Terminator: Dark Fate

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Director: Tim Miller

Starring: Linda Hamilton, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mackenzie Davis, Natalia Reyes, Gabriel Luna, Tom Hopper, Diego Boneta, Brett Azar

Written by: Billy Ray, (also story) David Goyer, Justin Rhodes, (story only) Charles H. Eglee, Josh Friedman, (story and based on characters created) James Cameron and (based on characters created) Gale Anne Hurd.

Running time: 128 mins

Cert: 15

Release date: 23rd October 2019

1984 and a low-budget sci-fi thriller took the box office by storm and made the lead with the impossibly long surname a household name. 1991 and the makers of that original film were given a bigger budget, brought back its two lead actors and thus, one of the best sequels was made. Sadly, the longing for more has led to three more sequels, each one as unmemorable as the next. Now we have a sixth film that tells us to forget the past three films, this is the sequel to the original sequel. At last, we finally have a film that is worthy of carrying the name Terminator.

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1997 and Judgment Day never happened thanks to Sarah Connor changing the future. However, a new Terminator, Rev-9, has arrived in Mexico and is looking for Dani Ramos, a woman leading a simple life, working in a factory with her brother. When saved from the Terminator by Grace, a super-enhanced soldier from the future, the two women go on the run and come face-to-face with Sarah Connor. Being chased by an indestructible Terminator, it may need a face from Sarah past to help stop them.

Original creator and director James Cameron is back on board, as a producer, and it shows. Remembering that the first film was nothing more than a chase film with time travel to excite the sci-fi fans, this takes those same principals and delivers nothing more, nothing less. Forget intricate plotting about the future or trying to fox the audience with twists, this is a two-hour, non-stop action flick which moves effortlessly from set-piece to set-piece.

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Gone are the 12A antics that the previous sequels were rewarded with, the action is violent, brutal and nail-biting. The new Terminator, a mix of molten metal and old school, come from a new future called Legion. Gone is Skylab but this new threat can shape-shift and pull itself away from the skeleton robot, so Sarah, Grace and Dani have to battle not one but two killing machines.

With double the threat, Deadpool director Tim Miller piles on the stunts and set pieces, bringing moments of genuine thrills and peril. What makes this a unique movie, is that the three main protagonists are female, each one able to stand up to the continuous onslaught that is the Rev-9. Only when the film gets half-way through does, a familiar face reappears: old, wiser but still firing the classic one-liners.

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It’s great to see Linda Hamilton returning to the role that made her a star. Old age has never slowed her down. In fact, she is more robust, more focused and almost carefree with her attitude towards the Terminator. It’s a first-rate performance as she carries the horrors of her past, practically etched in her face. Mackenzie Davis as Grace is a high-kicking super-soldier who brings memories of Sarah in T2, while Natalia Reyes makes up the trio of females as she is the one who could change the future. Finally, Arnold Schwarzenegger turns up as T-800 or Carl as he is called and brings a level of well-needed humour.

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Terminator: Dark Fate is the best in the series since Terminator 2. It might not hold the same magic as the first film did, but on a par with other action franchises, it hits the spot with its impressive action sequences and decent characterisations. Thankfully, this entry does wash away the memory of Genisys, which almost killed the series dead. This brings hope that this can move forward.

4/5

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