The meaning behind Terminator: Dark Fate may well on how destiny can’t be changed. Sarah Connor tried to keep her young son John safe and in the future, the elder version reprogrammed a T-800 to prevent his death. When Skynet can mess with the past by sending a bunch of robot assassins to various moments in time, the inevitable has to happen and the question has to be asked, do they go Back to the Future?
A lot of questions are raised in light of the grander picture. Time travel stories are always going to be a head scratcher because of the effects of Schrödinger’s cat in the timeline. Robert Zemeckis’ film (and Legends of Tomorrow) explains that alternate time-lines can be shut down so long the heroes act fast enough before the effects become permanent. That way, only one continuity exists. James Cameron (who’s taking far too long to make sequels to Avatar) returned to his seminal creation to say everything we saw that he wasn’t involved in is all alternate universe material.
With this franchise now 35 years old, it’s going to need fresh blood because Arnold Schwarzenegger will keep on aging and the reason why he looks that old is perfectly explained. Plus, Linda Hamilton can’t keep kicking butt forever. Despite Cameron’s love for digital filmmaking to replace the human element, you can’t de-age everyone or create computer made facsimiles.
The original two films was all about ‘no fate,’ and being able to rewrite what lays ahead. Although Skynet is wiped, destiny will have something else emerge. the inevitable is simply delayed. Machines will devour all.
Terminator: Dark Fate reveals a new threat, an AI with an ominous name of Legion. It was originally designed for cyber warfare. Whether the biblical connections are intentional, a different Armageddon is set to occur in 2042. This time, a Rev-9 (Gabriel Luna) assassin is after Dani Ramos (Natalia Reyes) and it’s up to Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) and Grace (Mackenzie Davis) to protect the young lady!
The endgame is to destroy a future that Dani is a pivotal part of. The details on why she is important took too long to get to and all I wanted to see is Hamilton and Schwarzenegger. Sarah is still tough as nails and the T-800 has softened. Both are in fine form as an older, grizzled version of their respective roles. She was an innocent tossed into a war (only to become like Rambo in the end) and other now without a purpose. While the film gives reasonable explanations in a short amount of time, I can see the details being padded out if Arnie asks for his own film to follow in the life Logan of the X-men once sought for.
Although Cameron is back as executive producer and co-writer, other individuals have a stake and they are more like investors than dedicated storytellers. All we as fans can hope is that they’re behind Cameron’s vision.
Shifting the focus to Dani will keep the franchise looking new for the next 20 years, if it continues. The threat is far worse as the robot killers have new symbiotic technology at their disposal. Rev-9 is a Black Panther given an endoskeleton to augment the tar like nanotech! Luna is a cool choice not because he was Ghost Rider in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. This actor doesn’t have a lot of lines, much like how the T-1000 (Robert Patrick) came into the scene, and it’s his silent brooding intensity which sells his presence.
One detail I was curious about includes why Terminator: Dark Fate features Hispanic actors? It might be alluding to the possibility Legion’s base of operations is in Mexico. It’s unlikely to connect to connect to this country’s past and the warriors which once prowled in the jungles. And unless there’s a new Predator film in the works, these two warriors are not likely to square off in the cinema front (despite what the comic books offered).
Dark Horse Comics has material to draw from and fans can only hope storylines are developed in light of this movie. The last publication was in 2014 and it put the extended universe involving Skynet to a close (crossover titles notwithstanding). This new film establishes a meaner AI which in theory exists in the cloud. That is, it’s a sentient roaming force that can take over other computer systems and replicate itself if need be, otherwise why call it Legion? The threat cannot be contained much like how the Rev-9 was defeated, and to explore this can make for some great new reading in the style of The Matrix to explore.
3 Stars out of 5