Gary Cruise’s review published on Letterboxd:
Terminator: Dark Fate is a direct sequel to T2 and follows Sarah Connor and a hybrid cyborg human who must protect a young girl from a newly modified liquid Terminator from the future.
Wow. Another terrible Terminator sequel. I’m so surprised... Seriously. Hollywood needs to give up on throwing out these big budget generic sequels to two of the greatest sci-fi films of all time. This one is quite possibly the worst one yet. At least the other three had their moments, some less than others, Dark Fate just fails on so many jarring levels. They had the perfect opportunity. They wiped out everything after T2, got the director of Deadpool on board, James Cameron producing and even returning cast members. But nope, us poor Terminator fans are back in the exact same position yet again with another disappointing sequel. This started out promising with a very brave move within the movie’s opening minutes that set it up for a way more exciting movie than we actually got. After this it goes straight into the over the top CGI heavy big budget action sequences that we’ve already seen in the previous three sequels before the movie comes to quite a dramatic stop in which absolutely nothing happens for such a long period of time and then we’re treated to more generic action sequences. This movie only received it’s 15/R Rating because of swearing. The various moments of CGI blood are nothing you can’t see in a PG-13/12A rated movie. This proves a point that I’ve been trying to put across since watching Hellboy earlier this year; just because a movie has an R Rating does not guarantee it being a good movie. The swearing is used amongst some of the worst and most unbelievable dialogue in any Terminator movie yet.
Okay let’s get this out of the way and talk about the only good thing in this movie. Linda Hamilton returns to her iconic role as Sarah Connor and is wasted in a dreadful movie. Hamilton steps back into the role like she’s never been away and genuinely gives her all during every single scene she’s in which truly stands out amongst everyone else’s performances that range from awful to mediocre. The mediocre is sadly the second returning star, Arnold Schwarzenegger as... Carl? Obviously the makers of this movie didn’t take any sort of feedback about over complicating Schwarzenegger’s character in the previous movies and therefore just making him look stupid because this movie just takes it to another level. I don’t want to spoil it to much but sure, Schwarzenegger does what he can with such a dumb version of his beloved character but there’s a good chance if you love the first two movies as much as I do, you won’t be able to look past this ridiculous change in character. The villain, portrayed by Gabriel Luna, is just straight up boring. Another liquid Terminator in the style of Robert Patrick’s T-1000 (but nowhere near as good) that has a new feature; he can spawn an awful looking CGI Terminator to help himself out a bit. There’s nothing to this character at all, he’s not intimidating, he lacks any sort of charm or charisma, he’s just ridiculously bland. As for the new protagonists, there’s nothing interesting to be found here and the performances are so damn bad. Natalia Reyes provides the worst performance of the movie as Dani Ramos who is essentially this movie’s John Connor. The big difference between Dani and John is it’s not too unrealistic to look at John in T2 and believe he could be this future soldier that has been hyped up but Dani doesn’t have anything like that in her and this could be mainly be due to the horrendous acting. Her line delivery just feels so forced and cringe worthy. Mackenzie Davis is not far behind Reyes in terms of performance in her role as Grace. She is so over the top and it results in her being entirely unlikeable. Her action sequences are so CGI heavy that it’s just off putting and looks so stupid.
I know I’ve already touched on this but it’s really bugging me. The Terminator does, admittedly, have some dates effects. For example, the eye surgery scene. However, it has more good effects than bad effects and the special effects in T2 are simply phenomenal and groundbreaking still to this day. This leaves me with one major question; how on earth does two films, one released in 1984 and one released in 1991, have better special effects than a movie released in 2019?! This just looks horrendous and not anywhere near as good as what can be achieved these days. Now, I don’t know if this is from a big budget not being big enough or any other issues that came about, but this just looks exactly like the special effects we’ve seen in the previous three sequels. Just bring something new to the table!! The chance was there, why waste it?! It wasn’t even violent either, if you’re trying to go for a similar tone to the first two movies then you’ve got to make it more violent and take more risks, not throw in a bit of CGI blood every now and then as an excuse for gore and violence! The cinematography is very messy. When the movie’s looking bright, it’s far too bright and just looks like a standard generic blockbuster movie and when it’s dark, it’s far too dark to the point you can’t even see what’s happening! The soundtrack brings back the original theme at times but that’s about as good as it gets. Other than that, it’s a bland and uninteresting score that just falls into the background a bit too much.
Overall, Terminator: Dark Fate is NOT The Force Awakens of the Terminator franchise and it is NOT on the same level as the first two movies as many people are saying. It’s just another bland, boring and generic Terminator sequel that brings nothing new to the table and wastes a great performance from Linda Hamilton as well as wasting the chance to finally set things right. Please make this the final entry in this franchise that started off with two masterpieces and went on to crash and burn dramatically.
💩 & 1/2 / 💩💩💩💩💩