I had major fears after watching the trailers which didn’t impress me at all but I can say that Terminator: Dark Fate (continuing The Terminator (1984) and Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)) exceeded my extremely low expectations and I wasn’t disappointed.
My main issue with the film is that it shouldn’t exist. It’s hard to say why without spoilers so the spoiler-free approach would be that the reason behind the occurance of the plot is for the film to happen which to some extent makes sense but didn't do the trick for me. Also, one of the things I hated (truly hated) happened during the opening scene (but it’s a big spoiler).
Without the vague talk let’s jump into the deep review:
The story was not that bad but there are many spoiler-full reasons that made me dislike some things but they did not stop my enjoyment of this film. The new characters, Dani and Grace were great female characters. It was a good step to make the main characters female and they did not feel “in-your-face-feminism” like many female-lead films that came out before Dark Fate (especially gender swapping films). Grace was a strong female character who had a logical arc that is highly unoriginal yet Mackenzie Davis elevates the role by a solid performance. Dani, played by Natalia Reyes, had an ok development. Now let me talk about Linda Hamilton! Oh was I happy with her return! Fierce, strong, and charismatic! It was really pleasant to see her back. Her character was greatly written and really stayed within the same behavior from her two original outings. Her character wasn’t the main focus yet she still had an importance and the audience can sympathize with her and her story. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s return was really cool and I can’t say anything about him… he’s the T-800. The new terminator played by Gabriel Luna does the job but isn’t terrifying like the T-1000 in T2 but it still has the same fearsome and intense presence.
On the technical side, it couldn’t reach the same feel of Cameron’s films but Tim Miller does a fantastic job at directing the film and especially the action scenes that were really entertaining, thrilling and intense. The cinematography was really good. I really loved the soundtrack that paid homage to the originals’. Sound mixing was also great. The visual effects were weaker than I expected. The de-aging in the opening scene was amazing. But later throughout the film the VFX is weak when it comes to human-looking characters doing impossible stunts.
The film has a relatively fast pace that never bores you, it’s always progressing. Some ideas were re-used from previous installments but I won’t say which ones for the sake of spoilers. The film is action packed and entertaining yet lacks thematic and deep meaning to make it cross the usual action-flick importance and actual meaning.
I definitely enjoyed it and I definitely recommend it. No one can expect it to top T2 but it does enough good job to stand out on its own.
My rating might be a bit low but as a huge fan of the original two films, some decisions did really piss me off. However, if you're there for the action and the fun, that's an absolute guarantee.
Inevitably, Hasta La Vista... Baby