The Terminator Franchise is back!

So I’m a frequent patron of the Alamo drafthouse theater in Yonkers, New York. I practically live there. I especially love their special screenings of classic movies. So when I saw the notification for a special, free fan screening of the sci-fi action masterpiece Terminator 2: Judgement Day, with 20 mins of footage from the new entry in the series, Terminator: Dark Fate, I jumped at that so fast. 

I, like many of you, worship the ground Terminator 2 walks on, and being that Dark Fate was coming out soon, with it being a sequel to the first Terminator and Judgement Day only, it made sense. But as I sat in my seat in a packed auditorium and waited for the movie to start, we got this special, on screen announcement from none other than Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton:

That’s right. We were NOT seeing a screening of Terminator 2, but a screening of Dark Fate instead. They tricked us, the sneaky bastards. But an awesome trick nonetheless. I sure as hell wasn’t complaining. But, now that I’ve seen it, I know the question on a lot of your minds is: is it as good as the first two?? Let’s find out!

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Terminator Dark Fate Review

“27 years after the events of Terminator 2: Judgment Day, a new, modified liquid metal Terminator (Gabriel Luna) is sent from the future by Skynet in order to terminate Dani Ramos (Natalia Reyes), a hybrid cyborg human (Mackenzie Davis), and her friends. Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) comes to their aid, as well as the original Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger), for a fight for the future…”

And here’s the answer to your question… YES THE HELL IT IS!!! This is easily the third best Terminator movie in the franchise! Now, I’m not as down on Terminators 3-5 as some of you are, but I can admit they’re nowhere near as good as Terminators 1&2. But I can assure you that this one comes closer than any of those ever have in being as good as the first two. 

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And I bet it has everything to do with series creator James Cameron returning to the fold. Seriously, you can feel the return of quality to the storytelling in this one that you couldn’t feel in the other entries. Also, I noticed a lot of the elements in here were reminiscent of some plot points and character traits from the previous three entries, as if Cameron was saying “Here’s how you should’ve utilized this.” And he was right, because they worked better here than they did in the other ones. 

Another plus is the man at the helm, Tim Miller. Miller provides Dark Fate with the epic energy that was so desperately needed to make it all work. And with each character moment, as well as action scene, Miller proves that he was the perfect man to take on the arduous task of returning this series to it former glory. A+ job, Mr. Miller.

Speaking of the action, the sequences served up here were absolutely phenomenal. Absolutely thrilling to say the least. Miller and his stunt coordinators (with help from the amazing CGI effects artists) combined to give us some of the most spectacular action scenes that we’ve seen all year. Great work!

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Terminator Dark Fate Review

And now, here we come to the best part of the movie: the cast. All of the main cast (Hamilton, Schwarzenegger, Davis, Reyes, and Luna) help make an already entertaining story that much more enthralling with exceptional performances all around. It was so great seeing Hamilton back as the badass queen we all love. She conveys fierce and undaunting strength, as well as the brief moments of sadness so amazingly. Hamilton just immediately reminds you of why Sarah Conner became the icon she did the second she walks into the frame. 

The same goes for Schwarzenegger, who breathes new life into his most famous role with a funny and heartfelt performance as the T-800 or, as he’s called in the movie, Carl. But don’t fret, action drunkies. He’s still the same badass Terminator he was in previous entries (Well, technically not the same Terminator but you know what I mean). 

And newcomers Davis, Reyes, and especially Luna back up the old pros with exceptional performances of their own. I was particularly impressed by Luna’s performance as the new model Terminator, the Rev-9. He evokes that old, cold villainous aesthetic that we loved so much from past evil Terminators, like Schwarzenegger and Robert Patrick. Kudos to you, man.

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Now, were there any issues? A couple. I can see people having a problem with just how much screen time Schwarzenegger gets in the movie. I mean, it’s not like it’s only a cameo, but there is a considerable lack of him in the movie. But trust me, guys. It’s totally worth it when he does show up. Just be patient. 

Also, Davis’s character Grace leans too closely to being unlikable quite a few times in her interactions with Sarah. I get their relationship is supposed to be antagonistic, but the way she talks to Sarah had me thinking “Why don’t you show her some freaking respect?! That’s Sarah Conner!” 

But all in all, this was a really great time that I enjoyed immensely. It felt amazing to be watching a GREAT Terminator movie on the big screen again, with a hearty thanks to the outstanding cast & crew for putting together such an awesome movie. Now let’s just hope that if they make another one, Cameron won’t leave us again. Let us hope… he’ll be back. 

Sorry. I couldn’t resist.

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