Dog’s Movie House: “Terminator: Dark Fate” A Return To Form For Franchise!

Thankfully, “Terminator: Dark Fate” has a sleek, smooth cinematic exterior that jettisons the stories of the previous three films and acts as a direct sequel to “Terminator 2: Judgement Day.”

Over twenty years has passed since the events of the prior film when Sarah (Linda Hamilton) and John Connor (Edward Furlong) stopped Judgment Day and saved three billion lives. Into this relative quiet drop two new beings from the future into a small town in Mexico. The first is a young woman named Grace (Mackenzie Davis) and “enhanced” woman charged with protecting a young woman named Dani (Natalia Reyes) from the second, a super Terminator known as a Rev-9 (played with steely-eyed intensity by Gabriel Luna). Like the previous films, Dani is important to the future revolution against a superior AI known as Legion. No Skynet here, folks!

Into the mix drops an older, bitter Sarah Connors who has personal reasons for killing every Terminator she comes across. This includes the Terminator by the name of Carl (Arnold Schwarzenegger), a machine with whom Sarah has a complicated past. With the Rev-9 hunting them, the group has to decide whether to keep running or stand and fight.

The design of this film is very well done and the action is crisp and ambitiously film. Director Tim Miller (“Deadpool”) knows his way around the camera and keeps the film moving in ways the constantly keeps the viewer interested. The script is better than average as well. David Goyer gets help from a couple of additional writers including series creator James Cameron. The story is easy to follow, leaving the convoluted time-travel crap that plagued the last few movies behind while keeping you invested in the fates of the characters.

Of the performances, all of the actors acquit themselves tremendously. Davis is tough as nails and Reyes is very good as the confused yet strong Dani. Hamilton reminds everyone how good she can be as the returning Sarah Connor. Rough and rugged and extremely pissed off, Connor’s character has a journey of her own involving forgiveness and the ability to move on in an uncertain future. Hamilton absolutely nails it!

But the MVP is certainly Arnold as Carl. He is not the same T-800 from “Judgement Day,” and, as I said before, his relationship with Connor is a bit complicated. Yet over the years he has learned compassion and even has a family of his own. The “learning computer” has taught him a reasonable facsimile of compassion and emotion and it makes him a valuable ally in the fight against the Rev-9. Arnold is wonderful as a robot who has actually found some semblance of peace before fate comes knocking on his door. He’s also got some of the funniest one-liners in the series in this film.

The effects are pretty good, especially when the Rev-9 does his splitting “twin” thing. . .you’ll know it when you see it. The Rev-9 is actually a pretty cool villain and his stalking technique and fighting style are some of the highlights of the movie. On the downside, it is essentially a retread of the other two movies with a fresh coat of cinematic paint. It’s so well done, though, that I didn’t mind too much. Hopefully it does well enough to warrant a further chapter in the story! 4 Out Of 5 On Kendog’s Barkometer! So Sayeth The Kendog!

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