Dark Fate is a return to form for Terminator franchise
- Credit: Archant
Set 27 years after the cataclysmic events of Terminator 2: Judgment Day, when Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) and son John (Edward Furlong) erased Skynet from our future timeline, the bombastic sixth chapter in the ageing franchise enjoys a welcome software upgrade in the shadow of the MeToo movement.
Scriptwriters David S. Goyer, Justin Rhodes and Billy Ray hardwire a belated sequel to the second chapter with a trio of strong-willed and gutsy female characters, who are mistresses of their own rubble-strewn destiny.
These flawed, self-sacrificing heroines are the heart and soul of director Tim Miller's entertaining gallop down memory lane, which melds precious metals from previous instalments with a touching mother-daughter relationship against a backdrop of large-scale destruction and slam-bang digital effects.
The long-awaited on-screen reunion of Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger is withheld until the muscular second hour, delivering a surprisingly touching pay-off amidst the usual blitzkrieg of earth-shaking pyrotechnics and hand-to-metal combat.
Nuance has never been in the series' armoury and with James Cameron reinstated as producer, Terminator: Dark Fate gleefully wages war on land, underwater and in the clouds, including a dizzying set piece orchestrated inside the cargo bay of the US Air Force's largest transport aircraft.
Mankind's unlikely saviour is kind-hearted and unassuming Daniella Ramos (Natalia Reyes), who works on the assembly line of Arius Motors in Mexico City alongside her lazybones brother (Diego Boneta).
She is, unknowingly, the touchpaper of a powerful resistance, which will rise out of the smouldering ashes of mankind's downfall and retaliate against the machines.
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Daniella is targeted for extermination by Legion, an artificial intelligence created in the future for the purposes of cyberwarfare.
Legion dispatches a liquid metal Terminator, the Rev-9 (Gabriel Luna), to kill Dani.
An augmented human soldier named Grace (Mackenzie Davis), who can unleash short bursts of bone-shattering power, materialises on the factory floor in the nick of time to protect Dani, setting in motion a thrilling demolition derby that proves the Terminator films are frequently at their best on four wheels.
Grizzled, gun-toting Sarah Connor (Hamilton), who has dedicated her life to eliminating the mechanised monstrosities, enters the fray and pledges to protect Dani.
"Why do you care what happens to her?" asks Graces.
"Because I was her," growls Sarah, "and it sucks."
Terminator: Dark Fate trades unabashedly on nostalgia, largely ignoring the disappointing third to fifth films to reboot the time-travelling battle royale between woman and machine.
Action sequences are orchestrated with gung-ho abandon by Miller, who entrusts a handful of droll one-liners to his Austrian leading man in the soothing lulls between each digitally augmented storm.
"I'll be back," quips Hamilton's raspy-voiced avenging angel, stealing her co-star's catchphrase as an alternate unknown future rolls towards us.
Terminator: Dark Fate is now showing at the Light Cinema in Wisbech. For screening dates, times and tickets visit https://wisbech.lightcinemas.co.uk/terminator-dark-fate