot of action in this movie, so kudos to the team for actually giving us what we want in that respect. So many films give you a big opening scene, then not an awful lot until the last 20 minutes or so. In this film, it’s mostly wall-to-wall action. However, occasionally, how some scenes play out is a little bit muddled. The fight scene on the crashing plane leaves you wondering who’s where and when, as if continuity isn’t important, and when Arnie fights with the new Terminator while they float about as it’s in freefall, reminds me of the Family Guy scene when Peter Griffin is scrapping with the chicken in the space shuttle.
Linda Hamilton is brilliantly sarcastic as the world-weary Terminator-hunter, leading to a lot more humour in this than in Terminator 2, which will annoy some purists, since the story behind the Terminators is no laughing matter, but it helps with films these days. I remember seeing the so-so Into The Storm being the type of disaster film which should’ve had a great smattering of wry humour thoroughout, and they didn’t bother whatsoever.
There’s some humour which needs to be heard by those characters who speak the lines because, as the late, great Frank Carson used to say, “It’s the way I tell ’em”, but there’s a scene where Grace spots a drone flying high above them:
- Sarah comments: “I don’t hear anything.”
Grace: “Well, you’re not an augmented super-solider from the future, are you(?)”
Terminator: Dark Fate is a great chase movie, and the film does a good job in staying true to the canon, and following on nicely from the first two films, but my only gripe with it, plot-wise, is that one call-back to Terminator 2 features someone telling a member of authority about how robots are after them, and them not being believed – even though in a smartphone era, footage of these will have leaked a long time ago, and so EVERYONE will be aware of them! Or maybe the whole switcheroo with time has caused their presence to become a surprise again. I somehow doubt that, since nothing gets past anyone with a mobile phone these days.
A few things to add:
- Why is the ‘saviour’ Terminator always technologically-inferior to the ‘baddie’ Terminator they’re fighting? Why don’t those people in the future get things better-organised?!
- Also, the original John Connor (Edward Furlong) is back in this, but I’m not saying when or how…
- Plus, the ending hints at a potential sequel, but since this largely feels like a T2 rehash, any follow-up could only be another two hours of the same thing.
Finally, I watched this film in IMAX, but it’s not necessary. There’s no 3D, there’s no aspect ratio changes – which you sometimes associate with an IMAX presentation, and while there will be extra speakers around the huge auditorium, it’s nothing to worry about too much if you’re seeing it on a smaller screen – just sit closer!
Well, I said finally, but not quite. Let’s get onto some moans about my experience with the presentation. That was fine, but after Ad Astra being completely in the dark for the end credits, the lights came up as soon as the credits began – as usual, sadly.
But at the start of it all, my favourite row (J – right at the back) was empty according to the screen when I bought my ticket. However, upon entering the auditorium (which you do right at the bottom of the screen), I could see two blokes sat right in the middle of that row. My heart sank… I went up there, they immediately said “Are we in your seat?” (So, they knew they were in the wrong), I told them my seat number, was ready to get my ticket out, and… of course they were. So, they moved… albeit not too far. I’d love to know which seat they were meant to be in. I bet it wasn’t the ‘VIP’ seating area that I had gone for.
There are meant to be staff who keep an eye on such things, although this was 11.45pm, so there will have been less staff than usual.
That still doesn’t stop them coming in early during the credits, which is my usual gripe. On this occasion, I was the only one who stayed for the whole credits, and it didn’t take long for the two staff members to realise that’s what I was doing, as I saw they were quickly out with their phones and having a sit down for the next 8 minutes. After leaving the auditorium, I do enjoy taking pictures of the posters they have, even though I could tell this would’ve half-annoyed the staff who just wanted me out the building so they could close up, and I knew this because I passed one as I started to circle the room with the stairs, and caught her looking my way as I completed the circle.
I then went down the stairs and heard over their loud walkie-talkies, “He’s coming down!”
And out I went, after one last quick snap of a poster for The Aeronauts, which is technically outside the building, but not outside the ‘perimeter’ as they wanted to close the shutters. Tee hee.
Oh, there were also some kids in there who I thought might be annoying, as they came in late and sat to my right on the back row, but weren’t too bad. Had to ‘shush’ them a couple of times, and they were on their phones from time to time… but then kids do that. Didn’t have mobile phones in my day, etc, etc. And I did also wonder if they were even 15, but then I first saw a 15-certificate in the cinema when I was 12, so I can’t call out anyone for doing that.
Running time: 128 minutes
Release date: October 23rd 2019
Viewed at: Vue Printworks
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Format: 2.39:1 (Anamorphic Master Scope)
Director: Tim Miller
Producers: James Cameron, David Ellison
Screenplay: David S Goyer, Justin Rhodes, Billy Ray
Music: Junkie XL
Sarah Connor: Linda Hamilton
Grace: Mackenzie Davis
T-800 Terminator: Arnold Schwarzenegger
Rev 9 Terminator: Gabriel Luna
Dani Ramos: Natalia Reyes
John Connor: Edward Furlong
Hadrell: Tom Hopper
Dani’s Army: Cassandra Starr
T-800: Brett Azar
Diego Ramos: Diego Boneta
Julia: Tábata Cerezo
Rigby: Steven Cree
Akers: Pete Ploszek
Dani Ramos’ Father: Enrique Arce
Mexico City Cop: Mario de la Rosa
Owens: Christine Horn
ICE Medic: Samantha Coughlan
C-5 Co-Pilot: Rochelle Neil
Young Grace: Stephanie Gil
Maria: Claudia Trujillo
Young John Connor: Jude Collie
Alicia: Alicia Borrachero
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.