Since its fevered inception by James Cameron in the 80s, The Terminator has stalked its way into popular culture for many decades, with a plethora of contradicting sequels many of those hemmed by fresh faces to the franchise, eager to make their inspirational mark. In 2019, James Cameron returned and made some radical changes to established cannon, and everything audiences knew about the franchise, to make the true sequel he wanted, In Terminator Dark Fate.
The evil Skynet may have been vanquished in 1997 but pretenders to the homicidal A.I.’s throne still lurk, only this time, the target has changed. A new hero Dani, born and raised in Mexico must now face off against futuristic killing machines devoted to stopping her leading the resistance. She is not alone however as a half-human half-machine warrior, a veteran robot fighter, and a retired T-800 are there to help her. Now a new class of hero must learn from the old and take on the new to defeat the deadly plans of a new threat ominously called Legion.
A shocking event that could rapture everything you knew about the franchise happens in the first five minutes. It is bold and sets the tone for the radical changes that Dark Fate brings to the franchise. This symbolic gesture helps clears the floor for are new heroes such new resistance leader Dani, played by Natalia Reyes a relative newcomer to the screen, who doesn’t show it. She is joined by Mackenzie Crook, the rising star of science-focused drama, joins the film as Grace, a human cyborg that requires maintenance and medication to keep in an optimal state. A novel character reflective of the new changes Dark Fate brings and is the decision to move much of the action to Central America is a welcome one. Not everything here is new and revolutionary, We do get a glorious return from Linda Hamilton, who has become more grizzled with age and many losses, she left around the same time as Cameron, her return further cementing Dark Fate as a legitimate sequel.
Cameron also returns to helm the project, with his absence from the films since the late 90s, while it allowed some new ideas to flourish. Despite a new A.I. The robots sent to kill is quite familiar, with shapeshifting like availabilities. We also get an aged Schwarzenegger back (in an element recycled from previous films.) But the classic elements keep coming such as road-based pursuits With more C.G.I. augmented action than you can shake a pole at.
With multiple timelines factoring out like the arms of a snowflake, Dark Fate makes some decisions to give the audience choice cuts of action and adventure. The new elements are complimentary reinforced by the old (that make a welcome return) and they make a compelling blend that could ignite imaginations for returning sequels in the future. Despite numerous times being down, when the franchise says it will be back, Terminator Dark Fates means it.
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