Terminator: Dark Fate adds to the six-film long Terminator series

Ben Rotko, Staff Writer

Most people will agree that the Terminator franchise hasn’t produced a good movie since
Terminator 2: Judgement Day. Does Terminator: Dark Fate live up to its legendary
predecessors? No, but no one expected it to. Yet, it’s good enough that it offers a new path for
the Terminator franchise to explore.
Terminator: Dark Fate ignores the events of the third, fourth, and fifth Terminator films.
The plot follows Dani Ramos (Natalia Reyes) as she is attacked by a Terminator from the future,
a liquid metal killing machine known as the Rev-9, (Gabriel Luna). Also sent back in time is
Grace (Mackenzie Davis) an augmented human soldier of the resistance in the future. When
Grace and Dani go on the run, they’re rescued by the one and only Sarah Connor. Linda
Hamilton reprises her role and frankly, she’s not good in this part.

“[Sarah] was a really cool character, and it was awesome having a gun-toting, butt-
kicking female character like her,” said junior Emma Stylianos.

Arnold Schwarzenegger is back in Terminator: Dark Fate, but revealing his character
might spoil the plot. While his performance isn’t great, it is perfectly serviceable. Diego Boneta
also has a very fun minor role as Dani’s brother. He isn’t around much, but he and Natalia
Reyes have good chemistry together. The real standouts are Mackenzie Davis and Gabriel
Luna. Luna puts on an incredible performance. He doesn’t have many lines, but the few he has
are delivered with cunning intent oozing from every syllable. Most importantly, Luna is just
intimidating as the Rev-9. He sells the near-invincibility of the Rev-9. This new Terminator has a
special gimmick—it’s two-in-one. The metal skeleton can separate from the liquid metal exterior.
This is used to great effect in the film’s fight scenes.
“I liked how he maintained the same dead-serious facial expression throughout the whole
movie. It was really scary,” said junior Gavin Shaub.
Dark Fate was directed by Tim Miller of Deadpool. Terminator: Dark Fate, however, does
not impress viewers as much as Deadpool did. There are a few funny one-liners, but for every
joke that lands, one falls flat. Dark Fate is at its best during mid-level action scenes.
The best sequence in the film is the opening car chase in Mexico, hands down. That
being said, Dark Fate gets worse as it goes on. It peaks at the beginning and never reaches the
same heights. The second-to-last action sequence, involving a plane crash into an underwater
escape, isn’t done very well.

Many complain about the deluge of poor lighting, disorientating cinematography, and
underwhelming choreography. The story screeches to a halt, and the second unit takes over.
As we saw in Deadpool, Miller excels in mid-scale action sequences. Things like car
chases and henchmen brawls. Because of this, the opening car chase and second act Border
Patrol facility escape are the superior action scenes in the film. The plane scene felt like a
perfect sampler of the failings in modern action cinema. In addition, the film’s VFX don’t always
work. There’s an overuse of digital doubles in the action scenes. It’s understandable, the film
cost about $196 million. However, it can take the viewer out of the action a few times.
While Terminator: Dark Fate did not greatly impress fans, it did not surprise them. If you
like Terminator, or Arnold Schawarzzenegar, then you’ve probably already seen this one. It is
appreciated that Dark Fate centered female and Latina characters (half of the movie takes place
in Mexico and the U.S.-Mexico border). While the newest film of the series is not cinematic
mastery, it does highlight Mackenzie Davis and Gabriel Luna’s big break. Overall, while the
Terminator: Dark Fate is not stellar, it has some interesting aspects.