FlixChatter Review – Terminator: Dark Fate (2019)

Hollywood has pretty much given up on producing any kind of original ideas when it comes to big budget event films. Franchises are the big money makers these days and one of the franchises that never quite make the jump to the $1bil club is The Terminator series. Three high priced sequels were made after T2: Judgement Day but none of them were box office hits. Yet somehow the studio executives are willing to write big checks to make more films in the series. The latest in supposed to be a true sequel to T2 since James Cameron is officially part of the production, he came up with the story and produced this sequel.

Sarah Connor is back!

Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) and her son John (Edward Furlong) has stopped Judgement Day and Skynet never happened. Unfortunately, the war between machines and humans are inevitable and a new threat has emerged. A lone warrior from the future name Grace (Mackenzie Davis) has been sent back to our time to protect our new savior named Dani (Natalia Reyes) from the new evil time travel Terminator (Gabriel Luna). With the help of Sarah and T-800/Carl (Arnold Schwarzenegger), Grace must figure a way to keep Dani alive and kill the more advanced Terminator. That’s basically the story, there’s nothing new here, if you’ve seen the previous Terminator films then you know how it goes. Lots of big chases and shootouts and machine hand to hand combats.

Arnie’s back to the role that made him a superstar

According to Cameron, we’re supposed to ignore the last three films, and this is a true sequel to Judgement Day. I didn’t care for the last three films and was curious as to what kind of story he came up with. Well as it turned out, there’s not much here that we haven’t seen before. It’s same storyline, there’s no creativity or any sort of effort in trying to create anything that resembles originality. I’m not a fan of McG’s Terminator Salvation but at least that film tried to come up with something new and move story forward to new territory. Here Cameron and his writers just rehashed the same tired storyline from the previous films and updated with new characters. It’s quite surprising how lazy script was to me.

Gabriel Luna as the evil Terminator

Director Tim Miller didn’t help much with his lackluster directing skills. He basically tried to mimic Cameron’s style and he failed on every level. The action scenes were huge but lack any excitement and I’ll say it again, it lacked creativity. Miller’s background is in art direction and design and the film looked great. But he’s not a good film director, he’s one of those Hollywood directors that can shoot beautiful shots but can’t put scenes together to make a compelling story.

Mackenzie Davis + Natalia Reyes

The only thing that saved this from being a complete disaster are the actors. It’s great seeing Linda Hamilton back as Sarah Connor and Arnold can play The Terminator role in his sleep. Just like the last film, he’s basically the comic sidekick. Mackenzie Davis is becoming one of my favorite actresses in Hollywood. She’s great here as the new action hero and she even able to deliver some corny lines with believability. I’ve never seen Natalia Reyes in anything before but she held her own against the more veteran actors. As for Gabriel Luna, well he didn’t have much to do except to look like an evil Terminator, basically he’s similar to Robert Patrick’s T-1000 in T2.

I’ve said in my review of the last film Terminator Genisys that this franchise needs to be terminated and I stand by that statement. There’s nothing new or exciting in this latest sequel and I would be happy to never see another Terminator film in the future.

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So have you seen Terminator: Dark Fate? Well, what did you think?

FlixChatter Review: Terminator Genisys (2015)

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I initially had no desire to see this new Terminator flick; from the trailers that I saw I thought it lacked creativity and originality. But then a couple of weeks ago, James Cameron gave his blessings and said fans of the franchise will enjoy it. Being that I’m a fan of Cameron and love his two Terminator flicks, I decided to give this new sequel a chance.

Ignoring the events of the previous two films, things kick off in the future where John Connor (Jason Clarke), his best pal Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) and a bunch of soldiers are battling the evil Skynet’s cyborgs. Connor has found a way to defeat the cyborgs and shut down Skynet permanently. But Skynet has a plan in place to win the war, they have created a time machine and sent one of their terminator cyborgs back in time to 1984 to kill Connor’s mom. In order to stop the cyborg and help Conner’s mom, Reese volunteered to go back in time.

Basically this opening scene was meant as a prologue to the first film. Then the film jumps to 1984 where they recreated the opening scene of the first film, we see the Terminator (young Arnold Schwarzenegger) just arrived in L.A. and was just about to kill the three punks but an older Terminator (old Arnold) came to their aid. A fight between the two Terminators ensues and then the younger cyborg was put down.

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We then see Reese arrived at another location in Los Angeles; he’s also met with another Terminator, the T-1000 (Byung-Hun Lee). When he’s about to get killed by the T-1000, Sarah Connor (Emilia Clarke) and the old Terminator came to his rescue. If you’ve seen the trailers then you pretty much knows how the rest of the movie will play out, our heroes gets chased by the evil cyborg and they have to destroy Skynet. The only difference here is that Sarah already knows what’s going to happen and she’s already prepared for Judgment Day. This is one of those films that think it’s smarter than it actually is. The writers came up with alternate timeline and time travel and just assume that the audiences have seen the previous movies. Sadly none of it made any sense and frankly I just didn’t care. The point of a reboot is to come up with something new and refreshing, here they just rehash elements of the first two films and threw in some “new” ideas. None of it worked and I was bored halfway through the movie.

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Even though he gets top billing, Arnold was just there to be the action hero and comic relief. The main leads are Jai Courtney and Emilia Clarke. We’re supposed to care about these two characters like the first film but the two actors have zero chemistry. Jai might be the blandest actor since Hayden Christensen; he’s one of the current young actors that Hollywood is trying to make into the next big action hero. Clarke is no better, she’s trying to channel the brave and tough version of Linda Hamilton’s Sarah from the second film, but sadly she couldn’t convince me that she’s badass. As for the main villain, well if you’ve seen the trailers then you’ve already know that John Connor is the antagonist in this one and he’s also quite bland. If there were a great example of miscasting actors in prominent roles in a big film, this would be it. None of the actors fit into their respective roles. The only person belongs in the movie is Arnold and he’s great.

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On the technical side, the movie is flawless. Director Alan Taylor and his cinematographer did a great job of capturing look and feel of Cameron’s previous Terminator pictures. The 3D effects were very effective; the action scenes were well staged and best of all, no hand held shaking cam action sequences. Speaking of action, the franchise is known for its long action sequences but Taylor somehow decided to edit down the length of each action scenes, with the exception a helicopter chase, many of the action scenes were short and not really creative at all. Again here they tried to rehash elements of Cameron’s films and nothing else.

I guess the trend of this summer’s big films are reboots/sequels and Terminator Genisys is no different. While I thought the concept worked for Mad Max: Fury Road, it didn’t work for this movie. If you’re fan of the franchise then you might enjoy it, for newcomers you might get confused by all the references to the previous events in the past films. My two-and-a-half stars are only for the movie’s excellent Dolby Atmos surround sound and very cool 3D effects. I think it’s time for this franchise to get terminated.

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So have you seen Terminator Genisys? Well, what did you think?