‘Terminator: Dark Fate’ reignites classic action franchise

Linda Hamilton reprises her role as Sarah Conner in “Terminator: Dark Fate” as a hunter of the evil Terminators.

By Parker Otto

For those who lament the decrease in the quality of the “Terminator” franchise, rejoice. “Terminator: Dark Fate” manages to create a narrative that can contend with the original “The Terminator” and “Terminator 2: Judgement Day.” 

“Terminator: Dark Fate” sees a young woman named Dani, played by Natalia Reyes, being pursued by a Terminator robot from the future, played by Gabriel Luna, who has been sent to kill her because, in the future, Dani leads a human resistance against the Terminators.

Accompanying Dani is a cybernetically enhanced woman named Grace, played by Mackenzie Davis, who has been sent from the future to protect her. he pair spends the remainder of the film being chased by the merciless robot and meeting characters from the first two “Terminator” films.

After “Terminator 2: Judgement Day’s” release in 1991, the franchise has seen disappointing film after disappointing film, with 2015’s “Terminator: Genisys” being especially atrocious. Thankfully, this film manages to captivate viewers thanks to the performances of the leading women.

Reyes delivers a vulnerable performance as Dani and perfectly captures the emotions of a woman who is thrust into this chaotic environment. Davis is also a force to be reckoned with as Dani’s protector and is capable as both an actress and an action hero.

The film also utilizes characters from the first two “Terminator” films including Sarah Conner, played by Linda Hamilton, and an older, retired T-800 Terminator, played by Arnold Schwarzenegger. Hamilton creates a tired, older version of Sarah Conner and gravitates toward her role the same way Hugh Jackman played The Wolverine in “Logan.” 

As for Schwarzenegger, he fits smoothly into his iconic role as the original Terminator and is one of the finest actors in the film. Even in his 70s, Schwarzenegger is still one of Hollywood’s most intimidating action stars and hopefully this film furthers his steady acting career following his service as Governor of California from 2003 to 2011.

The action of the film is really stellar and creates several memorable sequences. However, the film does overrely on computer generated effects which, at times, can make the action appear less real. Part of what made the effects in “The Terminator” and “Terminator 2: Judgement Day” so great was the fact that most of the action was accomplished with real helicopters and real explosions.

While “Terminator 2: Judgement Day” did use computer effects for the T-1000, played by Robert Patrick, they were used sparingly to create a sense of realism. At times, the film feels more like a video game than a feature film. Overall, the action is enjoyable to witness with spectacular set-ups and well-shot fight scenes. 

The film’s biggest asset is that the plot is chase oriented. Seeing these characters constantly being pursued by an unstoppable entity made the film both suspenseful and exciting, which led to many possibilities in the way the film handled its action and character development. 

While “Terminator: Dark Fate” isn’t quite as good as the original two “Terminators,” it is a competently made film that contains much more substance than “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines,” “Terminator: Salvation” or “Terminator: Genisys” combined.

For those who wanted to say “hasta la vista baby” to this franchise, “Terminator: Dark Fate” is the perfect film to reignite faith in the “Terminator” saga.