Posted Oct 29 2019

Terminator Dark Fate - This Movie Sucks In The First Hour, Rocks In The Second

Dir: Tim Miller

Starring Linda Hamilton, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mackenzie Davis, Gabriel Luna, Natalia Reyes, Edward Furlong (sort of)

It’s a good thing to have Jim Cameron and Linda Hamilton back in the Terminator universe. It’s also nice to see Arnie back – although he barely went away.

The sad part is this reunion – and, in essence, direct sequel to the game-changer that was T2, doesn’t add up to all that much. If anything this is a game-samer – same plot same timey-wimey rigmarole, same notions, same ideas – all a little older, all a little staler, even if the action has been ramped up to 11.  

But Cameron’s original two Terminators were always as much about ideas and thought as they were about action beats. Here, new ideas are thin on the ground - Sarah Conner did what she did – “Skynet” never happened, but was replaced by “Legion”, which had a remarkably similar notion of design.

There is the notable exception of placing the emphasis on a femme-led cast – Hamilton to the fore, and an undervalued Davis backing her up.

Other than that, it’s a case of more of the same done slightly better than the last three.  (OK – a lot better than the last three!!)

There is CG morphing – once ground-breakingly original - to look at, but now overly familiar, things go bang – a lot, people say “I’ll be back” – you get the gist.

That said, things improve greatly when Arnie finally shows up, around the half-way mark. And here’s the ironic part – not only is he the best performance in the film, (being a monotone Austrian ‘bot), he’s also the most fully rounded character. Who saw that coming??

It’s more fun in the second half, but not enough to save it. All sound and fury – adding up to an OK end of a “trilogy” that should only ever have been two – and then had three others in between, that now seem to have inadvertently diluted the power of the original. And this doesn’t do enough to restore its value. In a strange and unwanted way – it almost serves to take it further away.

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