The Terminator Franchise is back with the release of Dark Fate dropping in the UK today.
Throughout this, we’ll be breaking down everything that you need to know about the new film as well as it’s ending. We’re also going to be discussing whether this is the franchises’ Salvation or if it’s given it a Dark Fate.
There will be heavy spoilers here so if you haven’t seen the movie yet and don’t want anything ruined then I highly recommend that you turn off now.
With that out the way, I just wanna give a huge thank you for clicking this. Now let’s get into our breakdown of Terminator Dark Fate!
Terminator Dark Fate Plot Recap
Ok so for a guy that said he hated that Alien 3 killed off Newt and Hicks because it crapped on the franchise, James Cameron sure likes to contradict himself. This is because Dark Fate opens with John Connor being murdered with a shotgun at a beach bar in Guatemala right infront of Sarah. It’s quite a big slap in the face and for someone that’s been waiting for a supposed real sequel to Terminator 2 for almost 30 years, this really annoyed me. It’s cheap, out of the blue and doesn’t feel like a proper send off for a character that we’ve come to love.
Now it is revealed in the film that Skynet was destroyed and that Sarah and John did manage to stop Judgement day, however, before it’s collapse Skynet sent back several Terminators and this one had been hunting John for a while, eventually catching up to him there. The future has changed though and in the place of Skynet, a new AI has risen known as Legion that is an anti-terrorist program. In the future, it causes an electronic blackout worldwide and then wipes out the majority of humanity with nukes before hunting the rest with Terminators.
Future leader of the resistance Dani has sent back one of her closest friends, Grace, and enhanced human to protect herself and whilst all of this is revealed later in the movie, I thought I’d drop it here just to set the stage for what’s to come.
The New Leader Of The Resistance
Now after the John Connor death scene we cut to Dani and her family in present day. After going to work with her brother, a new Terminator known as the Rev-9 lands in her apartment block, kills her father, takes his form and then travels to where she works to assassinate her.
The Rev-9 is different from the normal kind of terminator because it’s actually comprised of two parts, a liquid shell that can move, create weapons and morph and a solid skeleton structure beneath that is similar to the T-800. It also has far more emotional range than the typical machine and can interact with people on a human level making it far better at interaction.
Grace intercepts the Terminator and together they escape to a highway with the Rev in hot pursuit. Now this action scene really sets the pace of the movie and whilst it’s all stuff that we’ve seen before, when Sarah Connor returns to save the group, she really lights up the screen and it’s a testament to Linda Hamilton’s charisma of just how much she nails this role.
The Rev-9 manages to kill Dani’s brother but with the help of Connor, Grace and Dani are able to commandeer her car and escape. We learn that Grace has a very high metabolism that allows for short burst of energy which is perfect for tackling Terminators but in the long run, this can lead to prolonged fatigue and powerlessness. Connor manages to catch up with them and it’s revealed that she knew about the Terminator coming for Dani because she receives encrypted text messages from an unknown source that informs her of co-ordinates that attacks will happen at. She trusts these because they are signed off ‘For John’ and after Grace hacks her phone she is able to determine the location of the texts which also lines up with co-ordinates that she has had tattooed on her body.
This takes the group to Texas and it’s very much a game of cat and mouse the entire way with the Rev-9 constantly one step behind them, using Dani’s digital footprint to track her across the border. We get an awesome scene at a border detainment camp but ultimately for me, the action felt a bit hollow due to the overuse of CGI and special effects that stripped the scenes of any real gravitas. I don’t know what it is but I feel like the longer the series has gone on, the more that each version has tried to invent a new cooler Terminator and it just keeps trying to go up and up and up when at it’s core, the original design is still the most intimidating one. Just something about that cold, unfeeling machine stays with you and giving it a personality as we see with the Rev-9 just takes away the horror element for me.
Now eventually the group get to the co-ordinates and discover the Terminator that killed John all those years ago. He has now taken on the name Carl and after completing his mission he began to learn from humanity and decided to settle down with a girlfriend and her son. After becoming attached to the boy he realised what he had taken from Sarah and due to his conscience has decided to help her. Yeah, it’s another one of those that I really think the audience will struggle with, especially the die hard fans, however, Arnold does a great job at least of delivering his lines and next to Linda Hamilton he has a positive influence on the film even if some of the logic leaps sound stupid.
They decide that the best way to kill the Rev-9 is to pile together as many weapons as they can and create a kill box. They also think that an EMP will come in handy and Sarah calls on her military contacts to get one. This takes them to an airport base where the Rev-9 intercepts them and after taking to the air, the group is brought down by the machine which makes them crash land at a dam. Even though they have no weapons or anything and Grace is on her last legs, they decide that this is the best time to create the kill box and in the machine room, they fight the Rev-9.
Now for some reason, the Rev tries to barter with Carl because they have been in each other’s shoes and he just wants the girl and he will let them go or something? Yeah, it’s really stupid and just makes no sense.
Terminator Dark Fate: Ending Explained
Anyway, they manage to destroy the Rev-9 by throwing him into a hydro pump which strips of one layer of it’s skin and Grace sacrifices herself in order to allow Dani to pull her power cell out which she jams into the Terminator. The Rev-9 tries to kill Dani but Carl steps in, grabs the machine and pulls him down a pit where they are both destroyed by the exploding power cell.
In the end, Dani and Sarah set off together and the movie closes with Dani looking over Grace as a child before Sarah says that if she wants to save her then she has to be ready. This kinda doesn’t make sense because she will still ultimately need to send her back which she knows will lead to her death but the two drive off together, into the future, preparing for what’s to come.
There’s no post-credits scene and yep, another terrible Terminator film.
Terminator Dark Fate Review
But what did I think of Dark Fate overall? Well, yet again it feels like another entry in the franchise that is frustrating at points due to it’s inability to really live up to it’s full potential. I went in with very low expectations and still ended up disappointed which is just, this is it, I no longer care about the series. This is the third attempt at a new Terminator Trilogy and at this point, it just seems like no studio can truly deliver a worthy successor to the first two films.
There’s a lot of logic leaps and things that really do my head in are that the Rev-9 can split in two but it rarely does this during opportunities where it would be useful. There are several instances where it could have easily killed Dani had it seperated but the machine refuses to do so because of Dani.
There’s also John Connor’s death, which, though I don’t want to keep going on about really just wrecked the film for me. It also strips this film of any real importance because, if the saviour of mankind can change and does then what is the point in saving Dani. Just let me die and another hero can pop up.
I know James Cameron has said that the Marvel movies are getting in the way of cinema but I would much rather watch 22 more MCU films than have another Terminator movie that is this bad.
I don’t want to keep ripping into the film so I will talk about some of the positives, though there were few.
So Arnie has always been a major factor in the Terminator Franchise, making appearances in every film in some form or another since it’s inception, the true star of this movie is Linda Hamilton who feels like the missing ingredient from the prior entries. She is by far the best part of the movie and watching her blast through action scene to action scene is definitely the film’s strong point.
Now the film does take several risks both narratively and character-wise, relegating a couple of the series fan favorites in place of new ones. Though the film achieves this in some respects it also falls short slightly with Natalia Reyes who plays the new savior of mankind looking pale in comparison to Hamilton when sharing the screen with her.
Now if you were worried that this would be too woke for its own good then you’ll be happy to know that I don’t feel like the movie forces it’s message on us and though things like certain settings are clear comments on modern society, they aren’t heavy-handed in a way that makes them eye rollingly bad.
Terminator Dark Fate is very much a turn your brain off movie and it’s sad that a film that is meant to be a direct sequel to one of the greatest action movies ever made falls flat. James Cameron at this point can’t really be trusted when he boasts that every Terminator sequel is the true sequel and here is another entry that I feel will be met with some disappointment.
We now have a trilogy of failed Terminator trilogies and it will be interesting to see where the franchise goes from now on as surely they can’t make another reboot.
Overall, Terminator is a bad film in my eyes and we as fans deserve far much more. I wish that we could get Skynet to just go back in time and terminate everything after the second film but as far as Terminator sequels go, this is an adequate, albeit underwhelming one. I never thought I’d say it but Terminator 3 actually wasn’t that bad, I’d much rather have that as the continuity than this one because, wow, I just really disliked it.
Terminator Dark Fate gets a…
Now obviously I’d love to hear your thoughts on Terminator Dark Fate and if you agree or disagree with my thoughts. Comment below and let me know!