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Terminator Dark Fate Review

From the early buzz of Terminator Dark Fate people were deeming this The Force Awakens of the Terminator franchise. Since most people love that film (though I myself do not,) I figured that was a good sign and was cautiously optimistic that we’d finally have a really great Terminator film on our hands. As it turns out The Force Awakens was an incredibly apt comparison to make as that’s exactly what Dark Fate was. The problem is, it’s the worst parts of that comparison that ended up being accurate: it's a gender swap movie remake. Yawn.

Terminator Dark Fate follows the recent trend of being a sequel that pretends the other less favorable sequels in the franchise don’t exist. Instead it acts as a direct sequel to the last good film (in this case Terminator 2) and ignores all the canon of everything after that. In this sequel we learn that Sarah Connor actually successfully did prevent judgement day, but can’t prevent a similar future. So once again, terminators are sent from the future to kill the hope of mankind...except this time it’s not John Connor but a teenager named Dani.

Like The Force Awakens, one of the characters in the original film becomes the mentor to a new protagonist. In this case it’s Sarah Connor taking Dani and her protector from the future Grace under her wing. Also similar to TFA rebranding the empire to the first order and the rebellion to the resistance, Dark Fate also goes through its own unnecessary rebranding. In this reality Skynet no longer exists, instead it’s a company called legion. And terminator models have different names too. It’s all designed to take a hammer to the lore to shake it up for no reason than to remake the first two movies again.

For me I really don’t enjoy seeing the really cool future that the first two Terminator movies set up completely destroyed. I’ve always been really interested in seeing the future that was teased in these movies. Unfortunately the one time the franchise tried that (in Terminator Salvation) they focused on the wrong character and the movie turned out really bland. At this point I’m not really sure what can salvage this franchise, but this wasn't the way to go. For one thing, I really don't understand the idea that it's empowering to give women the roles that were meant for men just as an act of good will. Just start writing better roles for women! Sarah Connor is actually a perfect example of a strong female character who was written that way without doing anyone any favors. She comes off as so much more organic than the female Kyle Reese and female John Connor this movie presents us with.

For the positives, the action was fun and Arnold & Linda seemed to enjoy returning to their roles. I just wish the movie they were in was much better than it was. RATING: 5/10

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