The Terminator took the world by storm in 1984 for its groundbreaking sci-fi story and visual effects. In 1991, its sequel upped the ante and is now widely considered to be one of the best action movies of all time. Rise of the Machines has a weak villain but is underrated overall. Salvation was a nice change of pace, even though it falls apart in the third act. I remember Genisys not being as bad as everyone else said, but I don’t recall a single thing about the movie and have no interest in revisiting it. Much like The Terminator itself, this franchise won’t die and now we have Dark Fate.
Dark Fate takes the Halloween approach of rewriting the franchise, effectively erasing the last 3 films and picking up after T2. In this one, a Terminator is sent back inside to kill the leader of the future Resistance against the machines. The Resistance sends back someone of their own stop him, with some help from Linda Hamilton. Stop me if it sounds like you’ve seen this before.
I’m so indifferent towards this franchise and this movie in particular that it has taken me 3 weeks since I’ve seen it to bother writing this review. Despite this movie being better than previous installments, I hope it is finally time for this franchise to go away. With that said, if you do still have some love for these movies, you will probably enjoy this one. Some of the action is really good and the new Terminator design is pretty cool, even if it doesn’t make much sense. Linda Hamilton is a welcome addition back into the franchise and newcomers Mackenzie Davis and Natalia Reyes turn in great performances of their own.
Unfortunately, much of the action is ruined by choppy editing that makes it nearly impossible to keep track of what is going on. The story is decent on the face but makes very little sense when you look back on it, especially when it comes to Schwarzenegger’s appearance in the movie. This also suffers from what plagues the other Terminator movies- the trailer shows too much. The franchise suffers from the unique problem that what sells the movie are also moments that would have been much better to see in the movie itself. I’m not sure if there would have been a way for them to market the movie differently, but it did detract from it regardless.
In the end, there’s some good and a lot of bad, but the movie just ends up being the most mediocre movie of the year. I’ll probably never see it again, but I won’t recommend that you never see it. Fans of the franchise will find something to enjoy, but I find myself hoping this will be it for Terminator movies.
I’m charging Terminator: Dark Fate with a Misdemeanor.
Ratings from low to high: Felony, Misdemeanor, 10-4, Positive ROP, Golden Donut