FILM UNFILTERED – ‘Terminator Dark Fate’ is a disappointment

FILM UNFILTERED – ‘Terminator Dark Fate’ is a disappointment

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The last time the legendary filmmaker James Cameron was directly involved with a “Terminator” film was for his sequel to the 1984 classic, “Terminator 2: Judgment Day.” The franchise has languished over the last decade or more with three other sequels, each seemingly worse than the last. Now Cameron is back in a producer role and a story credit on an otherwise overfilled script with upward of four responsible writers. That alone should send up flares when five names are attached to the story.

The story this time around is not very new either. This “Terminator Dark Fate” is just another example of franchises being run into the ground by multimedia conglomerates that care less about a good storyline than they do profit.

In what may be one of the most abhorrent retcons in film, “Dark Fate” elects to go down a very extreme path and in essence nullifies the two original and best films. Thus, moving forward for the remainder of the film, they have reset and re-cast most of the same plot from the original. The evil artificial intelligence sends back a Terminator and the resistance sends back a soldier to attempt to stop the cyborg assassin. This should all sound very familiar as it’s almost deja vu-like watching this play out. In this new concoction, the evil Terminator is played by Gabriel Luna and is best quantified as two terminators in one since it’s a liquid over a metal frame but both can operate independently from each other.

Its prey is Dani Ramos (Natalia Reyes) and the protector sent back to shield her is Grace played by Mackenzie Davis. Grace is mostly human albeit a highly modified one. I don’t want to give too much away. When the two seem in ultimate peril, Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) shows up to be gruff, brooding and angry. Eventually Arnold Schwarzenegger also reappears but to speak too much about his role would spoil plot points. This is a very mediocre, fast-paced action film but regrettably it doesn’t bring anything new to the table. It completely copies the original plot but has now made it more agreeable to a pickier audience especially in regards to casting.

Returning alumni Hamilton and Schwarzenegger are great, and the newcomers are great too but sadly the storyline is redundant and tepid and the whole film seems like an excuse to blow things up and destroy stuff through varying degrees of weaponry. There’s very little emotion or humanity here and that’s what made the first two films so special. This whole movie plays out like “Skynet” watched the previous five movies and attempted to create its own version.

I don’t want to imply that Cameron was just offered a dump truck of money to attach himself to this project; but it has that odor to it. Tim Miller who definitely has an eye for directing action films isn’t to blame here; heck, his job of corralling all of this together is applaudable. But sadly, this is just another lame retread and slap in the face of one of the most memorable sci-fi movies ever. Everyone associated with this should be ashamed of themselves for putting this out for public consumption. It’s really a pity that this gets such a wider release over more original films.

The film is rated R.

“Terminator: Dark Fate” stars from left, Natalia Reyes, Mackenzie Davis and Linda Hamilton.