Those of you who know I love science fiction knew I was excited to hear a “Terminator” sequel was in the works. And, yes, James Cameron had a hand in both story and production. Though it’s the sixth in the franchise name, Cameron said that this, “Terminator: Dark Fate,” is a direct sequel to the original 1984 film, “The Terminator.” and the 1991 sequel, “Terminator 2: Judgement Day.” And in many ways it feels like it, especially the recasting of both Linda Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegggar. And he even gets the best line in this.
Opening here last weekend, “Dark Fate” has a screenplay and director (Tim Miller) who are more interested in action than story, and they are entranced with the action, such that the film runs 129 minutes. And that’s after about 20 minutes worth of Cinemark commercials and previews.
This sequel tells us Skynet never happened, Judgement Day didn’t happen. And it opens on the murder of a young John Connor in Guatemala. Following that, as in the first, explosive lightening tells us someone’s coming from the future.
They appear on a road in Mexico City. The first one is an Android, Rev-9, sent to kill a young Mexican woman, Dani Ramos (Natalia Reyes), who obviously has a future role in the next film. The second arrival is Mackenzie Davis as Grace, a cybernetically-enhanced soldier, sent back in time to protect Dani.
Sarah Connor appears at a prime moment in a dusty, dented SUV, loaded with artillery, and looking like she’s been rode hard and put up wet. But she’s just in time to save Dani and Grace from the seemingly unending capabilities of the Rev-9. Grace, while demonstrating the strength of an android, has some medical requirements to keep up her enhancements. So things come to a halt periodically for them to load up on insulin and other drugs, as well a lot of water, weapons, and the potato chips that seem to be the only thing Sarah eats. A little humor here.
Sarah got to them in time because over the years, she’s been receiving tips from some anonymous person who lives in Laredo, Texas. That turns out to be Arnold, the original T-800 Terminator who, apparently, has developed a conscience and empathy for Sarah’s mission, as well as an adopted family. The original T-800 has been stranded with no purpose after he kills John Connor. Yeah, huh?
When you have three writers for the screenplay, and five who came up with the story, you know things are going to be needlessly complicated, and the storyline will suffer. However, the action scenes (Xbot quality) are entertaining, if repetitive. And I think Mackenzie Davis may give Kristen Stewart a run for the money, as that’s who I thought of when she arrived nude on that highway in Mexico City.
For “Terminator” fans, this is a must-see, if only to prep you for what’s next. See you at the movies.
Toni Clem is a Paris resident and has been writing Deja View for more than 30 years.