Guest Post -James M's Review of Terminator Dark Fate
Hey movie viewers, CrazyGamerHistorian1999 here and today we're taking a look at the 6th Terminator film in the franchise, the action-packed, the epic, the not-so jarring Terminator Dark Fate.
For those of you who don't know, this movie is a reboot, a partial reboot, as it ignores the previous three movies except for the first and the second. So its basically another T3.
Either way, here's the Terminator Recap so far...
In 1984, Sarah Connor's life changed forever when the tyrannical supercomputer known as Skynet sent back a T-800 Terminator Cyberdine Systems Model 101 unit to bump her off before her son John Connor is born. However, the Resistance sent back Kyle Reese to protect her. In the end, the Terminator was destroyed and Sarah's life was saved, but all at the cost of Kyle's demise.
11 years later, things change again when Skynet deploys the T-1000 to attack a ten year old John.
However, John Connor's future self sent back a reprogrammed T-800 to protect his younger self. Hoping to change the future and stop the rise of Skynet, Sarah and John launched a preemptive attack of Cyberdine and blew up its main building with help from Miles Dyson and the T-800.The battle with the T-1000 continued until it was destroyed via molten liquid. Near the end of the battle, the remnants of the previous T-800 was destroyed while the good T-800 sacrificed itself to ensure that Skynet never came to be.
Almost a decade later (in the now non-canon Rise of the Machines), Judgement Day has not come to pass (yet) but John fears the future. Things go south when the T-X arrives, programmed by Skynet to destroy John, and it is discovered that blowing up Cyberdine merely delayed the rise of Skynet, which has already activated and is about to attack humanity. With help from a T-850 (played by Arnold Schwarzenegger who played the last two T-800s), John and his future wife Kathrine Brewster defeat the T-X and escape to an underground shelter as Skynet launches a nuclear attack against humanity, thus setting up the war of the machines.
Nearly a decade and a half passes and by 2018 (where Terminator Salvation unfolds), Skynet rules the world with its army of T-600, HKs and other Terminators as the Resistance fights to survive and defeat the machines. John Connor is not yet the leader of the Resistance as it is under the command of General Ashdown, who believes they may have found the key to ending the war VIA a Skynet signal located in San Francisco. Things seemingly get complicated when Marcus Wright, a man turned into a Terminator-human hybrid appears and John has trouble trusting him. Nonetheless, in the end, the Resistance scores a victory against Skynet but at the cost of many casualties.
Jump forward to 2029 (with Terminator Genisys) and the war is nearing its end, Tech-Com (the resistance) led by John Connor launches its all-out final assault on the heart of Skynet and its facilities. In the end, the core of Skynet is destroyed and the war ends, but not before the supercomputer deploys the T-800 from the first movie to 1984 through the Time Displacement Machine to destroy Sarah Connor. Kyle Reese, who volunteers to protect Sarah, heads back to 1984 only to find that history has changed. Sarah has been under the care of a T-800 named Pops following an attempt to destroy her back in the 1970's and they've already taken out the T-800.
Journeying to the year 2017, Kyle, Sarah and Pops work together to destroy Genisys (aka the new version of Skynet) and survive against John, who was converted into a T-3000 Terminator by a T-5000 who happened to be the embodiment of Skynet itself. After a long tough battle, the T-3000 was defeated and the mission to destroy Cyberdine (and Genisys/Skynet) is a success...
Ok, caught up with the chronology? Lets jump timelines and talk Dark Fate...
The movie kicks off with a glimpse of the post-apocalyptic future, probably during the War Against The Machines, as we see T-800s rise out of the water and start opening fire as they walk across the beach. One Terminator finds a child cowering in fear and points its plasma rifle before the scene ends and we cut to the Bahamas. Its 1998 and a few years have passed following the events of Terminator 2, thanks to Sarah Connor and her son John's actions, Skynet never came to be and Judgement Day never happened. As Sarah in the alternate ending to T2 would say, basically, "August 29th, 1997 came and went, nothing much happened."
Yup, so they saved the future and saved billions of lives. Huzzah, that means John can live a good life without having to carry the burden of being a resistance leader fighting a war against the machines. However, things could take a drastic turn at any time. Sarah and John are in the Bahamas hanging out at the beach bar, John's 13 at this point and Sarah's relaxing. Things go south quickly when an Arnold Schwarzenegger T-800 (played by Bret Azar with CGI rendering to look like young Schwarzenegger) shows up, draws a gun and shoots John on the spot. Uh-oh, looks like Skynet managed to send back another Terminator from the Dark Future after all. How many more stragglers are out there?
Sarah, horrified to see this, tries to defend her wounded son as she draws a gun and shoots at the T-800. But her efforts are for naught as the Terminator shoots John a few more times, as he lies on the ground, before scanning him to confirm that the target has been terminated. The T-800 walks off, sparing Sarah as she cradles John in her arms, mourning the loss of her son while we hear her voice narrating everything. The narration ends with Sarah saying, "I am Terminated." Pretty dark! Now, for those of you who've watched all the movies before Dark Fate, this is not the first time John Connor was killed off. Back in 2003's Rise of the Machines, it was revealed that the T-850 (before being reprogrammed) actually assassinated Future John on the 4th of July in 2032.
Later, in Terminator Genisys (the previous movie) John Connor was converted into the T-3000 and, during the final battle, he ended up in a Time Displacement Machine prototype and was ripped apart by the magnetic field, totally destroying him. If you count those two movies, this is essentially the third time we've seen John kick the can.
Anyways, flash-forward to 2020 (this year) and its been a long time since the events of T2. Nothing much has happened between then and now, aside for the demise of John. But things are about to change again... In Mexico, a couple is in the midst of making out when a Time Displacement Field sphere appears close by and a blonde woman drops out, completely naked. This girl is Grace and she's a cyborg/Human-Terminator hybrid (kinda like Marcus from T4). The couple helps her get to her feet and the police show up. Grace fights and takes down the cops before stealing the Mexican girl's boyfriend's clothes and drives off in a car.
Not to far off, Dani, who lives with her papa and brother, is leaving the house with her brother to head to work. Not long after she leaves, another TDF sphere appears and out comes Diego Luna's character, the Rev-9, which is basically a combo of the the T-800 and T-1000 and is basically like the T-X from Terminator 3. The Rev-9 gets some clothes and meets up with Dani's papa, learning about Dani's whereabouts before taking out Mr. Ramos and assuming his form. The Rev-9 catches up with Grace and her brother at the motor factory they work at. But just as the machine is drawing a gun from the lunch bag it brought along to the factory, Grace arrives and attacks the Rev-9, trying to hold of the rogue robot while Dani and her brother flee the factory and take a pick-up truck.
Grace catches up with them and takes over driving duties before Rev-9 takes a bulldozer and pursues them, leading to a truck-car chase almost like the famous bike chase in T2 and the car-truck chase of T3. The chase soon ends with both vehicles decimated and Dani's brother impaled before he goes down with the pick-up truck. The Rev-9 has Dani and Grace cornered. It looks like the end before Sarah Connor arrives in a van and shoots the Rev-9 with a rocket launcher and a gun. As Sarah goes to see if she did the job of destroying the Rev-9, Grace (who's not looking well) and Dani steal Sarah's truck and drive off, much to the anger of Sarah. "Son of a b***h."
She soon catches up with Dani and a very tired Grace before taking them to her place, a house she's staying at, and helps Grace recover. Sarah thinks Grace is a Terminator before Grace says that she is human "just enhanced". Sarah talks about her Terminator Hunting, talking about Skynet and the original Judgement Day and brings up the demise of her son as well. When Grace later tells Sarah about the A.I Legion, Sarah is not happy. "Those a--holes never learn!" She exclaims.
The three of them hitch a train ride, eager to get to the Mexican-U.S border. During the train ride, Grace talks about Legion and the aftermath of Judgement Day, leading to Sarah assuming that Dani will be the mother of mankind's savior. Major spoiler warning, Dani is the future resistance leader.
Unbeknownst to them, they're being tracked by the Rev-9, who notifies the border patrol and tricks them into believing that Sarah, Dani and Grace are part of a terrorist group. When the trip arrive at the border and cross over into the states, they're captured and detained at the detention center. The Rev-9 arrives to take out Dani but she, Grace and Sarah escape as chaos ensues and many border patrol soldiers are taken out by the Rev-9 in the most intense scene ever. And yes, there is blood. The movie is super R-rated after all.
Team Connor-Ramos hijack a helicopter and escape further into Texas, eventually arriving at a house, which happens to be the location Sarah is receiving texts regarding Terminators from via an unknown contact. Approaching the front door, it is revealed that the one behind the messages the whole time (as well as the "For John" message) is none other than the T-800 (played by Schwarzenegger) who took John's life but has now become known as Carl. Sarah is enraged at the sight of Carl and wants to destroy him, Sarah's motivations and thought process regarding it all make sense after the first T-800 tried to get her way back in 1984 and after she just lost her son.
The trio learn that after what happened that day in the Bahamas, Carl became remorseful and later saved a woman and her son from a nutcase man, actually marrying the woman and becoming her son's father. Well, who could've thought about that, a T-800 becoming a family man. Sarah still doesn't trust Carl, well, duh. This guy's a murderer. If you met a still-alive Adolf Hitler a few years after WW2 and you learned that he was behind the holocaust, you'd probably wanna take him out too, regardless if he saw the error of his ways or not.
Anyway, the group starts devising a plan to destroy the Rev-9 and Dani will basically be the bait. Hey, wait, this feels like something out of Scooby Doo, except Dani's practically a combo of Shaggy and Scooby. A Scooby Doo-Terminator crossover? Hmmm... Back to the plot. After saying goodbye to Carl's family, the heroes head off to prepare for battle just before the Rev-9 arrives at the house. As Sarah, Carl, Dani and Grace prepare their secret weapon, which is basically an EMP field, they're joined by a friend of Sarah's from the millitary, who delivers the EMP devices, before they make a run for it as Rev-9 arrives, leading to another chase sequence that takes them to the airport.
Arriving at the airport, they quickly get on a plane and take off with it, the Rev-9 confronts them and during the fight, the plane receives extensive damage where its about to crash and explode. Carl fights the Rev-9 while Sarah, Grace and Dani make their way to safety at a nearby dam. Not long after they get there, Carl (who is mostly damaged) arrives and the Rev-9 comes soon after. The stage is pretty much set for the big battle. Inside the power planet, the Rev-9 tells the gang that they should surrender and hand over Dani with Sarah's response being, "I don't think so, you metal motherf--ker."
The group engage the machine in battle, Grace and Carl mostly receiving the worst damage despite being able to whale on the Rev-9 as they push it into one of the turbines that powers the dam, which causes a massive explosion that decimates most of the room, wrecking the Rev-9 beyond repair to a point where it can't shape shift, thus completely exposing its robotic endoskeleton, and badly injuring/damaging Grace. As for Carl, he's received a bit of extensive damage. The Rev-9 continues its attack on Dani, who (tearfully and reluctantly) removes the resistance warrior's thorium reactor and uses it to attack the Rev-9.
Carl wakes up (after Sarah shouts at him) and joins in the final attack on the Rev-9, using most of his strength to drag the murderous machine towards a nearby pit, which they fall into as Sarah and Dani watch. Grace's reactor starts to overload the Rev-9 as Carl holds it in place at the bottom, the energy emitting from the reactor is so intense, it causes the old T-800's organic tissue to burn away, revealing his endoskeleton as he looks up at Sarah and his final words are, "For John." The reactor detonates and both terminators are decimated beyond repair, the Rev-9 is destroyed but the T-800 survives long enough to take one last look at Sarah and Dani before he shuts down.
With the destruction of Rev-9 and the sacrifice of Carl, amends for John's demise have been made and Carl's end has marked the final end of Skynet and its legacy. Thats right, Carl was the last of Skynet's evil legacy. With Carl basically destroyed, that means no Skynet for good, right? Well, there is Legion that has now taken Skynet's place.
After mourning the loss of Grace, Sarah and Dani head off on their own. Dani later observe's Grace's younger self playing at a playground and leaving with her parents, knowing full well the burden upon her. The movie ends with Sarah and Dani getting in the car and driving off to who knows where...
Terminator Dark Fate, despite being a box office failure, a few mixed reviews and the backlash regarding John Connor's fate, is a really good movie. The best up there with Terminator 2 and Terminator Genisys. If I were to rank the movies so far (again), here's how I'd rank em...
1. Terminator 2 Judgement Day -epic, just fantastic
2. Terminator Genisys -both awesome
3. Terminator Dark Fate -Incredible
4. The Terminator -Really good
5. Terminator 3 Rise of the Machines -not bad
6. Terminator Salvation -alright
I enjoyed this movie as much as I enjoyed the previous five movies, it was a fun ride and it was amazing to see Linda Hamilton reprise her role as Sarah Connor. Of course Terminator wouldn't be the same without Arnold in it, he's practically in all the movies and I'm not discounting his "unofficial" appearance in Salvation, that would be disrespectful if I did. I give Dark Fate a 9/10 for being awesome and for all the hard work James Cameron and Tim Miller put into making this possible. I'm willing to ignore the flaws and just roll with it.
Anyways, until next time, hasta la vista baby.