Terminator: Dark Fate (2019): ‘Let it Die’ – A Film Review

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The Terminator, perhaps single handedly launched James Cameron into the public eye. It made for one of the darkest but most powerful Science Fiction films, about a dystopian robotic future that is inescapable. In the way that only James Cameron seemingly can, its sequel furthered this idea and launched it into an extravagant action film. The franchise of The Terminator is upon us. James Cameron moved on to other projects and very quickly The Terminator franchise managed to fall with his departure. Problems that were hinted with Terminator 2: Judgement Day started shining their ugly heads. The partnered problems of upping the ante and the technology, and the repetitiveness of these machines going back in time – just how many of these machines did they send? – starting to give the franchise wear and tear. Terminator Salvation tried to expand the story into the war that had only been referred to, but this removed so many of the franchise main stays by now. So the franchise fumbled from to film until Terminator: Dark Fate threw in its take on the concept.

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What Happens Next?

Linda Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger are back, whilst James Cameron is back on to produce and develop the story. It is also said that this film forgets the lesser favoured films of the franchise. Picking up a timeline from Terminator 2: Judgment Day. With all this messing around, it is surprising to see that not much has changed with the franchise. Many echoes of earlier films, whether from favourites or not, are still here. They’re bored and stale and in case you didn’t get it, the film patronises you with music cues. The new additions to the concept only really lie with taking control of ones fate. Is the future predetermined or what we make our own? Whilst is it human to love and to care for a family or can a machine do this too? Only this was all done, and better, in Terminator 2: Judgement Day. It isn’t, in fact, new; it is just, in fact, far too on the nose here.

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The Updates

Outweighing this, we have the fight scenes and the updated technology for modern audiences. This might work to update ideas for contemporary audiences. But the technology gets lost in more and more unbeatable ideas. It removes tension and melds ideas into limitless possibilities. Whilst action scenes lose a sense of imagination or gritty edge in favour of CGI infested moment after moment. The set pieces get big, the backgrounds get bigger, the vehicles change constantly and we size up and up. But it all loses its tension and its dramatic core, its emotional impact and therefore, all entertainment.

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For a film that boasts doing something new and exciting, trying to breathe new life into a dead franchise, Terminator: Dark Fate just doesn’t. There’s nothing new or impactful about anyones return; nor is there anything within the concept, sequences, spectacle or more importantly the themes. The Terminator was a franchise raised and killed by Terminator 2: Judgment Day, it was the final good film and any attempts at recovering it are as useless as dirty fingers rummaging through the fresh mud of a grave. It should be left alone. There is no evidence that it’s a franchise that can be continued with any merit.



John Connor (Jude Collie/Edward Furlong) is killed by a Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger), leaving Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) to continually hunt Terminators until she comes to find a human, Grace (Mackenzie Davis), that was sent back to protect Dani (Natalia Reyes). Feeling Dani is much like her John, she elects to help Grace and Dani.




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A Note on My Reviews

Please read ‘On Reviews‘ for a guide to how I write film reviews. Any spoilers are appropriately marked and, though I personally prefer to know little about a film before seeing it, there is a synopsis below the review for any who wish to see one.


Films Mentioned

Terminator 2: Judgement Day (d. James Cameron USA 1991)

Terminator: Dark Fate (d. Tim Miller USA/SpainHungary 2019)

Terminator Salvation (d. McG USA/Germany/UK/Italy 2009)

The Terminator (d. James Cameron USA/UK 1984)


Further Reading



Official Site

James Cameron Interview

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton Interview

Full Cast Interviews

Behind the Scenes


Easter Eggs

10 Connections to Previous Films


If you liked this

The Predator (2018): ‘And What Went Wrong?’ – A Film Review

Alien Covenant (2017) – A Film Review

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018): ‘Lizard Skins’ – A Film Review

Alita: Battle Angel (2019): ‘The Heart of a Good Heroine’ – A Film Review


This was an analytical review of….


Terminator: Dark Fate (d. Tim Miller USA/SpainHungary 2019)

Terminator Dark Fate Still

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