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'Terminator: Dark Fate' thrilling enough as nostalgic sequel

Keshie Hernitaningtyas
Keshie Hernitaningtyas

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Sat, October 26, 2019  /  01:04 pm

Since the popular Terminator franchise created by James Cameron and Gale Anne Hurd was introduced in 1984, we have been entertained by four sequels that remain loyal to the origin storyline of the great war between the human race led by John Connor's Resistance forces and Skynet's artificial intelligence (AI) machines.  

Although not a big fan of the series, I enjoyed the first two films, which were co-written and directed by Cameron. The others, however, especially Terminator Salvation (2009) and Terminator Genisys (2015) are much less memorable. So when news broke regarding the release of another sequel in 2019, Terminator: Dark Fate, I was considerably unenthusiastic and went to the press screening with low expectations. 

Turns out Terminator: Dark Fate is far from a disappointing sequel.

Continuing the story of the 1991 sequel Terminator 2: Judgement Day, the film follows a new character named Dani Ramos (Natalia Reyes) who is being hunted by, you've guessed it, a Terminator from the future, Rev-9 (Gabriel Luna).

A resident of Mexico City alongside her father and brother, both of whom do not survive, Dani is able to get away thanks to the help of a super soldier from the future named Grace (Mackenzie Davis) and the franchise's legend Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton). However, they realize they need help to beat Rev-9, and this is when another legend, T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger), comes in as their ray of hope.

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Directed by Tim Miller (Deadpool), Terminator: Dark Fate offers a too-familiar storyline (and nostalgia thanks to Hamilton and Schwarzenegger) for fans of the franchise, from the iconic entrance scenes of the Terminator and soldier sent from the future, to the intense combat climax.

It tries to add something new though by being relatable to the current political situation, such as focusing on a Mexican national as the lead character, showcasing how the group later attempted to illegally cross the border to the United States (and got detained alongside other Mexicans in the border cells) and pokes fun at Texan people's enthusiasm for guns.

The film also puts a spotlight on family relationships and how they affect the life decisions made by each main character. Despite the non-stop action scenes throughout the film, this part of the storyline, as well as Grace's background story, blended quite well with the entire plot, resulting in a more enjoyable watch. 

Although some of the action scenes are quite over the top, the speed and super powers shown are entertaining nevertheless; I found myself holding my breath throughout the film as they were that intense. All the performances are convincing enough, including Davis, with her supermodel figure, as the enhanced human and Dani's bodyguard.

Portraying our potential future with AI as an apocalypse is probably getting old for some people. However those who enjoyed the first two installments will find this flick, which saw Cameron returning as producer, thrilling enough as a sequel.

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