"Terminator: Dark Fate" is out in cinemas!
Like it or not, the "Terminator" series is one of those Hollywood franchises that refused to call it quits.
1) The return of Linda Hamilton
Ask [most] fans and like-minded viewers and they would say the first two "Terminator" movies remain the best in the series. Even with all the increasingly inflated budgets, CGI technology and whatnots, the subsequent "Terminator" movies from part 3 to 5 were largely greeted with mixed-to-exceptionally poor responses, but since the rights for the "Terminator" series has now reverted to original franchise helmer James Cameron, it comes as no surprise that he chose to revisit and course-correct the movie once and for all.
Although he doesn't serve as the director of the movie (which is, frankly, a pity since he's too busy prepping not one, but four "Avatar" sequels), he still involved in a different capacity including writing the story treatment and receiving a producer credit.
Now, with "Terminator: Dark Fate" in cinemas, here is what to expect in this third (though technically, sixth) instalment of the "Terminator" franchise:
Linda Hamilton's back in action as Sarah Connor in "Terminator: Dark Fate".
Remember Linda Hamilton? She may have fallen off the radar, particularly in the mainstream Hollywood circuit where her last notable appearance would be Roger Donaldson's volcano-centric disaster movie "Dante's Peak" alongside Pierce Brosnan, but for all the roles she had played, she remains best known for her iconic Sarah Connor in the first two "Terminator" movies released in 1984 and 1991 respectively. It was the very role that made her not only a Hollywood star but also an everlasting icon that represents a strong female character. And despite the fact her role has been subsequently taken over by other actresses including two "Game Of Thrones" alumnus Lena Headey (TV's short-lived "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles") and Emilia Clarke (2015's "Terminator Genisys), Linda Hamilton remains the one and only Sarah Connor. It sure took her long enough to return to the franchise - 28 years, to be exact - and thanks to James Cameron's involvement, the now 63-year-old Linda Hamilton is finally back. Since this would probably be the last time she's going to reprise her iconic role, it's high time she deserved a proper send-off or closure once and for all.
2) Arnold is back... but not what you expect
Arnold Schwarzenegger plays "Carl" in "Terminator: Dark Fate".
If there's one thing significantly different about the trailers and previews, it was clear that "Terminator: Dark Fate" is no longer solely an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie. A leading man's action vehicle, to be exact and it's perfectly understandable because like it or not, his once-dominant star power of back in his glory days of the 80s and 90s era is no longer there. So, what we have here is Arnold Schwarzenegger returning to the franchise (though, this is not his first time since "Terminator 2: Judgment Day") as a supporting character instead, under a curious name simply known as "Carl". He may no longer be the lead in his own franchise, but rest assured his otherwise supporting role gets his worth in "Terminator: Dark Fate".
3) Introducing Rev-9, the new Terminator antagonist
Gabriel Luna plays the new Terminator antagonist with splitting abilities,
Rev-9 in "Terminator: Dark Fate".
Likewise, no "Terminator" movies would be complete without an antagonist. In "The Terminator", it was Arnold's then-antagonist role as T-800 sent from the future to kill Sarah Connor. And in the 1991 sequel, Robert Patrick was introduced as the advanced Terminator with shape-shifting liquid metal abilities codenamed T-1000, sent from the future to kill Sarah's only son, John Connor (Edward Furlong). This time, "Terminator: Dark Fate" brings us Rev-9, an upgraded Terminator prototype who has dual functions capable of splitting himself into two - one a T-1000-like morphing liquid ability, albeit in black-tar colour and another one is a metal endoskeleton which echoes the likes of the T-800 model. Played by Gabriel Luna, the Texas native is best known for his role of Robbie Reyes/Ghost Rider in TV's "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D."
4) A sequel that is more female-driven
Linda Hamilton and Mackenzie Davis in "Terminator: Dark Fate".
"Terminator: Dark Fate" marks a significant change of pace in the franchise's 35-year-old history. As you can see, the last five movies since the 1984 original were more of testosterone-driven blockbuster features. Sure, Linda Hamilton's Sarah Connor did serve as an integral part of the first two films but let's face it, it was mainly promoted as Arnold Schwarzenegger's movies. Well, it is clear that times have changed and swapping genders to lead a franchise/blockbuster movie has since become a norm these days. "Terminator: Dark Fate" will prominently focus on three female characters - both recurring and new ones - including Linda Hamilton's Sarah Connor, Mackenzie Davis' Grace and Natalia Reyes' Dani Ramos. It may sound like a desperate change just to make itself culturally relevant in today's Hollywood climate, but let's not forget that James Cameron's movies were always about female empowerment as early as his first "Terminator" movie right down to this year's "Alita: Battle Angel". So, it comes off as a natural shift of gender-swapping moves where the female characters lead a "Terminator" movie.
5) The last three "Terminator" movies are non-canon
Arnold Schwarzenegger in "Terminator Genisys", the fifth movie that isn't
part of the official "Terminator" canon.
In case you are not aware of this (particularly those who don't follow entertainment news updates), "Terminator: Dark Fate" serves a direct sequel to "The Terminator" and "Terminator 2: Judgment Day". Which also means this latest sequel would take place after the events of the second movie. The rest of the three instalments (2003's "Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines", 2009's "Terminator Salvation" and 2015's "Terminator Genisys") were instead served as completely non-canon. Think of the same strategy previously done in David Gordon Green's "Halloween" last year, which ignored the existence of previous nine instalments by retconning it as a direct sequel to John Carpenter's 1978 original and you'll get the idea. Even James Cameron himself once quoted in the Hollywood Reporter back in 2017: "We're pretending the other films ["Terminator 3-5"] were a bad dream. Or an alternate timeline, which is permissible in our multi-verse."
Cinema Online, 28 October 2019