Terminator: Dark Fate review – a sequel you can finally get excited about

For years, the Terminator franchise has created disappointing sequel after disappointing sequel. These films have not only failed to live up to the first and second Terminator movies but have tarred the image of the franchise as a whole. Even great actors like Christian Bale, Claire Danes and Emilia Clarke could not save them.

Consequently, you would be forgiven for assuming that the most recent addition to the franchise would be equally terrible. Thankfully though, this is not the case; it seems fans have finally gotten the sequel they’ve been dreaming of since Terminator 2: Judgement Day, even if it isn’t completely perfect.

© 2018 Skydance Productions and Paramount Pictures.

In Terminator: Dark Fate we see James Cameron, Linda Hamilton (Sarah Connor) and Arnold Schwarzenegger (The Terminator) team up once more to create a thrilling film full of action, humour and epic fight scenes. They are the trio who made the first and second films such a success, and they work their magic on this one as well.

From the get-go, audiences are treated to electrifying action scenes, with explosions, car chases and lots of gunfights. Within the first ten minutes, bodies are dropping, and they don’t slow down for the rest of the film. In other instances, such constant death might seem gratuitous, but in Terminator: Dark Fate these scenes add a much needed sense of tension and thrill. 

It’s all about girl power in this sixth instalment, with some truly talented leading ladies. While previous films were empowering, with Sarah Connor always being the baddest gal in town, she’s now backed up by Grace (Mackenzie Davis) and Dani (Natalia Reyes). The former is an enhanced soldier from the future, the latter our newest Skynet target (except Skynet doesn’t exist in this future, it’s now called Legion). Both women are fierce and funny, making for excellent entertainment.

The trio of women each brings a unique trait to the table, making their scenes particularly enjoyable. Sarah is knowledgable but bitter, angry at the world and everyone in it. The only exception being Dani, who she sees as a younger version of herself. Grace is confused, out of her time and element, but determined to complete her mission no matter what. Meanwhile, Dani offers a softer, more sensitive character, grieving her lost loved ones and attempting to build bridges between the other characters.

© 2018 Skydance Productions and Paramount Pictures.

While the dynamic between all the women is interesting, Grace’s interactions with Sarah are especially amusing, as we see these two strong women battle it out through sharp tongues and piercing glares to establish a top dog. It adds humour to otherwise serious and monotonous scenes, creating a lighter mood than in previous films. However, you get the feeling that Sarah isn’t winning in this battle to lead. Once a fearsome fighter with a pure heart, this bitter version just can’t keep up with Grace’s optimism and ferocious loyalty. I never thought I’d see Sarah Connor get bested in a fight, but I left the cinema feeling that’s exactly what I’d witnessed, and it didn’t feel good. Perhaps this was necessary, an example of youth overtaking the old, but Sarah Connor has always had a place in my heart and I’m not sure I could ever sit back and watch her be replaced.

Is Terminator: Dark Fate perfect? No. Is it as good as The Terminator or Terminator 2: Judgement Day? Once again, no. In all honesty, I’m not sure that’s possible. If such a sequel were to be made, it probably needed to happen immediately afterwards, not 28 years later. That said, this is certainly an entertaining film and the most successful sequel since the second film. All in all, it’s a success, with plenty of action scenes, some great comedy and enough Linda Hamilton to make a trip to the cinema worthwhile. 

Terminator: Dark Fate is out now.