‘Terminator: Dark Fate’: another bad Terminator sequel

'Terminator: Dark Fate' is rated R, to see 'Terminator: Dark Fate' you must be 17 years old or older to see without an adult.

Paramount Pictures

Jacob Rengstorf

The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day are two of my favorite movies. The story wrapped up greatly in Terminator 2: Judgment Day so filmmakers have struggled to make a sequel since then. No Terminator movie has reached the quality of these two classics. Unfortunately Terminator: Dark Fate does not change this. Terminator: Dark Fate is not good but it’s not horrible either. Terminator: Dark Fate is directed by Tim Miller and stars Linda Hamilton, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Mackenzie Davis.

Walking into the theater I didn’t really expect much from Terminator: Dark Fate. I expected the movie to be on the level of Terminator Genisys which was an embarrassment to be completely honest. I wasn’t completely correct in my expectations because Terminator: Dark Fate is the best sequel in the Terminator franchise since Terminator 2: Judgment Day. It’s still not a good movie however. The plot of this film has been done to death at this point. A terminator is sent back in time to kill someone and someone is sent back in time to protect them. I found myself just being annoyed many times in the movie because I’ve seen this plot done so many times at this point in this franchise, and I’ve seen it done much better! All of the actors give bad-decent performances. There are no standouts except Natalia Reyes who isn’t a standout because of how good she is but is a standout because of how bad she is. Her character is very underwritten and kind of annoying at times. Linda Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger are okay and are fun to watch but neither of them are really impressive. 

The Technical aspects of the film are quite underwhelming. The cinematography is fine there are some nice shots but nothing that really impressed me. The color palette of the movie is really dull and ugly. One thing I love about the first two Terminator films is their color palette. The cool blues of the movies always looked great. Unfortunately Terminator: Dark Fate has a very ugly and boring color palette consisting of browns and oranges, a far cry from the cool blues of the first two. The score is not memorable, I can’t remember a single element of the score other than the reuse of Brad Fidel’s original scores for The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day. The effects are very hit or miss as well. I found myself baffled at how bad some of the effects looked. There are some effects that look good but most of the time the effects are distracting especially some scenes of the Rev-9. There are plot holes and narrative problems that I won’t get into because of spoilers but they are very annoying. 

The movie does have some pros though. The action scenes while not being great are decent and even good in some scenes. There is a scene using de-aging technology and it actually looks great. It wasn’t distracting at all and was quite impressive. The pacing for the most part is good. I was never bored thankfully. Most of the film uses cgi but when practical effects are used they look good. Most of the comedy in the film doesn’t work but there are a few funny jokes.

Overall Terminator: Dark Fate is the best sequel in the Terminator franchise since Terminator 2: Judgment Day but that’s not saying much. The story has many problems, the cinematography is okay, the score is not memorable at all but the action scenes are okay and there are some good practical effects. This movie was nothing special and I probably won’t remember it in a month. The Terminator franchise should have finished with Terminator 2: Judgment Day and this movie is another example of why. The story was tied up so well in Terminator 2: Judgment Day that there is no need for a sequel. Terminator: Dark Fate is the best sequel to Terminator 2: Judgment Day but that’s not saying much.