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Fri, Nov. 22

‘Terminator: Dark Fate:’ Once again, Arnold plays the savior

Arnold Schwarzenegger appears in Terminator: Dark Fate. (IMDb photo)

Arnold Schwarzenegger appears in Terminator: Dark Fate. (IMDb photo)

In another iteration of “Neverending 80s sequels that throttle audiences with unrequested closure,” “Terminator: Dark Fate” recycles the original plot. Replacing American John Connor is Mexican Daniela Ramos complete with a coyote-led border crossing, United States Border Patrol Agency drones, and a clean, accommodating detention center. The political message is forced and disingenuous but the action is jolting and visually orgasmic.

For anyone who doesn’t know the story of Arnold Schwarzenegger as a futuristic cyborg that falls to earth naked and chases a woman to kill her unborn child, you are in for a treat. Fans of the iconic T-101 be warned – this version introduces yet another messy alternate timeline starring a trio of cabronas including a protective female quasi-Terminator versus a new male Rev-9 model.

Sarah Connor

Linda Hamilton returns 30 years later to the role she made famous. This time the decades have cast her as a grizzled, PTSD-charged phenom who hunts the futuristic robots. Random texts conveniently alert her to their coordinates. The years have worn her down and jaded her outlook on life (murderous cyborgs will do that to you). Hamilton literally embodies the role and has transformed Sarah into a guilt-rattled, grief-simmered, embittered warrior who is running on the fumes of an adrenaline-dusted past. The film could have done without the protective quasi-Terminator watering down Sarah’s moxie.

Read more about Hamilton’s creative angst: https://www.polygon.

Daniela/Dani

Sadly, Dani (Natalia Reyes) isn’t an exciting addition to the franchise in her introductory role due to a bland backstory and nonexistent character development. “Deadpool” director Tim Miller doesn’t give her the breathing room she needs to connect with the audience. Yet the representation of a melaninated female will be exciting for young women who long to see themselves in Sci-Fi fare. Dani is frightened and meek but determined. A sneak-peek into 2042 shows that she’s a relentless revolutionary. That spin-off has potential.

Ladies first

“Dark Fate” has managed to give Sarah Connor a refreshed role as a griot of sorts – a woman with the history and knowledge of assassin robots from the future that the new quasi-terminator and Dani need. The women work in cooperation without egos and each admonishes the strength of the other. Dani lacks physical strength and agility and cyborg-killing tactics but she can think strategically. Sarah relies on brute force and foil-lined potato chip bags but she kills cyborgs remorselessly.

Grace/Quasi-Terminator

Is a cybernetically enhanced human soldier who overheats like a radiator on the Union Pass to Bullhead/Laughlin in July. Mackenzie Davis’ incredible stunts, dedicated presence to the plot and an earnest performance pull you into the urgency of her mission.

Arnold/Carl

He is back as a retired, pacifist cyborg living in a quaint cabin in the woods. Arnold does what he does best as the Cyberdyne Systems Series 800 Model 101, though tired and battle-weary. Again, he becomes the ultimate savior as the women aren’t up to the challenge (collective eye roll from women).

Rev-9

The Rev-9 is a new Terminator that can detach its mimetic polyalloy exterior from its exoskeleton and operate as two separate machines. The morphable exterior appears to be a variant of the famous T-1000 that turned the tide in the films as a liquid metal cyborg that could ooze and shift into any space. It’s also an infiltrator that has been programmed to exchange pleasantries with humans ... before it mimics their form and kills them.

Spoilers

For those who can nitpick a movie down to the digital participles, there are many questions that require no answer because it will only lead to disappointment:

Do a futuristic enhanced cyborg and cyborg-killing veteran need to sneak a mere human across a border when the fate of the world is in their hands?

Why does a shotgun slug slow the Rev-9 down but a rocket launcher has little impact?

Why don’t the ladies Google Earth/Map the coordinates to see what’s there before they romp out on their mission?

Fans who never grow weary of Terminations: 4 out of 5 T-101s

Fans who love action for the sake of action regardless of the plot: 4 out of 5 Terminatrixes

Fans who really want to say hasta la vista to megaquels: 2 out of 5 T-1000s

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt6450804/videoplayer/vi3183066905?ref_=tt_pv_vi_aiv_2
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