The Force Awakens made Disney a ton of money when it was released back in 2015. It also helped reestablish a popular franchise that seemed to be dead years earlier. If you decide to watch this, that’s one of the things you’ll notice here as Paramount is attempting to achieve something similar with Terminator: Dark Fate. That’s understandable, but they weren’t able to “stick the landing” as well as Disney did.
You would think that the world was safe since Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton), John Connor (Edward Furlong), and the T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger) changed the future and prevented Skynet from destroying the human race. Well, you’d be wrong since Terminators have popped back up. The latest version to return to the past is Rev-9 (Gabriel Luna), another futuristic killing machine who will stop at nothing to eliminate Dani Ramos (Natalia Reyes), its latest target.
A growing number of people have criticized The Force Awakens over the years by saying that it’s just another version of Star Wars: A New Hope. They say this because there are obvious similarities between the two. If enough people care to see Dark Fate, plenty of them will probably be saying the same thing somewhere down the line.
Obviously, someone saw the success that J.J. Abrams had with Star Wars and thought it would be a good idea to take this same approach with the reboot of Terminator. They also wanted to use the same formula that was used in bringing Halloween back to prominence by using this movie to wipe out the Terminator sequels that everyone wants to forget about.
One thing that they make clear from the very beginning in Dark Fate is that they want to kill the previous storyline and start a new one. I guess that in particular is closer to The Last Jedi rather than The Force Awakens, but you get the point. The major issue with that is they’re just replacing it with the same story.
It’s also hard not to see that the characters are basically the same as the ones before as well. The only difference is that they go by different names and are female. Of course, Rev 9 is the exception in terms of the gender swap, but he’s just another (worse) version of the T-1000 who was played by Robert Patrick in T2. Just about everything here is the same. There’s another slight twist too, but I’ll leave that out.
Speaking of the twists, none of them are actually surprising. In fact, I predicted exactly what was going to happen before even seeing the movie. Even that one slight twist that I won’t reveal is obvious beforehand even though it’s not explicitly stated. If you can’t figure it out before seeing the movie, it should be pretty easy to spot while you’re actually watching it. Needless to say, there’s a complete lack of creativity here that’s hard to ignore.
I guess you can say that the opening minutes also contain a twist as well. For hardcore fans of the franchise, this one may hurt a bit. Based on the fact that I was pretty sure it was going to happen, I can’t say it shocked me. I think for most people, this too will be easy to see coming from a good distance away as well. I doubt too many of us wanted it to happen, but it’s what we get anyway.
My biggest fear going into Dark Fate was that the action would be the weakest part. That’s not the case, but it manages to be pretty much what I thought it would be based on the trailer that I watched. I felt they made a mistake by showing this new antagonist look too weak as he was continuously getting beat up and offering no real offense. Unfortunately, that’s what happens in the entire movie for the most part.
I think he loses every legit fight he’s in throughout the entire film. All we ever see is how durable he is. He gets shot, beat up, and survives crashes. He almost never gets in any offense, but we’re supposed to see him as being dangerous. They even tell us that he’s dangerous, but we never really get to see it against the people he’s trying to kill.
This makes for a horrible villain for the simple fact that he’s never really a threat. When we got the T-1000 back in Judgement Day, he was durable and nearly impossible to kill, but he would also annihilate you if you tried to match him in hand to hand combat. The Rev-9, however, didn’t stand a chance whenever he had to get involved in some physical combat in spite of us literally being told that you don’t want to fight him.
There is something that separates this from the movie that it’s trying to be. You’ll notice that there’s also a good amount of downtime after the first true action sequence. This goes on for a while as things begin to drag. While that first action scene was okay, the boredom to follow was not. At first, I figured the movie would have benefited from scenes like this being removed and replaced with more action. But how many times do you want to see Rev-9 lose a fistfight?
Some people may not be as critical as I am when it comes to Dark Fate. That’s fine with me because there are some entertaining moments included. If you ignore the glaring plot holes and don’t try to make sense of any of it, you may like it even more. However, others may be like me and not be as forgiving of the flaws and miscalculations that are witnessed here.
As far as I’m concerned, the franchise still ended at the conclusion of Terminator 2: Judgement Day. The people behind digging this back up out of the ground again hoped to revitalize the franchise with Dark Fate. Instead of doing that, they gave us something that will be forgotten and/or ignored fairly quickly. At its best, it’s mediocre. At its worse, it’s boring. If there is a sequel to follow this, I don’t know what they can do to improve on things.
There’s a lot more to criticize when it comes to this remake of T2: Judgement Day, but I won’t go into it. Either way, I would tell you to save your time and money. If you’re like me and you already have a copy of that 1991 classic that this 2019 movie attempts to remake, just watch that instead and pretend this new version doesn’t exist. It’ll save you money, an unnecessary trip to the theater, and you’ll have way more fun.
Director: Tim Miller
David S. Goyer
Film Length: 128 minutes
Release Date: November 1, 2019
Distributor: Paramount Pictures
- Score - 4/104/10