Review: Terminator Dark Fate
When a film from 2019 has it's CGI surpassed by X-Men, you know that's going to be a problem.
I went in to this film with the expectation of it being terrible and for me, it was. On a bizarre note, I still suggest you go and see it because as always, this is only my opinion and you are different to me.
On a regular basis I see people on social media posting those ’20 questions about me’ surveys, you know the ones – have you ever been made to be the little spoon, have you been arrested, what film is your favourite? Highly important questions. One of the most common questions on these ‘surveys’ is ‘what was the first x-rate / 18 certificate film you saw’.
I was fairly late to the 18 certificate scene with me seeing Die Hard when I was about 14, or so I thought; this is what I’ve told people on the past and in all fairness, it was what came to mind. I have since had a revelation.. Our weed smoking, canal boat living, English teacher shagging art teacher once let us watch Terminator 1! We were in Year 7 and the Christmas break was upon us, our one hour art lesson was to finish off a project (no doubt drawing our shoe?!) but as a treat we could have a film and in this case, that was Terminator 1 (because of course it was).
Terminator 1 scared the hell out of me, the unstoppable nature of the robot mixed with the amazing endoskeleton of the T-800 / Model 101 played to the worst parts of my brain. I didn’t want to stop watching yet at the same time I felt pure dread whenever the Terminator got back up and carried on with its mission.
Shortly after watching Die Hard, I somewhat got in to 18 certificate films and enjoyed all the classics: Alien, Aliens, Critters and most importantly, Terminator 2. For me, the terror of the first still existed and and I was ready to see what terrifying ordeal could occur now. It didn’t disappoint.
Both films had (Terminator 1 more so) used live action and physical effects to their benefit. When you physically see the T-800 then it was likely a full size replica and left you with no doubt that it was real. The best way to describe this is with space films and as normal, I’ll go for Star Trek to help this. The original Star Trek films used a physical model when it came to things like the Enterprise or Space Dock whilst Discovery (my least favourite of the franchise) used only CGI.. Which makes you believe the ship exists more?
Although Terminator 2 introduced a lot more CGI, a large portion of the effects were also physical, again leaving you without a doubt that what you were seeing on screen, existed.
Why am I telling you all of this? Well, here comes the review..
There are so many things wrong with this film that it’s hard to know where to start so for the sake of common sense, I’ll try and go chronologically with the film. I will say that Luna Gabriel, as floored as his Terminator is, plays the role magnificently and obviously took a lot from Robert Patrick’s portrayal of the T-1000.
We are greeted by footage from Terminator 2 and in particular, when Sarah is being interviewed by the Doctor she later threatens to inject with Bleach. This is the best part of the movie (excluding the end titles) as it has nothing to do with the Dark Fate. Sadly, this doesn’t last and we are taken to a re-created beach scene of Terminators coming out of the sea to start killing more humans. Sounds cool doesn’t it? Well it isn’t, I have seen CGI executed better in early X-Men films compared to this.
Did I say there were spoilers in this review? Oh good. John Connor now gets killed by a T-800 whilst chatting up a teenage girl at the bar with Sarah watching. We’re treated to some poor and very Uncanny Valley de-aging of Sarah, John and the T-800. This whole scene is there to serve us a middle finger – Sarah has let her guard drop and taken John on holiday without any worries in the world. It’s so completely out of character with what he know of Sarah! We see them driving to the mountains to start setting up a potential resistance not think about a fucking beach break. Yes, they’d stopped Judgement Day but Sarah’s monologue leaves you with no doubt she is expecting things to get worse.
The story then heads to modern day where we get Mackenzie Davis appearing in the middle of a freeway bridge and no, I don’t mean in the middle of the road. She burns a giant fucking hole in the road before falling from a great height. We’re treated to some ‘updated’ visuals before she then beats the hell out of some innocent police officers.. OK, they drew a weapon on her but the scene is so poorly thought out that it doesn’t really make a difference. Let’s take you through what should have happened:
Police Officer: Why is your friend naked, bloody and unconscious?
Couple: She just fell from the bridge, we think she’s hurt
Police Officer: What? She fell from the bridge? Seriously?
Couple: Yes, look. There’s a great big fucking hole she burnt through it.
Police Officer: Whoa, shit. That should be looked in to before a car comes crashing through it.
You know what? This review will take years off of my life if I keep going scene by scene so instead, please enjoy this break down (not mine, honest).
New future hope is showed with brother. Immediately gives audience idea she is maternal type with how she looks after her brother and father.
New Terminator turns up and kills her father reminiscent of T2 when the T-1000 looks for John.
New future hope is angry as her brother has been replaced by machine.
Terminator turns up looking like Father, gets beaten down by Mackenzie Davis.
Terminator can also now make a gun out of liquid metal.
Chase scene from Terminator 3 makes an appearance.
New Terminator is shown to have Endoskeleton AND is also liquid metal.
Sarah turns up and spoofs the ‘I’ll be back line’ after kicking the arse of the new Terminator.
Good guys excluding Sarah run away, Sarah gets pissed.
Good guys rob a drug store as apparently our super soldier (Mackenzie Davis) sucks if she doesn’t win the first battle.
Sarah catches them, explains everything including that she’s been hunting Terminators based on texts from an anonymous person. Yes, Sarah Connor has a smart phone, something Sarah from T2 would never ever have.
Lots of chases and near misses including escaping from Border Patrol Prison.
We now find that the Terminator that killed John has developed a fucking consciousness and conscience, has got a partner and kid and called himself Carl. Fucking Carl the draper.
A terrible A-Team movie-esque Airplane moment and parachuting Humvee.
The final battle which thankfully kills Mackenzie Davis to allow them to kill the New Terminator.
Carl dies doing the final kill on the new Terminator.
There are gaps in story above but seriously, you should probably have stopped reading when the T-800 explains that he is now called Carl and cares about the world. Apparently after killing John, he didn’t have any orders so went on a drapery course, joined Tinder and then decided to help Sarah bring meaning to her life.
I’m so angry having to write that.
I did think the new terminator design was novel albeit a stupid name. I can see why they did this with Cyberdyne no longer existing so why would it be called a T-whatever the number is now. I liked the idea of having what is in effect a slave drone that the liquid Terminator could leave, I just didn’t like it enough to accept ninja style jumping and super speed.
The film suffers from poor CGI, an awful story and worst of all, bills itself as the true sequel to T2, a film that never required a sequel. Mackenzie Davis’s character is floored and only exists to allow the film to end. Sarah Connor and the legacy she creates is destroyed horribly by rewriting of the saga’s time line. The T-800 should NEVER be called Carl and develop human traits. This film just should not exist.