“Terminator: Dark Fate” Review: A Worthy Sequel with a Badass Cast

I’m going to be honest. I haven’t seen any Terminator movie. I’m not a big fan of action films but lately, I’ve been curious about anything science fiction, so I decided to give Terminator: Dark Fate a go. I didn’t have enough time to catch all five Terminators, which I think is a great idea since I’ll be able to tell if the movie can explain its whole concept to a complete noob. Guess what? It did and I was able to enjoy it.

I do have plans of seeing the other Terminator movies, but based on pop culture, I know that Arnold Schwarzenegger is a cyborg assassin sent back in time to kill Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton). Her son plays an important role in history and will one day fight back against the machines. It’s a concept that has played in its sequels Judgment Day, Rise of the Machines, Salvation, and Genysis, but the franchise gets a fresh approach in Dark Fate.

In Dark Fate, we see a female-led cast, with Hamilton returning as Connor. She is a complete badass and she is joined by Grace (Mackenzie Davis), a cybernetically-enhanced soldier. Together, they have to protect Dani (Natalia Reyes), implying that she plays an important role in a robot-infested future. Gabriel Luna plays Rev-9, an advanced Terminator prototype that just won’t die.

It’s tempting to become cynical over the fact that Dark Fate is female-led. We’ve seen how people have attacked films like Captain Marvel and Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which both featured women in lead roles. There are also those who have expressed anger that Natalie Portman will be playing a female Thor in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and that the studio is doing a series focusing on She-Hulk. These “fans” seem to have forgotten that as early as 1978, Jane Foster became worthy of the Mjolnir and took on the Thor mantle, and that She-Hulk has been a Marvel character since 1980.

Shade aside, it’s refreshing to see women kick butt in a testosterone-filled franchise as Terminator. Even Dani is an upgrade. She’s not a damsel in distress and is ready to do whatever it takes to fight back.

I also appreciated how the film does not de-age Hamilton. Fans have followed the actress since the first Terminator in 1984, and she aged gracefully for Dark Fate. There’s no CGI to smoothen her features and it only adds to her allure. It also makes sense. Her character is not the type to care about a 10-step skincare routine or sunblock. She’s awesome that way.

Schwarzenegger returns for Dark Fate and he takes a philosophical approach to his role. After the mess that the cyborg has involved himself in in the past five films, what is left for him to do? His story arc in Dark Fate is intriguing and is a welcome addition to this blockbuster franchise. Ideology aside, Schwarzenegger still kicks ass, as do the rest of the cast.

I don’t this review qualifies much since I haven’t seen any other Terminator film but I was still able to enjoy Dark Fate. It posits a fact that the world is catching up on: women are just as badass as men.

 

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