Skynet is back—actually, they were stopped, but now a new self-aware AI, Legion, seeks to destroy the new John Conner, a very confused but resilient Mexican protagonist, Daniella "Dani" Ramos (Natalia Reyes).
The film stays with the normal formula the Terminator franchise knows: a shit-load of action. So much action, they literally throw the audience into a 45-minute battle scene at the beginning. Exhilarating, yet exhausting.
Terminator: Dark Fate tries to continue the first two films' timeline, beginning in 1988 where/when Sara Conner (Linda Hamilton) fails to stop the iconic T-1000 terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) from murdering the young CGI animated John Conner (1990s-era Edward Furlong).
This scene alone shifts the entire Terminator storyline, deeming the last three films and the short-lived TV series irrelevant, or, as producer James Cameron has described in interviews, alternate timelines.
-Director Tim Miller (Deadpool) crafts well-designed fight scenes that provide a very precise attention to detail when coming to, for example, bullets grazing skin, or when the new Terminator (Gabriel Luna) takes multiple rockets to the face. However, the film left me wanting more dialogue, as it was heavy with explosions and physical altercations. It feels like there is so much more to be learned about the newly revamped franchise. The backgrounds of the newly introduced characters are incredibly shallow; cyborg Grace (Mackenzie Davis) is an enticing heroine, yet we learn very little about her features as a augmented human whose sole mission is to save the young Dani.
Cameron gets a gold star for trying to retcon the Terminator universe, but pulling from the first two incredibly iconic movies doesn't have the same feel as it did in the '80s. Then again, if -never-ending action and a Terminator that doesn't quit with a taste of Schwarzenegger nostalgia is your cup of tea, this movie is for you.
+Sweet detailed fight scenes; good for dads
-Little dialogue; confusing timelines
Terminator: Dark Fate
Directed by Miller
With Hamilton, Davis and Reyes (Schwarzenegger of course)
Violet Crown, Regal (both locations), R, 128 min.