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The Future Isn’t What It Used to Be: Looking Back at Terminator Dark Fate

Robert J. Sodaro is an American born writer, editor, and digital graphic artist, who loves writing about comics, movies, and literature.

Terminator: Dark Fate

Arnie and Linda are back in the Terminator franchise.

Arnie and Linda are back in the Terminator franchise.

Just like that, it's 1984 all over again.

Back in 1984, with the first Terminator film, we saw a young, plucky Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) — with the help of Sergeant Kyle Reese (dog tag number DN38416) from the future — managed to stop the first terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) from killing Sarah, and stopping the hellish future precipitated by the dawning of Skynet (Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines). Unfortunately, shortly after siring John Connor — who was to become the leader of the resistance — Kyle (Michael Biehn) died in that first film (he go on to “reappeared” in a number of the sequels — albeit in the form of different actors) even while stopping the threat of both the Terminator himself, as well as the horror of Skynet. As we now know, it’s especially hard to change the future, as it keeps mutating, which four other films taught us.

Here come the machines

The war has begun (again).

The war has begun (again).

Welcome to the multiverse

All of which brought us to 2019, where we learned that a multiverse was an option (Technically, we learned that in 2017 with Terminator Genisys, but that’s a very different review), and that there were still future stories to tell. This time, the film starts out when Sarah was detained and being questioned (back in Judgement Day) then flashed forward a few years to find Sarah and John on the beach in Baha, where a terminator (Brett Azar standing in for a young Schwarzenegger) walks up and kills young John. From here, we move to Mexico City in 2020, where we meet Dani Ramos (Diego Boneta) and her family who are being tracked by a new REV-9 Terminator (Gabriel Luna). Fortunately, Dani also acquires her own protector in the form of Grace (Mackenzie Davis) an enhanced human from the future who was sent back to protect Dani from the REV-9.

Terminator: Dark Fate: DVD

She came back!

The action ramps up fairly quickly with the REV-9 tracking Dani and her brother to the factory where they work in an attempt to kill her. The attempt is thwarted by Grace who begins to shoot up and trash the place big-time as she wipes the floor with him, ultimately (briefly) stopping him when Diego (Dani’s brother) crushes him in a machine press. Dani and Diego then flee the plant with Grace in a high-speed, thrill-a-minute, nail-biting, edge-of-your-seat chase sequence reminiscent of the one from T2. Winding up with an appearance from (da-da-da-dah!) Sarah Connor herself (with Hamilton reprising her role as Connor) appearing to blow the living crap out of the REV-9 in one of the coolest sequences of the film.

Here comes the boom!

She's here to kick ass and take names.

She's here to kick ass and take names.

Action aplenty

The rest of the film is more of the high-powered chase, attack and fight sequences that have come to expect and thoroughly enjoy in this long-running franchise. Needless to say, — as usual — while this incarnation is also layered with a sizeable dollop of hope for the future and faith in mankind’s ability to feel, emote, and have compassion for others (even if the powers that be, continue to somehow believe that our future is better defined by building bigger and better killing machines). The film also offers one last redemption for the Schwarzenegger Terminator, who once again comes to the rescue of this new John Connor.

Terminator: Dark Fate - Official Trailer (2019) - Paramount Pictures

The battle continues

Another very cool sequence is when Sarah comes face-to-face with the Schwarzenegger/Terminator that actually did wind up killing John. Carl (what the Terminator currently calls himself) then explains to everyone, including Sarah, that after eliminating John, there were no further orders from Skynet, leaving him aimless. All of this changed when he ran across Alicia and her infant son, Vicente. According to Carl, Alicia was being abused by her husband, and Carl defended her, eventually adopting her son, and coming to learn what he took away from Sarah by killing John. So, he spent the next 25 years tracking and texting Sarah as to the appearances of new Terminators, which instructions to eliminate them, “For John” which she then packed up her gear and headed out to dispatch them with extreme prejudice.

There's a new protector on the block

Grace this way comes...

Grace this way comes...

Kyle Reese

“One possible future. From your point of view. I don't know tech stuff.”

Here's where it all changed

There have been those who decried this film because it essentially wipes out whatever previously established continuity of the Terminator films three through five and placing itself as the de-facto sequel of the second film. Interestingly enough, this very possibility was actually suggested in the very first film, when Sarah questioned Kyle about his world, and the future, where he responded that he came from (and we quote) “One possible future. From your point of view. I don't know tech stuff.”

These women are hardcore

You don't want to make these women mad.

You don't want to make these women mad.

The dawn of Genisys

And there it is. This film, along with its version of the future was predicted and actually set up in that first film, hence, anyone who wants to dispute its validity as an integral and legitimate part of the story, should step to the back of the theater, sit down and keep their uninformed opinions to themselves. Because clearly Skynet (Genisys or whatever it morphed into) would cover its bets by sending back several terminators into multiple points in the past to make sure the job was properly done.

There's more than one terminator

Once again, it's Arnie to the rescue.

Once again, it's Arnie to the rescue.

Terminator film poll

Meet Dani Ramos

The fate of the world lies in here hands.

The fate of the world lies in here hands.

All reboots aren't the same

The film itself holds together well, supporting its premise, and holding our attention throughout its 128-minute runtime. So, yes, it was fun to see both Hamilton and Schwarzenegger back in their iconic roles, standing strong and kicking ass. Further, we found it not only a very intriguing way to restore life into an aging film franchise but a refreshingly novel concept as well. In recent years we’ve seen reboots of other long-time series (Star Trek, Mad Max, Rocky/Creed, Planet of the Apes, Conan, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Hellboy, The Mummy, Transporter), some worked, others didn’t.

REV-9

Two Terminators for the price of one.

Two Terminators for the price of one.

Are there terminators to come?

We believe that this reboot succeeds where others didn’t. While your milage may differ, it is our considered opinion that Dark Fate (as well as Genisys) is/are a worthy successor(s) to the Terminator franchise, and well worth watching.

Just a song before we go...Easter Eggs in the film(s)