From the depths of franchise exile comes this engrossing, wall-rattling actioner that returns the Terminator films to their former glory.
To pretend this was ever going to reach the levels of sci-fi classics like the original or T2 was a frivolous notion, but Dark Fate manages to eclipse the last three entries in the series, and pays homage to the originals without ever feeling hamfisted.
They’re all back, baby, as Sarah Connor returns at long last, and actress Linda Hamilton turns in a stellar, uncompromising action performance. Arnold Schwarzenegger is serviceable, even if he provides some of the more cringe-worthy moments of the film.
But to see these two icons on-screen, with a story partially written by original helmer James Cameron, is something to marvel at. Deadpool’s director Tim Miller took this film on, and spins a tale about Connor and a hybrid human-robot who come to the aid of a young girl as a new, more powerful prototype attempts to end her life.
It’s not glitzy and you won’t find jarring plot twists or head-swirling revelations here, but the high-octane, adept action and quippy one-liners Terminator was loved for are back.
So is incredible casting, with a breakout performance from Natalie Reyes, a villainous turn from Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. alum Gabriel Luna, a huge action turn from Mackenzie Davis, and the re-introduction of Hamilton as Connor, one of the most revered sci-fi characters of all time.
Terminator: Dark Fate isn’t a classic return to old form, and it won’t make any best-of lists. But the depth, action, gorgeous scenery and badassery of the women in front of the camera might have reinvigorated a long past-due franchise. This film manages to erase Genesys, T3 and Salvation, and you should hail it for that alone.