Tim Miller Leads Terminator Franchise to Dark Fate

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Terminator Dark Fate

So here's the gist of the TERMINATOR franchise: In the future, an artificial intelligence called Skynet decides humanity needs to be purged, and creates killer robots called Terminators. But John Connor would mount a successful resistance, forcing Skynet to invent time travel so it could send a robot into the past to prevent him from growing up. It fails, and only succeeds in ensuring John Connor is born. His mother Sarah Connor then fights Terminators who keep coming back trying to kill him, so that the future would be changed.

Only we see in the beginning of TERMINATOR: DARK FATE that a Terminator arrives and does successfully shoot the young John Connor in the head, leaving a grieving and embittered Sarah Connor behind to mourn.

So Skynet's future is assured, right?

Wrong.

Skynet never happens. Instead, a different A.I. called Legion forms. And when it encounters a resistance leader who may actually bring victory to humanity...it decides to prevent that from happening by sending a Terminator robot into the past to change it.

And, just as with the first film, the human rebellion sends back an agent of their own to stop the plan.

This is how we meet Grace (BLACK MIRROR's MACKENZIE DAVIS), who falls naked from the sky because, dang it, time travel still doesn't allow cotton fabrics to survive the trip. She lands in Mexico, because that's where Legion has sent the REV-9 Terminator (GABRIEL LUNA, AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Ghost Rider) to put an end to young Dani Ramos (NATALIA REYES). But Grace has a few advantages up her sleeve -- or, rather, in her arms and legs. She's got some technical enhancements to her body that make her capable of standing up to a Terminator for short periods. The flip side of that is that she goes into convulsions if she doesn't take medication.

Showing up shortly after Grace arrives is Sarah Connor herself (LINDA HAMILTON), perpetually pissed off and sardonic, wanted in fifty states, and always ready to take down a Terminator robot. How she's managed to when this one is so advanced is left to the imagination, but she's survived this long and the world has yet to catch on to the fact that the future is trying to invade the present. Sarah was tipped off because she gets text messages telling her where the next time-travel portal has/will open so she can be there and take care of business.

As the cover already gives away, ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER makes his return in this series as the T-800 Terminator robot, now living as a human named Carl who hangs drapes for a living. Oh, he's also the Terminator who shot John Connor, so he and Sarah get along super well, even if he has evolved a sense of humor and grown a conscience. I guess we know what happens to any Terminator who fulfills its mission: they retire to Texas. Naturally he teams up with the ladies to help stop this latest threat from another future that can't be allowed to happen (but will, because keeping Dani alive has nothing to do with stopping Legion from rising to power).

TERMINATOR: DARK FATE isn't awful. But it's not new, either. It's the same plot, rehashed, with long term characters reduced to either one-dimensional caricatures or appallingly devolved into jokes. The ending is unfulfilling, and leaves the viewer realizing that things have been set up for another sequel, much as we hope there will not be one. Director TIM MILLER and his team do succeed, however, in creating the most relentless version of a Terminator in the REV-9, as there seems to be nothing that can stop it, short of the sacrifice made at the film's climax.

The Blu-ray release includes a collection of deleted and extended scenes and several making-of features that take viewers behind the scenes of the film.

Grade: 
2.5 / 5.0