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Terminator: Dark Fate Review

U/A Action, Sci-fi 2 hrs 8 mins Nov 1, 2019
Bearable
2.5

Critics

2.5

Users

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Terminator: Dark Fate Review & Rating

Terminator: Dark Fate Review: A Thrilling But Known Territory of Action Films

The premise

It’s not every day we encounter a sequel of a film that is hailed as one of the greatest films of all time. Even rare is a film which was made some 30 years ago still stands the test of time in terms of its storytelling and visual effects. That a film which depicts a cynical view of the future and explores the perils of technology is made possible by breakthrough technology of times is the mother of irony.

The James Cameron show

But nothing is impossible for a filmmaker who made Arnold Schwarzenegger a great actor. James Cameron’s terrible and haunting dream became a blockbuster and iconic franchise where even the worst of the films (though he has no involvement) are better than several films of the genre. Remember Terminator 2? Better forget Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines and the other two films made with Terminator characters and treat Terminator: Dark Fate as the direct sequel of Terminator 2: Judgment Day.

James Cameron returns to write the screenplay and produce the film. Arnold is back to what he does well. To play a human-looking robot. And... and... and there is Linda Hamilton is every inch as badass as her heydays and returns as Sarah Connor. Then what about the man himself John Connor? Yes. He’s there too. And Edward Furlong returns (spoiler) in a different capacity to portray John. The future resistance leader of the first two films.

With a new generation of protagonists and the return of the old guard, Terminator: Dark Fate promises to bring back the nostalgic moments and add newer spice to the franchise which must now prove that old-school blockbusters and true blue sci-fi films can still make big bucks at the box office. Keep calm and trust James Cameron. And Tim Miller the director of Deadpool who rewrote how R-rated superhero films are made. Oh, by the way, after two duds, Terminator: Dark Fate is R-rated too (Adults only). Means: it’s every inch as gritty as the first two and the third films.

How it unravels?

After a stunning prologue which turns our perception of the first two films, and giving us a big jolt, we witness the new villain, this time named - Rev-9 who is even more advanced than Robert Patrick’s mercury man and the T-X arrives from the future in a traditional scene. The arrival of the terminators are as iconic as the opening crawls of Star Wars films but grossly underrated. Rev-9 is capable of dividing himself into two avatars at the same time - human-looking and androidal.

Then the hero - a protector to save the day and help our protagonist survive the attack from future - arrives. This time a female. She’s called Grace. And is a semi-android. Or a part-cyborg. Then the customary attacks by the villain on our working-class protagonist - a girl named Daniella aka Dani Ramos. Grace intervenes and a massive vehicle chase. Nobody writes action sequences better than James Cameron - said Screenwriting Guru Syd Field said many times. The chase, although it has the vibes of we-have-seen-it-before, it’s as much thrilling as possible.

This ends the first act. Then arrives Linda Hamilton’s Sarah Conner in a brilliantly orchestrated sequence. It is the second act that is more refreshing and delivers truly newness to us. While the first act is thrilling to the core but familiar, the second act has several unknown and surprising elements. We even witness a very different Arnoldnator (not spoiling the fun). How the day is saved and Dani alongside Sarah, Grace, and Arnoldnator form the rest of the story.

Why Dani needs to be saved when we know it is John Connor who is the leader of the resistance? If Judgment Day is averted in the second installment, how we come to the situation where another terminator comes back to haunt our protagonists? The answers to these questions are elaborated in a been-there seen-it action-packed third act and some exposition in the second act. Convincing? Can’t say. Good? Yes. Third best Terminator film.

Watch it or not?

Whether you watch one more Terminator film is your choice. But as a film, Dark Fate is a terrific watch. A neat action film with a very valid sci-fi story and some of the best performances in a blockbuster film. Arnoldnator is a treat to fans. Linda Hamilton is convinced to take up the role, by James Cameron.

It was said that both the director and Cameron have no alternate versions of the film written if Hamilton didn’t agree to act. She has already been in a secluded life. You’ll know why JC is stubborn to bring her back. After all, Linda Hamilton is the truest icon of the Terminator franchise and as much charismatic as she was in the first two films. She was the first-ever truest action heroine. Nobody writes strong female leads better than James Cameron.

A well-made sequel

Terminator: Dark Fate is a well-made action film first. And a high-quality followup to the iconic first two Terminator films. Of course, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines is a stunningly underrated sequel (not a classic we all agree) and acts as a brilliant epilogue to the first two films. But alas! Terminator: Salvation and Terminator: Genesys both undid the impact of the franchise. So, the forgotten T3 is also undone by the man who created Terminator.

Give it a chance

Just give it a chance. Dark Fate may not be as great as The Terminator and T2. It could well be the origin of a couple of more top-notch Terminator films. All depends on the success of this film. Trust James Cameron. Linda Hamilton. And Arnoldnator. Adios Amigos. For now.

Positives

  • It's Terminator after all
  • Linda Hamilton is as badass she ever was
  • Arnoldnator
  • Neat display by the new trio
  • Every bit as thrilling as the first two films
  • Very memorable and well-executed second-act

Negatives

  • The first and third acts are - been-there seen-it
  • The new trio despite their best efforts are overshadowed by Linda Hamilton and Arnoldnator

Pycker Rating: 3.25 out of 5

Reviewed by: GitacharYa

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