Sometimes, in the movie industry, there must be a time when it seems that a certain pitch is just perfect. I imagine this is what happened when they arrived with Dark Fate. A Terminator film, that will not only pick up where the second film left off, but will also star Linda Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger. So it came as a surprise to me that this film was not the franchise saviour that it probably thought it was, but instead was just a complete re-hash of old ideas and themes that we have all seen so many times before. What a shame that with the two original leads on board, the writing and direction of this film is actually less effective than the first two films from decades ago.
The plot, super soldier Grace arrives from the future to protect Dani so she can save the future she has arrived from, is mind blowingly dull. Mackenzie Davis plays the augmented human Grace pursued through time by Gabrielle Luna as the Venom like robot killer, and despite all the hi tech effects, the characters are so 2 dimensional they become unrelatable. By the 3rd act, I neither cared nor was interested in who would live or die. ! was so disengaged from the story, and it’s repeat prescription plot, that I was passing the time watching the special effects and stressing over the plot holes.
Linda Hamilton, so iconic in T1 and 2, comes across as tired and underwritten. She has apparently spent the last few decades hunting down terminators that have been dropping in and out of our time line, and somehow, on her own, defeating them. Arnie has also somehow been assimilated into our time, and has become a curtain salesman, no honestly, while living a quiet life somewhere in Texas. Dani, our future salvation, loses her brother and father in the first act, and becomes targeted for death, but she adapts so quickly to her situation, that there is no real drama here. She learns to drive instantly and takes gun shooting lessons from Linda completely in her stride.
The terminator here has a new trick, being able to split into 2 separate entities when threatened, but a closer inspection of the robot and it’s properties fails to make sense. It is so powerful that with a more stealth laden attack, it could quite easily have taken out it’s target, and probably bring the world to the brink of destruction on it’s own.
With this being the 6th film in the series, it was easy to understand why the nostalgia gambit might have been too good not to attempt for this production, but the mistake was to make this a violent noisy and predictable remake, and there is nothing new for the audience. The performers do the best with the minimal silly story, but it’s so boring and over the top that it is all just noise and spectacle with no real characters or plot. Personally I feel a trick was missed here. A smaller budget and a more intense story would have helped this feature no end. To have Arnie and Linda in a cat and mouse battle with an enigmatic plot line would have sold itself much more than the action set pieces that are forced upon us in Dark Fate.
This is a complete wasted opportunity to recreate the flavour of the original film. Go ahead, watch the first movie again and see what a skilled writer and director can do with a smaller amount of money. All the crashing aeroplanes and gun fights in the world cannot disguise a boring premise, and ultimately Dark Fate is boring, predictable and lazy and worst of all, a waste of the talent they had on board.