FILM REVIEW | Terminator: Dark Fate

Let's do this again: Mexican-American actor Gabriel Luna is the latest villainous robot to appear in the iconic franchise with his turn in Terminator: Dark Fate, rated MA15+, in cinemas now.
Let's do this again: Mexican-American actor Gabriel Luna is the latest villainous robot to appear in the iconic franchise with his turn in Terminator: Dark Fate, rated MA15+, in cinemas now.

Arnie always promised he'd be back and, six films in, his words still ring true.

Arnold Schwarzenegger's iconic Terminator franchise has received a new installment with fifth sequel Terminator: Dark Fate.

The new film mostly takes place in Mexico, where two brand new futuristic folks have just landed.

One is the quite T1000-like REV-9, played creepily by Gabriel Luna.

The other is Grace (Mackenzie Davis, Blade Runner 2049), who is not a Terminator but rather an enhanced human soldier.

Her mission is to protect a young Mexican woman named Dani Ramos (Natalia Reyes), but just why she is so special remains a mystery to audiences for most of the film.

The REV-9, of course, has a far more nefarious mission - kill Dani before she can become a threat.

In this way it's very much a classic Terminator film - there's a protector, a killer and the unwitting figure in the middle who has know idea why they're so important.

Add to the mix the return of Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) and Arnie's T-800 (a different - aged - iteration of the robot, who is a separate character from the one we met in previous films) and there's plenty in Dark Fate to tickle your Terminator fancy.

However - and early box office performances will confirm this - the new film lacks some of the spark of the franchise's best entries.

Terminator 2: Judgement Day is widely regarded as the best film in the series, closely followed by the original offering.

Dark Fate, sadly, doesn't come close to replicating the wonder, excitement, tension and pop cultural impact of those earlier films.

That being said, it is much better than Terminator: Salvation, the largely derided fourth film starring Sam Worthington and Christian Bale.

Working in its favour is Sarah Connor. Now older, wiser and suffering from a serious trauma, she provides a fantastic balance to Dani's character.

When asked why she cares about saving the young woman, she says "I was her".

Any fan of the franchise must watch Dark Fate, but casual viewers need not rush out.

Rating: 6.5/10