Terminator: Dark Fate Upholds Series’ Reputation

Sydney Hershberger, Staff Writer

Terminator is a franchise that’s been around for a while and has made quite a name for itself. Starting in the 80’s, the first Terminator was seen as the perfect action movie, having well-choreographed action, a compelling story, as well as good effects for the time.

The movie followed Sarah Conner, an everyday ordinary woman, being suddenly thrust into danger after being told that she was going to give birth to the man who would eventually lead the resistance against an army of killer robots called Terminators. One robot in particular has been sent to the past to kill Conner, played by Arnold Schwarzenegger, but another man has come from the future to protect her.

The rest is history.

The newest film, Terminator: Dark Fate is meant to serve as a sort of modern day interpretation of that story. It isn’t a complete mirror to the original, which is good since it isn’t at all as good.

Dark Fate opens with a post Skynet Sarah Conner, enjoying time on the beach with her son.

The scene then quickly turns around as her son is shot by a Terminator that was never supposed to exist in the first place. Yeah. I don’t get it either.

Granted the time travel mechanics of the Terminator franchise has always been a bit shaky, so

I won’t fault it too much.

We then flash forward to the future where we see Dani Ramos and her brother. They go about their daily life in Mexico before we are introduced to one of the film’s antagonists, a newly upgraded Terminator.

Now I know what you’re thinking. Shouldn’t those be gone?

Well, if Terminator wasn’t bent on lasting forever, you might be right, but no. Instead of Skynet, a new AI has arisen and made Sarah and her sons work essentially pointless.

I suppose the message here is that humans never change and that we never learn from our mistakes, but the way it’s executed just comes off as a lazy way to prolong the series.

However, it is during this sequence that we meet what I believe to be the best part of the movie.

Grace. Grace is an Augment, meaning she’s part human but has the strength of a Terminator.

She is less overpowered than the regular Terminators as she can only use her immense strengths for short bursts before going into a sort of catatonic state. In order for her to get out of this she needs specific medicines.

Mackenzie Davis plays the character extremely well. She is intimidating but also sympathetic.

She’s someone you can’t help but care about.

On the opposite side of the spectrum is the new portrayal of Sarah Conner. The actress is intimidating and if this were a standalone I would have probably liked her character a lot more.

However I can’t help but feel that Sarah Conner’s entire character has been butchered in this one movie. She went from powerful and independent to a vindictive, bitter old woman who is just an empty shell of a person without her son.

That’s never who she was and it’s disappointing that the franchise has turned her into such a person.

Half way through the movie we are introduced to the movie’s second antagonist: border patrol.

I could make a review all on its own to talk about how much I love this concept. The idea that a big obstacle the Mexican protagonist has to overcome is the border patrol, which is a good use of symbolism and the underlying commentary that comes with the action sequence is beautifully done.

My favorite line in the whole movie comes from this scene in which Grace demands to know where the prisoners are to which the border patrol person replies “actually they’re called detainees,” and then she gets shot.

There are so many more good points about this movie, but alas there are also many bad points.

If you’re a Terminator fan like me, there are a lot of problems with the way the characters change and it isn’t entirely faithful.

Looking at the movie alone, however, it’s a good action adventure with good acting and only a few plot holes.