This marks the 6th Terminator film and the 6th film to repeat the exact same damn plot. That begs the question, exactly how long can a long running franchise keep repeating the same plot points until the built in audience gets fed up and tunes out?
The answer to that question is apparently 6 as Dark Fate bombed hard this weekend. That was obvious by the mostly empty theater I was in on a Saturday.
I’ve seen every Terminator film in theaters but the first one and Salvation, the 4th. I didn’t see the first film in theaters because I was too young, though I watched the hell out of it when it hit HBO because they played it constantly. I don’t remember why I never saw the 4th film in theaters. To me it was the film we, as fans always wanted, a Terminator film set in the apocalyptic future. But it fell short of what I was promised. But I remember liking a few things it showcased and hell, at least it tried to do something different, something in later films said, nah, fuck it. We’ll just do the same shit over again.
I feel I must also touch on the mostly all female cast. What exactly was the reason for it? To get more ladies interested in seeing Terminator? I mean, know your audience. You want to know how many women were in the sea of all of 8 people that were in my theater seeing this? A big fat zero. Unless you count the toddler who wouldn’t stop yelling and crying through the whole movie.
I have an issue with the new characters because they’re boring and unlikable, not because they are women. As much as I like Mackenzie Davis, I hated her in this. She’s meant to be this tough badass but she actually kind of reminded me a lot of Brie Larson in Captain Marvel. It also didn’t help they share the same haircut.
Basically what they chose to do was Ghostbuster reboot the Terminator franchise, something nobody was asking for or wanted.
That brings us to Dani, at least she was interesting, right? Think again.
Dani ended up being the most forgettable character in the whole movie. Which is hard to pull off because this film has a whole slew of forgettable characters. We are introduced to several characters and I can’t for the life of me remember what happened to them. One example, is Dean, a military guy who Linda Hamilton knows somehow. How? No clue. I remember he gets shot but I don’t remember what the hell happened to him after that. Does he get on the plane with them? Did he die and I missed it?
There are a few characters like that, where they show up to do something to move the plot along, then just vanish from the movie.
If you don’t know, Dani is our Sarah Conner replacement. She’s played by an actress I’ve never seen before, though I slightly remember her in this really shitty straight to video Nic Cage film I watched not long ago. I believe she was a prostitute who overdoses.
She wasn’t bad in Dark Fate, her character is just so forgettable and generic as a whole. Oh god, when they later show her in a flashback as this badass leader in the apocalypse, it’s fucking laughable.
So those are the bad parts of the film, are there any good parts? Yes! This film is a mixed bag for me, as it has things I really hated, but it also has things I really loved.
Those things being Linda Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
And much like Terminator Genisys, it felt like the more interesting story wasn’t the main plot. For Terminator Genisys, it was about the good Terminator going back when Sarah Conner was just a little girl and basically help raise her when her parents are murdered.
The more interesting story in Dark Fate, which I didn’t know this film was even called until I was actually in the theater, in Dark Fate the story I was more invested in was Sarah Conner’s story and Arnold after the events of the first 2 minutes of the film starting.
Dark Fate picks up right where T2 Judgment Day left off, Sarah Conner and John Conner are down in Guatemala on a resort, enjoying the fact they helped save humanity. Their celebration is interrupted by another Arnold Terminator who pulls out a shotgun and kills John.
The more interesting story lies in what the Terminator does afterwards, as he goes off and starts living a normal life with a wife and kid.
It became so clear to me as I was watching this what the main story of this movie should have been. It should have followed the Arnold Terminator as he learned to become more human and good.
While the opposite parallels of that, should have been following Sarah Conner as she became driven by grief and revenge. Have it be 22 years later, Arnold has lived a peaceful life and make Sarah essentially play the Terminator role, going after Arnold and his family. So now Arnold has to protect his family from her, brilliant right? Or at least I thought so.
It’s way more interesting than what we got, which is a rehash of all the other movies. Do something different, don’t just give us the same shit with minor changes.
Don’t Force Awakens us.
It’s now present day, the apocalypse Kyle Reese warned Sarah Conner about never came to pass. However a new threat has taken up the mantel replacing Skynet with Legion, which still produces Terminators somehow. Except they are now black chrome like he’s RoboCop from the shitty reboot.
This new Terminator is a Rev-9 model, which is basically a mix of the T-1000 from Judgment Day and the standard T-800 model we get from Arnold’s Terminator. So basically he’s the Terminator from Terminator 3, but male and can separate itself from the metal exoskeleton.
A two for one deal!
I actually kind of like this design, except for the fact the exoskeleton is missing the top of its skull, making him look like an ice cream scoop.
Sent to stop the Rev-9 is Grace, an augmented human.
I also want to touch on how human the Rev-9 is now. It’s basically human, making Arnold’s model seem so out of date by comparison.
Grace is sent to protect Dani a Mexican factory worker, along with her brother who is currently about to get replaced at work with a robot.
Having stopped by Dani’s house already, the Rev-9 has killed her father and is disguised as him.
When it looks like Dani is about to be killed, Grace shows up… if you’ve seen T2 Judgment Day, you basically know how this goes. Just picture the mall scene but not nearly as good and with a lot of CGI.
Grace says her come with me if you want to live line, there’s an extended chase, blah blah blah, you’ve seen this 6 other times before. When Grace and Dani are looking like they are cornered, Sarah Conner shows up and helps rescue them. But being the continuous dick that she is, Grace steals Sarah’s car and takes off.
This is when it is revealed that Grace can’t maintain this amount of exertion, as it quickly drains her. So… that’s not very efficient. You have like 10 minutes to kill a Terminator and if you fail within that timeframe you’re fucked?
And it doesn’t even seem to matter all that much as she isn’t able to stop the Rev-9, not even slow it down. Hell, Sarah Conner, an old lady did a better job at slowing it down than Grace ever did.
Now reeling and left unconscious from not getting her cocktail of drugs, Grace passes out but is helped by Sarah Conner as she tries to figure out what the hell is going on.
But since this is a new future with a different but still same apocalypse, no one has ever heard of John Conner or Sarah Conner.
Wanting to know how Sarah was able to find them, she reveals that every so often she gets a txt from someone letting her know when a Terminator is being sent from the future. She shows up and kills it. The message always ends with “For John”. So obviously you know where this is leading.
Grace tracks the cell number that matches up to this tattoo of coordinates on her torso in case things go awry.
The three of them try to leave Mexico but get caught trying to sneak in. Once they are detained and taken to their designated cages to be held, the Rev-9 shows up and starts killing anyone that gets in his way.
The three of them manage to escape, flying to the location the mysterious person who txted them lives.
It turns out to be the Terminator that killed John all those years ago.
Of course Sarah wants to kill him on the spot, but is talked out of it, being reminded that they need his help.
Carl, as this Terminator likes being called, who also works as a drapery, comes up with a plan, box the Rev-9 in and use an EMP to crash his systems.
To pull this plan off they’ll need an EMP. Thankfully Sarah knows a guy. Enter Dean. It’s set up like we are meant to know who this guy is, hell, even Arnold knows who he is, but I have no fucking clue.
At first I thought maybe he was the son of Miles Dyson from Judgment Day but all grown up. But the names don’t match, so I got no idea who he is. Just someone Sarah knows I guess… even though she’s wanted in all 50 states, she still manages to make friends with high ranking military personnel?
Anyway, like how most things work in this movie, the Rev-9 shows up, shoots Dean as he passes off the EMP to them. After that I’m not sure what happens to him, maybe he died… I don’t know.
The three of them make it to a military airfield where they steal a cargo plane, but they have a problem, the briefcase holding the EMP has been shot, essentially making that whole side trip pointless.
Now their plan is to… actually, I don’t know what their plan is now. It doesn’t matter since the Rev-9 shows back up flying a refueling plane. Before they jump into another action sequence however, we do get the reason why Dani is so important. She isn’t the mother of the hero, she is the hero.
Dani found Grace when she was a little kid and I guess looks up to her as a mother figure.
God, the way they kept setting this up they might as well held a sign over their heads. Through the whole movie Sarah is grouchy that Dani isn’t special, just her womb is. Not to mention not so subtle hints about needing to live so A MAN can save the day. It’s so telegraphed, much like the Arnold reveal, it should be obvious from the start.
Anyway, back to the rest of the film which is essentially now an extended action sequence that lasts for like 20 minutes.
Rev-9 jumps onboard their cargo plane, they fight, they crash land by jumping their parachute fitted Jeeps out of the crashing plane.
They end up at a dam where they box the Rev-9 in and try to take him out by crushing it in a turbine. Grace is badly injured and begs Dani to use her power source, which will act as their EMP to kill the Rev-9’s liquid state.
Dani kills Grace, removes what looks like a spark plug and detonates it.
Arnold makes the final blow in a touching moment where he dies saying “For John”.
Now the goal is to get Dani ready for the coming apocalypse, not to stop it, but to I guess just be ready when it happens. The end and hopefully the final one for a long while until they reboot it again.
At this point, they need to do something completely different and making the cast all female isn’t it. Sure, the Terminator films always had strong female characters, but that was never the crux of these films. They didn’t throw it in your face with lines like this film has.
You also cared about the characters in the other two films, I couldn’t care less about Dani or Grace. Is it weird that the Rev-9 had more personality than our non-terminator Grace character?
My favorite scene in the film was in one of the very few quiet parts where they are waiting for Dean to show up with the EMP and Arnold is talking to Dani and Grace about drapes.
Love everything with Sarah Conner and Carl, the Arnold Terminator. I’d cut everything with Dani and Grace, but keep the Rev-9 Terminator, as I did enjoy him. Even if he does look like an ice cream scoop.
I give Terminator Dark Fate a RENT IT. I enjoyed Genisys more, but I can see others liking this over that one since I feel like I’m the only one who actually enjoyed Genisys.
Next time I’ll be back with a review for Charlie’s Angels. Just kidding, fuck off am I watching that, I can’t stand Kristen Stewart and it would take a lot of convincing to get me to see this in the theater.
Next time, I’ll be back with The Irishman.
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