Terminator: Dark Fate

Dani Ramos’ (Natalia Reyes) changes entirely when a terminator (Gabriel Luna) is sent back to kill her and her whole family. Grace (Mackenzie Davis), an enhanced human, is sent back to protect and get her to safety. Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) is dragged back into the fray to try and keep Dani alive in order to save the future.

Just when you think you’ve seen your last terminator sent back through time to pre-emptively murder the saviour of humanity, then another one shows up. Terminator: Dark Fate does the only sensible to try and rectify the franchise, it completely ignores that anything after T2 ever actually happened. Now blessed with a relatively clean slate the franchise is free to forget about Arnie in comedy glasses, Christian Bale screaming on set or mobile phones (or whatever the hell was going on in Genisys).

The new terminator aiming to end humanity’s hopes is a Rev-9, a model capable of splitting in two so you have a metal skeleton terminator and a flowing metal outer skin. It’s essentially the T1000 and the T800 (minus skin) and while it might sound like a gimmick it is really rather effective. One thing that was notable was that it was never really explained what the Rev-9 was or how it worked, we were just left to figure it out. For some reason that worked for me.

The melding of the old and the new worked really well, with Linda Hamilton on hand to not just hand the baton over to a new generation but instead beat the terminator to death with the baton and keep going. The Sarah Connor we meet is even more grizzled and world weary than you might expect for someone who averted the end of the world not once but twice. In her defence her son does get Hicks-ed fairly early on and that’s a tough thing to recover from.

This could have very easily been a cheap pastiche of the original, a remix of familiar elements played to a slightly different tune as a cash in. Instead what we get is something that respects what has gone before, which is more than can be said of anything bar the Sarah Connor Chronicles post-T2. Not only that but it builds on the existing movies to further develop the world and in the same way T2 left us hopeful for the future of humanity, Dark Fate leaves me hopeful that there is life in cyborgs beating each other senseless onscreen.

Terminator: Dark Fate really makes the most of the opportunity for a new start and gives a fresh and female-focused take on the franchise that is finally a worthy entry into the Terminator canon. It might sound like damning with feint praise but Terminator: Dark Fate is the best entry since T2.

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