Movie Review: Terminator: Dark Fate (2019)

Synopsis: Twenty-two years ago, Sarah Connor destroyed Cyberdyne Systems and prevented the invention of Skynet, saving 3 billion future lives. However, she was unable to prevent a T-800 Terminator robot from killing her son, John. When a new Terminator arrives in Mexico, Sarah finds herself protecting a young woman, Dani, with help from a surgically enhanced soldier from the future and the same T-800 that killed her son.

Who's in it? The movie stars Linda Hamilton, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mackenzie Davis, Natalia Reyes and Gabriel Luna.

Review: I have had this movie in my library for some time now but didn't get around to watching it because, while I liked the original Terminator, I wasn't as big of a fan of the sequels. However, my wife and I had some time to watch a movie last night and, since I wasn't in the mood to look for something else, I finally selected this one. As it turns out, it was a lot better than I was expecting.

One of the things I found I enjoyed right away was the way the movie didn't wait to get the action started. Within the first several minutes or so of the movie, we saw everything from a hand-to-hand fight in a factory and an exciting car chase. Those two things both kept us on the edge of our seats right off the bat and introduced the characters in a way that gave us a general idea of who they were and their abilities without bogging the movie down with a bunch of unneeded dialog later.

I was admittedly impressed with the newest Terminator version, the Rev-7 (Luna). Not only was it seemingly indestructible (it could repair itself even if you tore it completely apart), it also had some fairly unique abilities, including the ability to turn into two separate Terminators in a fight and change its appearance so it could mimic a variety of other characters. Even when they enlisted the T-800 (Schwarzenegger) for help, I wasn't sure how they were going to beat it.

Another thing I found I liked about this movie was the mystery surrounding Dani (Reyes) and why she was now the one being targeted instead of Sarah (Hamilton). This continued to remain a mystery even after the movie reveals Sarah's efforts resulted in a new timeline that still resulted in the end of the world (something that had to hurt considering everything she sacrificed to stop Skynet from happening).

The part about the T-800 settling down, finding a family and, in the process, becoming a bit more human was also a lot more interesting than I was expecting it to be. That being said, I'm not sure if it was as effective as it could have been. At minimum, it would have been nice to learn a little bit more about his wife (Alicia Borrachero), both who she was as a person and whether or not she at least suspected "Carl" wasn't human. At minimum, his decision to leave his family to help Dani didn't have as much of an impact as it would have had if the movie would have done a better job making me feel as though it was an emotional choice.

My only other complaint is the action scenes, while fun to watch, did seem somewhat hard to believe. Part of this was the obvious CGI but a bigger part was, while I could see a Terminator or enhanced soldier surviving a plane crash and nearly drowning, I do have a hard time buying a pair of ordinary humans would come out of those things without even a scratch. Even if one of those people happens to be Sarah Connor.

Final Opinion: Some of the action scenes are a little much (and might cause motion sickness) and the movie could do a better job explaining the T-800's marriage. However, overall, this turned out to be a fun and exciting movie and I would recommend seeing it.

My Grade: A-


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