A sequel that spoils the original film doesn’t really deserve a spoiler warning and that’s exactly what Terminator: Dark Fate does. Imagine if there was a Back To The Future sequel where Marty is dead and a very old Doc and Jennifer piss around travelling through time with a random girl you’ve never seen before and couldn’t care less about. This is exactly what the latest Terminator movie is like; it opens with an extremely offensive scene whereby everything that occurred in The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day is made pointless. Opening in 1998 in Guatemala, Sarah Connor and her son John Connor sit in an idyllic beach-side bar and then suddenly, out of nowhere, a T-800 Terminator shows up and assassinates John. The fact that the August 4th, 1997 “Judgment Day” was thwarted by the events in T2, you wonder what the point of this was (both for the Terminator in the scene and the film-makers responsible for this perversion). With such destruction of the Terminator legend, anything that follows is completely dispiriting making the 120 minute run-time an extremely disheartening viewing.
Never have I seen a sequel shit on its predecessor in such a way. Franchises such as Halloween may have changed some of the character’s relationships but at no point did they make a sequel where Michael Myers was retroactively killed off and some random person called Dave took over the storyline. If you’re a fan of the first two Terminators (and if you’re watching this film at the cinema in all likelihood you are) you’re essentially paying to watch something that undoes all the enjoyment of the past. This movie takes your beloved memories and drags them through the post-apocalyptic, alternative-future mud.
There’s badly realised CGI (particularly in the de-aged opening which looks like a crap deepfake), a complete lack of star quality, very poor action, and generally shitty direction and editing; basically Terminator: Dark Fate is a horrendous film in every way. Similar to Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines, there’s also a few jokes at the expense of the T-800, in this case his nickname “Carl” and his drapery business (WTF?). Shockingly, in the end credits it states that the story was co-written by James Cameron and although he’s said in numerous interviews that this film has nothing to do with him creatively, one of the worst ideas (an ageing Terminator with a job, a wife, and a child) is down to him! What Cameron should have done is read the first few pages of the script, seen how this shitfest begins and shredded the fucking thing. But alas, as he continues in his quest to make five unwanted Avatars, he’s seemingly abandoning two classic films that put him where he is. It’s strange how he’s so aloof to his literal dream being raped; in a decade or so I hope some hack takes Avatar and makes a sixth film that pisses all over Avatar 1 to 5 (without the courtesy of calling it rain). Hey, the way James Cameron has acted of late, he might even produce the fucking thing.
Instead of John Connor, in Dark Fate we have Dani Ramos (played by Natalia Reyes) the new female, Latino saviour of the human race. A female, augmented, hybrid-cyborg-human protector named Grace (played by Mackenzie Davis) is sent back to save her and she’s helped by Sarah Connor (played by Linda Hamilton) and a T-800 (played by Arnold Schwarzenegger) as a liquid metal, T-X-esque Latino Terminator known as Rev-9 (played by Gabriel Luna) tries to kill them all.
With so much of the first act set south of the border, complete with all the characters speaking Spanish, it’s like watching Telemundo. With a group of white men responsible for writing and directing this turd, I assume they thought it was a good idea to add women and Latinos in some kind of attempt at being inclusive. The irony is that women and Latinos aren’t involved in the creation of this shite and most of that demographic would have preferred The Terminator franchise to be left the fuck alone. As a minority myself, the one thing that really pisses me off is a white man who is so obviously a fake liberal trying to look likes he’s relevant and reformist. All we wanted was for less whitewashing and more original roles for women and ethnic minorities in Hollywood, not for us to be crow-barred into trash reboots and sequels so a bunch of peckerwoods can feel good about themselves. Watching a film like this feels like someone is patting you on your back and saying “look, we’re not discriminatory or bigoted” even though they quite clearly are.
Aside from the forced-diversity, the plot is also nonsensical. There’s an “enhanced” human who is apparently sent back from 2032 to save Dani but with her short bursts of energy and a reliance on medications and injections (that aren’t readily available in 2019 without a prescription) it’s like sending a diabetic nut allergy sufferer back in time to save Jesus from the crucifixion. And speaking of the Bible, for some unknown reason, Skynet has been replaced with something called Legion which is unbelievable and sounds utterly daft. And why is it preferable to have a liquid metal Terminator with an internal metal skeleton over a completely liquid metal Terminator such as the T-1000? As far as I can tell, there’s absolutely no benefit to this (apart from alluding to the T-X in the third film and to have two Gabriel Lunas pratting about in one scene). This reminds me of the Child’s Play reboot; why take something straightforward and needlessly complicate it until the concept itself becomes less believable and less logical?
From the D-list actors, the B-movie effects, the sham-inclusive plot, to the poster which has the aesthetics of a Bollywood movie, Dark Fate is yet another terrible Terminator film that isn’t in any way a worthy successor to the first two movies. Because of the lack of star quality and the fact that Tim “hack” Miller can’t coax a decent performance out of any of the actors, you have zero emotional attachment to the characters and therefore their plight and outcome doesn’t concern you one bit. The plot also includes the saviour of the human race sending her best-friend-slash-adopted-child back in time to die (so that she can live) which makes the central “hero” a bit of a cowardly, self-centred twat. Basically, the entire storyline is lacklustre and wearisome. After watching this garbage, you wish you could wipe your memory banks clean, go back to the early nineties and watch the first two movies.
There’s endless references to the original films in Terminator: Dark Fate but they are oddly followed by a corny self-aware joke: “There’s no fate but what we make”… “Fuck fate!”… “I’ll be back”… “I won’t be back”… please just fuck off! Driving away in a Jeep during the final scene, the song “Guitars, Cadillacs” by Dwight Yoakam playing during a BBQ, a T-800 sacrificing himself by falling to his death, almost everything harks back to the original films but given the appallingly insulting opening, you wonder why the writers bothered since they obviously don’t care about the near-flawless movies that came before. Someone needs to send a Terminator back in time to stop these sequels from being made because a bunch of pricks (Tim Miller, David S. Goyer, Justin Rhodes, and Billy Ray) have well and truly fucked the legacy of two classic sc-fi movies.
I’ll Never Be Back.