I have heard a lot of critics say that this is the best Terminator movie is T2, and, while that is definitely the case, it is not setting the bar very high.
The movies in the Terminator franchise have fallen somewhere between poor and totally rotten since T2: Judgement Day so a competently made Terminator movie would easily be the best since T2.
That does not mean this is a great movie or that I loved Terminator: Dark Fate. The best I can say for the film is… it’s fine. However, there are no new ideas as the entire film is basically a retread of a strange combination of Terminator and T2.
A powerful Terminator (Gabriel Luna) is sent back from the future to kill someone, in this case a girl named Dani (Natalia Reyes). The resistance of that future time line sends a protector, Grace (Mackenzie Davis), to keep Dani alive.
Does that sound familiar?
The film also adds Linda Hamilton back in as Sarah Connor and Arnold Schwarzenegger as a Terminator for nostalgia. It was the film’s way to connect the films of the past to the new film of 2019.
I enjoyed both Linda Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s performances in the movie and they did a nice job interacting with the new characters. Schwarzenegger was very funny in his role and makes a character, that could be the worst of the film, likable.
However, something happens at the very beginning of the movie that.I suspect will be a major dividing point among Terminator fans. While I did not hate what happened, I can certainly understand why some people do. I do find the eventual result of the first scene to play out in a silly way that stretches my suspension of disbelief.
I found the action to be a mixed bag. The highway chase, as seen in the trailers, was not bad, but it felt like something I had already seen. I was bored with the action in the airplane, but I thought the final third act throw-down was decent. Some of the CGI was shaky at times, especially when showing the future timeline with the Terminators coming out of the water.
Natalia Reyes and Mackenzie Davis are both very good in their roles, even though you could easily assign previous characters from the Terminator franchise as being replaced by them. There really is not a lot or originality in this new film. Still, The Force Awakens was very similar to New Hope and that does not make Episode VII bad, per se.
I have a feeling that this film may be one of those films that I originally recommend but, over time, continue to think poorly about. I found Terminator: Dark Fate to be an okay movie and it looked good on the IMAX screen that I watched it on, but there is just something unremarkable sticking in my craw.