Terminator: Dark Fate (2019)

TIM MILLER

Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB

USA//, 2019, , , , , Story by , , , , , Screenplay by David S. Goyer, Justin Rhodes, , based on characters created by James Cameron, Cinematography by Produced by James Cameron, Music by Production Design by Costume Design by Film Editing by

James Cameron, writer and director of the first two films in the franchise, returns to the series of films about cyborg warfare with which he revolutionized the action genre, this time as writer and producer under Tim Miller’s capable direction. We leave all the sequels that followed Terminator 2 in the dust as we arrive almost thirty years after Skynet sent a bad Terminator back in time to kill John Conner and a good one to save him. With that crisis averted, it turns out there’s another future at stake, a different enemy to humanity and the same set-up: nasty artificial intelligence comes to Mexico in 2019 to take out a young woman () who is thankfully being protected by a human with cyborg upgrades ().  Their impressive escape from his initial attack is helped when a mysterious older woman shows up and provides her own firepower and, for some reason, knows what they are dealing with; because she’s played by , we know exactly why she’s there and we’re so glad to see her. This exciting action movie isn’t on par with Cameron’s originals, its plotting follows Judgment Day by also being a continues chase but the character detail isn’t as grounded or nuanced as it was back when the filmmaker had control over every aspect of the project. It lacks the grandeur of Mad Max: Fury Road from which it also takes more than a few cues, but it manages to cleverly incorporate news from today’s headlines with relative ease, putting the characters into the migrant crisis and playing the relationship between Hamilton and Reyes’ character as an aggressive response to the #MeToo movement (“Why do you care what happens to her?” “Because I was her.”). The stakes of the first sequel, involving as it did Sarah Conner’s perceived mental instability and her nightmare visions of the end of the world, are not to be found here, and is weakly slotted in, his scenes are fun but mostly there to soothe the panic of viewers overwhelmed by all these tough ladies, but the pace is kept at a speedy tempo until the very end and it’s a worthy, if not unforgettable, sequel.

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