Terminator: Dark Fate (2019) (mini-review++)

(If you’re curious, my review process. It’s also pasted at the end of this post. I don’t believe in Rotten Tomatoes. I just believe in me.)

(***all-purpose SPOILER ALERT*** there may be some in this review)

acting 7

directing 7

effects 8

editing 7

writing 7

SW SCORE: 36

3.6 out of 5 🐙

++

I know I’m gonna catch shit for this but I think the Terminator franchise is one of the most consistent set of movies out there. When I say consistent, I mean they consistently entertain me, even the less revered ones. I have plans to defend this stance in a blog piece at some point. I also have plans to start jogging. The former is probably more likely. Ironically, my least favorite is T2 which is also blasphemy to the Terminatoratti. 

I’ll drop my longstanding Terminator beefs:

With any time travel centered franchise, it gets ludicrous. There is no end because, at every single juncture, they manage to time travel back in time at the very last second. There’s never an end, really. And if there is no real end, it inevitably saps value from any emotional finish. Time travel franchises are the boy crying wolf over and over except we are the farmers who keep coming back to watch his movies. Yeah, I mix my metaphors. Sue me. 

My Dark Fate specific beefs:

SPOILER: this recycles T2’s end in that it requires Arnold to once again sacrifice himself to save the future. but again, it doesn’t matter because they can always just send another terminator back till the end of time and keep popping out sequels til the earth crashes into the sun. 

The whole reason for the start of this particular dark future timeline is that humanity, despite knowing the terrible danger of Artificial Intelligence, goes ahead and pursues Artificial Intelligence again. That is not a very compelling or creative origin. 

Mackenzie Davis plays a badass enhanced human soldier from the future. I saw shades of Charlize Theron’s Furiosa portrayal in Davis’ turn. She gave it her spin but they felt related. She was, in a very real sense, a human terminator in that she was relentless and would not stop until her mission was complete. RELENTLESS. But here’s the thing. Why the hell would you send back a fair skinned blonde amazon to MEXICO to rescue humanity. Maybe a LatinX actor would have made more sense? Someone who could blend a little better? Yes, I know LatinX people can be in any color or height and have any color hair or eyes. My own family is a wild smorgasbord. But it seems logical to have a LatinX play her role. Don’t get me wrong. Mackenzie was great. 

Al those beefs aside, this movie was a fun action/sci-fi joint. Here’s why. 

There were funny lines:

“What are you doing?” “Future shit.”

“Why so many guns?” “74.8% chance human society will collapse into barbarism. Also, this is Texas.”

“I won’t be back.”

It was set in an awesome place: Mexico! The first Terminator jam outside of ‘murica. 

The effects were still high quality and they reimagined the new model of Terminator though I think they are running out of possibilities. The liquid metal thing kinda covers every possible shape and size by its very character. They added an internal skeleton feature with this model so that the Terminator could have a sort of shadow or “assistant” terminator. I’m not sure why they didn’t just let the liquid terminator break parts of itself off and have multiple liquid terminators. I guess that would be too tough to beat. 

As the movie was set in Mexico, LatinX representation was strong: Natalia Reyes plays the main human whose fate is tied to the human race’s. Gabriel Luna is the Terminator. And Diego Boneta is the comic relief along for the ride, an important role in any rowdy film. 

This plays with the franchise’s fans with some cute reversals: Arnold does NOT put on his shades when the whole theater expects him to don them. And the slant on Arnold’s famous “back” line quoted above. 

There was loads of Spanish language in the movie and I’m glad they didn’t just have everyone speak English. It’s brave because the average American viewer is so spoiled and hates to read at the movies. 

The representation is great. The story is fun and well paced by Tim Miller. The actors bring it. The effects are sharp. And the fights are fun and fresh. All in all, it wouldn’t be the worst fate to see this movie. 

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(1) Shark Wrighter (SW) Score: Based on a sum of 5 sub-scores (acting, directing, writing/story, effects: cinematography &/or animation &/or effects, editing) with 1 being terrible and 10 being terrific.

(2) Octopuses (0-5 🐙, with 5 being fantastic and 0 being feces)

(3) Octopuses are my unquantifiable feeling…not that SW score is scientific…but this one is even less so

(4) ++ This optional section includes any incredibly *brilliant observations that don’t fit into simple quantitative slices like the scores and octopuses *(they are likely NOT brilliant)

 

 

 

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