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Terminator Dark Fate

The Terminator franchise returns to the big screen with its sixth cinematic release, Terminator: Dark Fate. Unfortunately for those who look forward to tales of cyborg assassins from the future, Dark Fate winds up being noticeably unremarkable. Dark Fate picks up the tale of Sarah Conner (Linda Hamilton), many years after her initial encounter with the terminators and the eventual destruction of Skynet. The film cashes in on this core concept relatively well, and it takes some risks early on that keep it from being a complete formulaic mess. As the film unfolds, however, the momentum languishes, and Dark Fate begins to rely on action to get by rather than a compelling script.

It’s hard to tell exactly where Dark Fate goes wrong. All the necessary ingredients are there, but the combination doesn’t work as intended onscreen. The pacing feels off, making Dark Fate’s transitions choppy and the storytelling disjointed. Similarly, the character development doesn’t quite hit the mark. Here we find that, analytically, we can understand where each character is coming from, as the film insists on explaining it to us in no uncertain terms. However, when it comes to the emotional side of the equation, Dark Fate lets us down, making it hard to really identify or sympathize with any of the characters or their plight.

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Despite these weaknesses, Terminator: Dark Fate is an exemplary action flick, providing lots of breakneck sequences and cool slow-motion robot slugfest action. In a franchise known for firefights and explosions, Dark Fate does its job and lives up to expectations. Conceptually, Dark Fate provides a story that is relatively interesting. Divergent timelines, an uncertain future and an inevitable takeover by sentient machines are all represented well in Dark Fate and serve the franchise with distinction. As is par for the course this time around, we find that Dark Fate falls apart in execution, and the viewing experience doesn’t live up to what the film promises.

Terminator: Dark Fate manages to entertain but provides little that is exceptional or noteworthy. Perhaps this was to be expected from a franchise that has lost a lot of its luster with its last few mediocre entries. For those hoping that this film would reinvigorate the franchise or bring back the glory days of Terminator 2: Judgement Day, Dark Fate will likely provide only disappointment.

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