From the opening moments of Dark Fate, this does feel like the Terminator film we’ve been waiting for, because as much as the film series has been about Arnold Schwarzenegger’s T-800, it’s also, when it’s at its best, about Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton, who returns to the series in style). Or rather, the balance of the chase and the human element.
Sure people got cheesed with the opening sequence, but if Sarah changed the future previously, and stopped Judgement Day, who says the machines couldn’t change the game as well? It changes everything, and opens the world up in a while new way.
The series has always been one long chase sequence, but the best of them, even those that have now been retconned out of existence by this film knew that the balance has to be maintained between the action beats and the human moments brought to life by the cast, and Dani, played by Natalia Reyes, gets that.
Dani is the new version of Sarah, with the newly arrived Grace (Mackenzie Davis) as her augmented protector. They are joined by Sarah who returns to kick ass, all while being pursued by the troubling new terminator, a REV-9 (Gabriel Luna).
A continuation of the original timeline as shown in The Terminator, and Terminator 2: Judgement Day, it serves as a reset for the future, which delivers the realisation that no matter what Dani, Grace and Sarah do, the future may be inescapable. It can be delayed, but maybe the machines will always win.
There are also political overtones to the film as Dani and the rest have to get across the Mexican/U.S. border, and end up in a detainee camp. Course some folks probably had a problem with the fact that the film featured a trio of women as the heroes in an action movie – I thought it kicked ass.
The film works. It’s a solid follow-up to the original two films while building its own mythology. If it hadn’t taken so long for this one to come along, it would have done so much better at the box office. Still, it’s awesome to see Hamilton come back to this character at this point.
I really enjoyed this take.
The extras rounding out the blu-ray are also fascinating to delve into. There are deleted and extended scenes, all of which would have worked had they not been cut, though in some cases, the theatrical version works better (I like the REV infiltrating Border Security, and wish that had been intercut with the extended border crossing sequence.
There’s a nice twenty minute behind-the-scenes, A Legend Reforged, that talks about the film, the cast, character arcs and the involvement of series creator James Cameron, and the frenetic action styling of director Tim Miller. World Builders is a half hour look at the tech and the action sequences of the film.
The disc is rounded out with a look at how the climax of the film was put together, and how the visual effects work in the film by taking a look at a specific sequence in the film.
This one, for me, was a lot of fun. It felt true to the original storyline of the first two Terminator films, continued to make a comment on society, where we are, and where we are going. And Linda Hamilton!!
Terminator: Dark Fate is available today from Paramount Canada on DVD and Blu-Ray.