“I’ll be back.” – Sarah Connor
Let’s forget about everything that happened after ‘Terminator 2: Judgment Day‘ back in 1991, and make a decent sequel. That was probably producer James Cameron and director Tim Miller‘s agreement. Not that I didn’t like the oh-so-campy and over-the-top ‘Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines‘, but it ain’t no T2. And to be honest, they knocked it out of the park with Dark Fate.
Terminator: Dark Fate takes place in Mexico City, where Dani (Natalia Reyes) lives a simple life with her brother Diego (Diego Boneta) and father, when a deadly new kind of Terminator – Rev-9 – visits from the future to hunt Dani down and kill her. At the same time, Grace (Mackenzie Davis), an enhanced human soldier from that same future, has also travelled back in time to protect Dani. When their first showdown inside a car factory, comes to a halt after a car chase a la Fast and Furious on the freeway, we quickly realise Grace isn’t the only one fighting these deadly terminators. Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) has come to the rescue and has some old grudges to process.
Tim Miller‘s (Deadpool) new sequel in the Terminator-franchise is solid. So solid it makes you forgive the tiny flaws in the film. He’s made a sequel that is worthy of the Terminator title and sets up a new future after Sarah Connor changed that future by saving her son back in 1991. Miller might just have another franchise on his hands, if this one does well at the box office. The film has had a lot of male writers. Seeing them write such strong female characters on screen is something I will always support and applaud. The guys also clearly know how to be funny. Those subtle inside jokes incorporated into dialogues give the audience something to smile about while sitting on the edge of their seats. Planes, trains and automobiles – the action takes place on different locations and so we need to keep moving. Even when crossing the Mexico/US-border, Sarah Connor’s in-your-face commentary on smuggling an immigrant across the border, can count as one of many witty lines she gets to deliver.
Linda Hamilton is a champion. Her character has grown but hasn’t forgotten the events that took place 30 years ago. Unlike Halloween‘s Laurie Strode last year, Sarah Connor has actually prepared herself for another big bad and is so bad ass, you can’t help but smile and cheer for her. Hamilton’s powerful performance makes you wonder why she hasn’t been on screen that much in the last decade, since she clearly knows how to compel an audience into liking her.
Another one back to reprise his role is Arnold Schwarzenegger, as a retired Terminator who lives in the woods. Schwarzenegger has done a lot of comedy in the ’90s, but shows he’s still got a funny bone left in his body. Dry humour and funny one liners will have the audience laughing out loud, while he still stays true to his Terminator past and knows how to pack a punch to impress.
Hamilton gets to go head to head with Mackenzie Davis‘ (Tully) Grace. Davis is more known for her dramatic roles, but stands her ground as a convincing action superstar who believes what she’s doing and looks fierce while doing so. Natalia Reyes, playing the helpless victim turns into a kick-ass woman fighting back at her dark fate. While she’s the one bringing the emotional factor to this story, she’s clearly a woman of many talents and knows how to handle different genres.
Tom Holkenborg‘s score is filled with South American tunes, while staying true to the Terminator-score we’re all familiar with. It’s wonderful to see Junkie XL grow into the composer he has become. Dark Fate is as expected filled with VFX, some work better than others, but never in a way it becomes distracting. There’s a few shots in futuristic flash forwards that seemed a bit unfinished, as did a shot later on in the film when Grace leaps through an aircraft, making her look like a video game character. Besides those two incidents, I found the VFX go hand-in-hand with the human characters.
One huge visual effect is the new Rev-9 terminator. This liquid robot can shed his human skin as some sort of out-of-body experience and still do severe damage. Since this terminator looks like a human on the outside, Gabriel Luna (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) is the perfect man to blend in with the crowd. He gives a very serious touch to his character, while changing up his personality to get what he wants from government officials or bystanders. Very impressive work.
Terminator: Dark Fate is a fun, thrilling, non-stop-action packed sci-fi blockbuster, with a hint of nostalgia and sets up a new tale within the Terminator-universe. Watch this on the biggest screen possible or in a 4Dx-cinema for full effect. *I’m not responsible for any injuries*
Review – ‘Terminator: Dark Fate’
Reviewed at Event Cinemas George Street, Sydney, Oct. 30, 2019. Australian Classification: MA15+. Running time: 128 min.
PRODUCTION: A 20th Century Fox release with Paramount Pictures in association with Tencent Pictures and TSG Entertainment of a Lightstorm Entertainment/Skydance production. Producers: James Cameron, David Ellison. Executive producers: Edward Cheng, Bonnie Curtis, Dana Goldberg, Don Granger, John J. Kelly, Julie Lynn.
CREW: Director: Tim Miller. Story: James Cameron, Charles H. Eglee, Josh Friedman, David S. Goyer, Justin Rhodes. Screenplay: David S. Goyer, Justin Rhodes, Billy Ray. Based on characters created by: James Cameron, Gale Anne Hurd. Camera (color, widescreen): Ken Seng. Editor: Julian Clarke. Music: Junkie XL.
WITH: Linda Hamilton, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mackenzie Davis, Natalia Reyes, Diego Boneta, Gabriel Luna, Tristán Ulloa, Tom Hopper, Enrique Arce, Manuel Pacific.