Friday, November 1, 2019

Terminator: Dark Fate Movie Review

Mackenzie Davis stars in Terminator: Dark Fate

Amazing Grace

Rotten Tomatoes Plot: More than two decades have passed since Sarah Connor prevented Judgment Day, changed the future, and re-wrote the fate of the human race. Dani Ramos (Natalia Reyes) is living a simple life in Mexico City with her brother (Diego Boneta) and father when a highly advanced and deadly new Terminator - a Rev-9 (Gabriel Luna) - travels back through time to hunt and kill her. Dani's survival depends on her joining forces with two warriors: Grace (Mackenzie Davis), an enhanced super-soldier from the future, and a battle-hardened Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton.) As the Rev-9 ruthlessly destroys everything and everyone in its path on the hunt for Dani, the three are led to a T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger) from Sarah's past that may be their last best hope. Directed by Tim Miller.

Starring: Linda Hamilton, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mackenzie Davis, Natalia Reyes, Gabriel Luna and Diego Boneta

What's Good: Arnold, Hamilton (the ultimate curmudgeon) and the physically fascinating Davis. When the former finally arrives (BTW, what took him so long?) Dark Fate shifts into second gear. Lots of funny one-liners, and a welcome reprieve from Miller's overreliance on (not so) special effects (over 2,600 shots, if you're counting.) Why not dwell on this dazzling trio, instead of countless, implausible chase scenes involving Luna, Reyes & friends? Good acting trumps average action 99% of the time.

What's Not: Did I mention 2,600+ visual effects shots, produced by six different companies? That's way too many, and doesn't hide the fact that Arnold isn't on screen for the first hour of the film. Sure, it's better than the most recent sequels (Salvation and Genisys) but I've lost track of how many times John and Sarah Connor have been conceived, died or resurrected (not to mention, traveled through time.) Instead of manipulating (or bypassing) previous films, why not come up with something truly original?

Budget: $185 million

Runtime: 128 minutes (The first hour needs heavy editing.)

Target Audience: Terminator fans, duh.

Bottom Line: We want more Arnold! Davis is a tasty appetizer (and Hamilton provides plenty of salt) but Schwarzenegger is the main course, and there's hardly enough of him to go around. In his place? Lots and lots of special effects, we've already seen thousands of times before. Above average (with a few big laughs) but not enough to make you forget how good the first two chapters were.

Grade: C+