The future is not set

Will Ferris
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Terminator: Dark Fate (15, 128 mins)

Arnie’s back, again (how many times is that now?) in James Cameron and Tim Miller’s direct follow up to Judgement Day – once considered to be the most expensive film ever made – and since overtaken by the likes of Avengers and Pirates of the Caribbean 33 and a third.

Having somehow survived three unsuccessful sequels since 1991, the Terminator franchise has become known for its repetitive storylines. So, without further ado let me try and jot this one down without spoiling the whole thing for you (believe me, it’s a tough one).

27 years ago, Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) prevented the apocalyptic Judgement Day and erased the genocidal supercomputer Skynet and its metal soldiers from history. In the present day, a new machine (Gabriel Luna) has time travelled back with an intended target, Dani Ramos (Natalia Reyes).

Following him with strict orders to protect is a super soldier called Grace (Mackenzie Davis), assisted by the ever-bitter Sarah and a ‘reformed’ T-800 called Carl, long since retired from service and settling into a mundane human life.

There’s a hypothetical problem with the film: it looks and sounds like a rehash. Just as Rambo has worn over time, as has Arnie’s endless saga of cyborg flicks. I wouldn’t be surprised if the writers stencilled the previous scripts one by one, film by film, dollar by dollar.

But luckily there’s a glimmer of hope with Dark Fate. It comes as a pleasant surprise to have a story that cleverly plays upon its previous instalments with interesting twists and developments that turn the story on its head, allowing both the characters and the commentary to evolve – reminiscent of The Force Awakens.

The script is intricate and clever in its execution, with even the action sequences making your jaw drop a little lower to the floor.

That’s all very well and good, but there’s still an unhealthy level of nostalgia to it all – nothing seems original, just advanced like the tin baddies.

Whilst Hamilton has hardly matured like a nice wine, the new cast shine in their own impressive ways. There are flaws, but it’s Hollywood. That’s guaranteed.

One thing’s for sure in this never-ending race, Dark Fate slides appropriately into third place beside the first two films. But for now, all it gains is a bronze.

RATING: 6/10