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Terminator: Dark Fate (2019) (Blu-ray film review).

April 25, 2020 | By | Reply More

I only recently pulled ‘Terminator: Dark Fate’, wondering how much more can they dip into the same plot.

The nexus point of change is Sarah Connor and her teenage son, John, are in Guatemata, thinking the future has changed until a Terminator arrives and kills him and leaving her wounded.

A few years later, the appearance of two beings from the future. The first, REV-9 (actor Gabriel Luna) adapts its appearance to a military man. Meanwhile, another called Grace (actress Mackenzie Davis) is there to protect Mexican Dani Ramos (actress Natalie Reyes) from the REV-9 pursuit. Along the way, an older Sarah Connor (actress Linda Hamilton) arrives and half the film is a chase across Mexico to America and finding the Cyberdyne Systems-101/808 Terminator now living under the name of ‘Karl’ (actor Arnold Schwarzenegger) in Texas, looking after a family.

In the 20 years after completing his orders has now gained a consciousness having no orders to obey as there is now no Skynet. I would have thought there was a need to adjust his CPU like in the second film. Even rearmed, they need an energy weapon if they are to stop the REV-9. It also has a nasty habit of dividing its body mass into two beings. The next fracas destroys the EMP devices and fewer options to stop it as Dani is rising up as a new leader.

You would think any Terminator sent back in time to stop a more advanced model would have been equipped to stop it. Quite how the future people who survived the new AI Legion would have known how to enhance a human to cyborg proportions for a limited time would have learnt so fast.

It is later that it is explained how ‘Karl’ has been sending her anonymous texts so the armed Sarah Connor would be there at the right time to destroy time travelling Terminators although the explanation is given for her faith in the messages or how ‘Karl’ acquires the information. Why didn’t ‘Karl’ realise this double appearance would need help a lot earlier than so late as he was.

The connection between them and the enhanced Grace means they need to go to the same destination. After watching the film, it is possible to work out the dots and the key is always Dani Ramos as she lived through it the first time. Even so, it is fulfilling the past from the future and complicates by which came first. A real problem with time travel stories and being self-fulfilling but that’s pocket universes for you.

In many respects, this version of the Terminator reality looks like someone paid attention to an article I wrote a few years back that changes in the past reflect in the future outcome. Well, that is that all realities are possible and this is another one. The future is slightly different to the one we are customised to. By skipping from Skynet to Legion, they are essentially doing a future upgrade that can ignore anything that’s been done before but not disregard it totally neither. Again, all in pocket universes. No doubt, future films will follow along this route until they need new cast and then another future update, providing it can last that long.

Other questions raised include how does Connor get the money to finance her arsenal, let alone avoid other things to finance her crusade? The same applies to ‘Karl,’ too. I mean, it would automatically fail any federal check on its identity.

Considering that the 101 chassis has twin nuclear reactors powering it, you would have thought it would have at least sacrificed one of them to stop the REV-9. Oddly, Grace realises the same thing about her own power source first. Considering the number of Terminators being sent into the past, it seems odd that this is the first time that a REV-9 has arrived. If it was to stop Dani, then surely it would make more sense to go further back into the past and kill her parents earlier. It’s not as though it didn’t know where to find them.

In many respects, ‘Terminator: Dark Fate’ is a reworking of the first and second original films with a few subtle changes. Fine, if you haven’t seen any of the other films, but with all the TV repeats, who hasn’t? If there is a successor to this new thread, it will now follow Dani Ramos than the original Sarah Connor plotline. The danger of that is it won’t really be doing anything new that hasn’t been done before with the ‘Terminator’ films.

Only in the past, can the future be changed. It does make for an interesting case that the future can also be the same, just with different names fitting the roles.

Only 5 extras and no audio commentary. The 9 minutes of ‘Deleted/Extended Scenes’ don’t really change anything. The 20 minutes of ‘A Legend Reforged’ is the making of. Director Tim Miller describes that in the scripting stage he had 5 SF authors in to discuss ideas before the scriptwriters came in. Maybe I’m being very cynical but why didn’t anyone notice how close this film is to the original 1986 film with a bigger budget? The longer 32 minute ‘World Builder’ shows how different parts of the world, like Spain masquerading for Mexico, was done.
The 8½ minute ‘Dambusters: Final Showdown’ shows how the dam interior was mostly created physically than in CGI. Finally, 2½ minutes from the Blur Studios showing their CGI effects before and after rendering of the Terminator battle in the future.

GF Willmetts

April 2020

(region B blu-ray: pub: 20th Century Fox. 1 blu-ray disk 128 minute film with extras. Price: I pulled a copy for £12.99 (UK). ASIN: B07YXGSQN6)

cast: Natalie Reyes, Mackenzie Davis, Linda Hamilton, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Gabriel Luna

check out website: wwww.fox.co.uk

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Category: Films, Scifi

About the Author ()

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 15 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’ If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

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