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Doc Reviews Terminator Dark Fate

Updated: Dec 10, 2021

Welcome back you everyone. It is I, Doc Comeau and we are back for another movie review. Today we are reviewing the 2019 Terminator sequel Dark Fate. A movie I found on HBO Max and the internet was farely split on the level of quality or lack thereof this movie possesses. I tend not to like when characters are changed for no apparent reason, but I watched the film with no prior judgements for the sake of the film and I was pleasantly surprised.

 

Authored by Doc Comeau on Sunday, August 15th, 2021 at 8:52 PM EST

 
All Photos from IMDb
 

Plot


The idea of the Singularity or the point at which our technology reaches or surpasses the capacity of human intelligence is not a new concept. It has been the inspiration of many movies and television programs about self aware machines such as Data from Star Trek or Chapie from the movie Chapie, but none is more acclaimed than the fan favorite franchise the Terminator. Terminator, Dark Fate is the sixth flick in the Terminator franchise, but restarts the story after the second movie in a different future than the original third film.


For those of you who have not seen a Terminator movie for whatever reason the universe saw fit, it is the story of an Artificial Intelligence sending advance cybernetic assassins back through time to prevent the leaders of the human resistance from ever being born and those people or relatives having to race to stop an unstoppable death machine and prevent the Future War from ever happening.


Terminator, Dark Fate is no different in this regard. Without going into any spoilers it is essentially the story of a soldier from the future traveling back in time to protect the leader of the human resistance from a robotic assassin designed to infiltrate and murder. Each film has its own twist on this tale aside from Terminator Genisys which changed the story slightly and Terminator, Salvation which focused on the Future War. This film is nothing special in this category. It is simply the same exact narrative told in a slightly different sequence of events.

 

Film Credits

 
Tim Miller

This story was originally created by James Cameron and this screenplay was written by ​David S. Goyer, Justin Rhodes and Billy Ray. Terminator, Dark Fate was directed by Tim Miller. A director that made his first appearance by directing the Deadpool movie with Ryan Reynolds. He is also known for producing and creating Netflix's Love, Death & Robots and producing the Sonic the Hedgehog film. A film that also seen some fan backlash due to its shitty design of Sonic. A mistake they spent time fixing before they released the film to the public.


Linda Hamilton

Original Terminator target Sarah Conor returns with Linda Hamilton reprising her critically acclaimed role as mother of the resistance. In this film she is suffering from PTSD as a result of the events of the previous films and something that happens at the beginning of this one. A role that causes her to systematically hunt all remaining Terminators in her timeline.


Arnold Schwarzenegger

Arnold Schwarzenegger also returns to portray his role as a Terminator. Though like every Terminator movie he has starred in he is a different Cyberdyne Systems Model T-800 Terminator. This time he is a remnant of an altered future, just trying to add meaning to his missionless existance. A future altered by the events of the previous Terminator movies.



Mackenzie Davis

This time around the are joined by Mackenzie Davis. Davis portrays Grace a cybernetically enhanced human soldier sent from a new future where humanity is once again fighting for survival from self aware machines hell bent on exterminating all of humanity from the face of the earth. Like the other films she is sent back to keep a key member of the human resistance alive in order to fulfill their destiny to save humanity.

Natalia Reyes

Natalia Reyes joins the cast as Danni Ramos. Danni like Sarah in the original film and the Terminator Genisys is running for her life from a Terminator sent back in time to prevent her from fulfilling her role in humanity's survival. She is the subject of Grace's mission and a key factor in human survival during the Future War. She also serves as part of Linda Hamilton's overall story arc. I can't go into any more detail's without spoiling the film.


Gabriel Luna

Gabriel Luna joins the cast as this films Terminator. He is a Rev-9 model of Legion's machine army. Legion is the name of the new artificial intelligence that took the place of Skynet after Sarah and her son John prevent it from becoming a reality and preventing their version of the Future War. This terminator appears to be a combination of the metal exoskeleton of Arnols's T-800 model with the liquid metal exterior of the T-1000 from the second film.

 

Rotten Tomatoes Scores

 

Rotten Tomatoes has Terminator, Dark Fate Rated as a slightly greater than average film. The movies "Critic Score" sit at "70%" out of "346 reviews." Whereas the "Audience Score" is "82%" out of "10,000+ reviews" It is not uncommon for the critics to rate movies higher than the audience, but with the fan reaction to the replacement of John Conor with Danni I was sure it was going to have a lower audience score. However it seems that audiences really like this film and the "Critics" said it "represents a significant upgrade over its immediate predecessors, even if it lacks the thrilling firepower of the franchise's best installments."

 
"CRITICS CONSENSUS
Terminator: Dark Fate represents a significant upgrade over its immediate predecessors, even if it lacks the thrilling firepower of the franchise's best installments." - Rotten Tomatoes
 

My Rating

 

As always I can't explain my why I gave Terminator, Dark Fate the rating I did without spoiling the film. To accommodate those that like to avoid spoilers for movies they have not seen yet I will give you my rating here and you can avoid the rest of the review and the spoilers contained within. On my scale 1 is horrible and 10 is magnificent and I grade it by its story and screenplay, its dialogue and performances and its Cinematography. Based on this scale I would give Terminator, Dark Fate an 8 out of 10. It was a good film, worthy of the franchise name, but I had to deduct points for replacing the main hero for what seems like political reasons.

 
"Based on this scale I would give Terminator, Dark Fate an 8.4 out of 10. It was a good film, worthy of the franchise name, but I had to deduct points for replacing the main hero for what seems like political reasons." - Doc Comeau
 

Story and Screenplay

 

The story was a decent story. It begins not long after the second film with Sarah and John Conor the destined hero of the resistance eating out on at an outdoor food cart on the beach enjoying their victory against Skynet. While John stands up next to the cart a T-800 shows up and kills John unaware that is future had already been erased and vanishes. This leaves a distraught Sarah crying over her now dead son.


For me this is where I as a fan had an issue with the film. He was the fan favorite hero of the human resistance, instead of killing him in such a benign way was not worthy of the character's position and esteem within the franchise. Had they done this I probably would have watched this movie long before today, but since this is a critical review as a story it sets up the rest of the film perfectly. However, I had to deduct a point from the story's total points because when given a franchise this, coveted you should treat the material with more respect.


The rest of the story plays out quite like the originial two Terminator films. Grace makes her grand entrance with the traditional terminator opening sequence. This is where you get your first clue she is enhanced. She falls from a height and takes certain hits that should have killed her. She fights some crooked cops and steals their victims clothing and car befroe driving off into the night in search of Danni.


The movie then switches to Danni where we learn about her much like we did Sarah in the original film. We spend a typical day in her life in Mexico with her and get a true sense of what type of person she is. She puts her family first, sticks up for the helpless and genuinely wants to help and improve her community.


Then It introduces the new Rev-9 Model Terminator in much the same fashion as Grace with the exception that the Terminator made a much more stoic and skillfull landing from the height he appeared. He did a sort of backflip and hit that iconic superhero landing. Before going off in search of his intended target.

The Rev-9 and Grace catch up with Danni roughly at the same time and the fight for the future begins. Grace spends the next period of the film barely holding the Rev-9 at bay despite her enhanced abilities and desperately tries to keep Danni alive. A task she would have failed early on in the movie if they were not saved by Sarah, who managed to slow it down enough for them to escape based off of her training and experience throughout the series.


The group makes their introductions and work out their trust issues as they learn that Sarah has been receiving text messages that tell her where to find a newly arrived Terminator and the words for John from the same location Grace was told to go to for backup should she fail to kill the Terminator in their initial encounter. Intrigued by this information the group attempt to cross the Mexican Texas border to find out who or what this help may be. They are attacked by the Rev-9 one more time before finding the T-800 that killed John now going by the name Carl and taking care of a family of his own. This is where Sarah makes a complaint that they wanted her womb to birth a savior, which is a bit political in today's climate, but it makes sense for Sarah's experience up to this point.


Sarah and Carl argue a bit, but I would have preferred a fight, but they end up, allowing Carl to explain himself and create a plan to use Danni as bait to lure out the Rev-9 and destroy it once and for all. A plan Grace hates but goes along with at Danni's direction. The travel to a military acquaintance of Sarah's to get an EPM device to shut down the Rev-9.


They are attacked again and try to flee in a military cargo plane, but the Rev-9 follows them onto the aircraft where the best fight sequence of the entire film occurs. Sarah, Grace and Carl ninja around the now crashing airplane trying to stop the Rev-9 and get Danni into a vehicle with a parachute should she can escape. The managed to escape the plane and make it to the ground, but are cornered inside a turbine generator.


Force to make their stand the four of them desperately fight off the Rev-9 long enough to set off the device, but ultimately fail before the weapon gets destroyed in the fight. With fatal wounds from the battle Grace gives Danni her power source which can be used in the same manner as the EPM and Carl sacrifices himself to ensure the device ultimately fries both Carl's and the Rev-9s CPU and our remaining heroes ride out into the sunset.


The fan in me wanted to give the story of this film a 9 or a 10, but it lost a point for killing off the original savior of humanity in a mediocre manner, something the critic in me also didn't like. I also didn't need the whole feminism thing where Sarah complained women can't be heroes which her character herself should have known was not true. She is the most badass human in the franchise. I had to give this section of my review and 8 out of 10. It was an enjoyable film and these two factors didn't interrupt the flow of the story.

 
"I had to give this section of my review and 8 out of 10. It was an enjoyable film and these two factors didn't interrupt the flow of the story." - Doc Comeau
 

Performances and Dialogue

 

I will not bother discussing the performances of Linda Hamilton or Arnold Schwarzenegger. This is Arnold's fourth or fifth appearance as the T-800 model and Linda's third stint as Sarah Conor. I have already discussed the slight differences in the characters and even with those additions the dynamic was the same as the previous films. There was no signifigant deviation from the characters dialogue, behavior and motivations outside the already established parameters for their characters. There was no significant deviation from the characters' dialogue, behavior or motivations outside the already established parameters for their characters. There was no growth in Arnald's character as we know they can grow attached to people and adapt and Sarah while she came to terms with Carl's actions by the end of the film, she went on a feminist rant that was neither warranted or appropriate to the character or the film.


Grace the next hero sent from the future to ensure the existence of the resistance was also not a real deviation of the original concept and films. The main difference is her cybernetic enhancements, something that would be contrary to what we know about human behavior. In a world fighting for survival against cybernetic machines, no intelligent human would ever do such a thing. However, Mackenzie Davis knocks it out of the park. Ultimately, she is the adopted younger sister of the leader of the human resistance, enhanced and sent to ensure that she survived in order to protect the future of humanity. A role Davis portrayed perfectly. Despite being a soldier her love and affection for Dane was felt throughout the film. However, at the end of the day she is essentially no different the character Kyle Reese from the original movies. A relative sent back in time to preserve and create the Timeline a circumstance where the human resistance was winning a war for survival


Danni's character was not really different than her predecessor John Conor aside from being a female now, which based on dialogue from Sarah seems to be nothing more than a feminist tirade on the fictional belief, there are no strong female action heroes despite the character being a strong female action hero from a time when sexism was still a problem. Something I can only assume was a political message that could have worked had it been woven into the story and not placed on top against the established flow of the franchise. Political messages in movies can work if they are truly built into the narrative and not at the expense of established character development. However, again Natalia Reyes hits a home run on her performance. Despite people thinking she never had the upbringing to be the leader of the resistance like John Conor she displayed the qualities of a leader in her community during her introduction and her military prowess were nothing more than following the example of Sarah. In the end, though the she is the same as John and the sequel feels more like a remake for political reasons.


Even the new Terminator, the Legion Model Rev-9 was not a significant deviation from the other models of Terminator. He was able to mimic the human personality much better and was a combination of a liquid metal armor with internal endoskeleton this is no different from the T-X model of Rise of the Machines, the third film in the franchise. Only real difference was the ability to separate and exist as both at the same time. I really enjoyed that and Gabriel Luna did a perfect job bringing the murder machine to life, but at this point in a franchise there really should have been a twist like Genisys where John became the Ultimate Terminator and Kyle Reese and Sarah Conor had to stop him and actually fight the Artificial Intelligence that was Skynet and not an external automaton.


Ultimately, despite this film essentially being a remake of the film into and all female empowerment film all the actors did excellent in their roles. However, the commonalities in the characters and motivations and the unjustified feminist rant in the dialogue made me have to deduct points. When you go wake you usually go broke, but despite that this film manages to still be an enjoyable film that could have been much more political and had all the building blocks of that being the intended plans. I would have to give the performance and dialogue a 7 out of 10. I would have been an 9 but because the narrative throughout the film franchise has featured women of worth and muster, I had to deduct a point for failure to understand the source material or forcing your own beliefs on the audience at the expense of the project and a point for not deviating from the established plot pattern.

 
"I would have to give the performance and dialogue a 7 out of 10. I would have been an 9 but because the narrative throughout the film franchise has featured women of worth and muster, I had to deduct a point for failure to understand the source material or forcing your own beliefs on the audience at the expense of the project and a point for not deviating from the established plot pattern." - Doc Comeau
 

Cinematography

 

This is where this movie shines. With most epic blockbusters of this caliber no expense was spared with regards to the special effects in this movie and they were perfectly blended together with the scene filming and transitions. For instance, there was that fight inside the plane, where Sarah, Carl and Grace were fighting Rev-9 as they're attempting to float around a falling plane as if they were in space without gravity. The scenes that created this sequence were well choreographed and executed and the there was no point you could tell that it was shot using Green Screen and CGI. Sometimes little imperfections in the effects can pull you from the immersion of the story and that did not happen here.


The sound, camera and edit crew did a fantastic job with this film. They should all be commended at the level of expertise in the creation of this film. Another who has ever watched a B or C rated flick knows that equipment can sometimes make or break a performance just has a performance can outshine film quality. I would have to give this area a 10 out of 10. There is not a single flaw I found in the cinematography.

 
"I would have to give this area a 10 out of 10. There is not a single flaw I found in the cinematography." - Doc Comeau
 

Conclusion

 

Even with the forced political message and lack of deviation from the same old formula the franchise has revived move than 4 times at this point, this is a phenomenal film. If you are a fan and avoided this due to the controversy I would say go watch this film immediately.You will not like everything but you will not be unhappy with the flick. All movie or action movie fans would also enjoy watching this masterpiece. If you have HBO Max there is no reason not to watch this film. Thank for reading and I will see you in the next one.

 

References


1) Goyer, D. S., Rhodes, J., & Ray, B. (2019). Terminator Dark Fate. HBO Max. https://www.hbomax.com/.


2) IMDb.com. (2019, November 1). Terminator: Dark fate. IMDb. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt6450804/.


3) Terminator: Dark FATE (2019). Rotten Tomatoes. (n.d.). https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/terminator_dark_fate.


4) IMDb.com. (n.d.). Tim Miller. IMDb. https://www.imdb.com/name/nm1783265/?ref_=tt_ov_dr.




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