Warrior is back in charge
Arnie’s back — just like he promised. But Linda Hamilton and her all-female posse of Terminator terminators do most of the heavy lifting in this standalone sequel.
Almost three decades have passed since Hamilton’s groundbreaking transformation from waitress to warrior in Terminator 2.
Gruff, grizzled, and mighty handy with a grenade launcher, Sarah Connor shows no sign of mellowing with age.
Dark Fate also introduces Colombian actress Natalia Reyes (Birds Of Passage) as a feisty Mexican factory worker named Dani Ramos — the planet’s only hope.
Mackenzie Davis is a force to be reckoned with as the fiercely protective cyborg sent back from the future to save the unsuspecting target from the upgraded liquid metal Rev 9 (Gabriel Luna).
But while the three actors give franchise creator James Cameron’s apocalyptic action adventure everything they have, they are weighed down by excess baggage and further stymied by an unimaginative plot.
Deadpool director Tim Miller is similarly handicapped.
Perhaps because he has so much riding on it, Miller’s hotly anticipated follow-up to the iconoclastic, selfreferential and bitingly funny 2016 superhero satire is strangely lacking in humour.
The franchise’s outsized antihero introduces some welcome levity when he makes his belated appearance, but for the most part, Dark Fate takes itself way too seriously.
Ignoring the previous three films — Rise Of The Machines, Salvation and Genisys — with which Cameron had no association, Dark Fate picks up where Terminator 2 left off, or rather, in a kind of parallel universe.
Having successfully saved our world from the machines, the young Sarah Connor (Hamilton) and her teenage son John (Edward Furlong) are kicking back at a coastal resort when a rogue T-800 (Schwarzenegger) successfully executes his mission.
Flash forward approximately 28 years. Skynet no longer exists, but since mankind rarely learns from its past mistakes, there’s a new apocalypse looming. The more things change … With the help of the rehabilitated T-800, the tight-knit bunch of female protagonists do their level best to outrun, outfight and outsmart their far-superior adversary for the best part of two hours
As a genre piece, Dark Fate gets the job done and the action is toe-curling.
Set pieces include a tense, pedal-to-the-metal car chase that results in maximum collateral damage, a spectacular mid-air showdown, and a vertiginous clash on the edge of a giant dam.
Advances in CGI allow the filmmakers to add more layers of malevolence to the improved metal liquid Terminator – the grinning machine skull is truly macabre.
But Dark Fate’s screenplay feels like a bit of a throwback. It’s a familiar story, with an expedient gender twist.
Connor is one of the most influential female characters in action movie history. It’s great to see 63-year-old Hamilton stepping back into those shoes.
Linda Hamilton returns as Sarah O’Connor in Terminator: Dark Fate.