In real-time, 28 years have passed. In movie time, it has been a couple of decades. A young Mexican couple are making out near a bridge when they notice sparks appearing in the deck of the bridge. A large familiar sphere appears, and a nude female figure falls from the sphere to the ground. When the couple goes to investigate, the police arrive and begin to question the couple about this semi-conscious nude female in their presence. At that moment, the female (Mackenzie Davis) puts a hurting on la policia and takes the young Mexican dude’s clothes and makes her way to find Daniela Ramos. Daniela lives with her brother Diego, an aspiring musician, and their father in Mexico City. Daniela wakes Diego as he and she work in an auto plant; she doesn’t want to be late. She also begs her father to make his doctor’s appointment.
After Daniela and Diego leave for work, sparks fly at their residence and who should turn up at their apartment but another terminator, a Rev-9 (Gabriel Luna) who quizzes their father on the whereabouts of Daniela. Soon after, D&D’s father turns up at their work location because his kids forgot their lunch. Except Diego points out that Daniela brought their lunch. Can you guess who Diego’s father is?
Of course, you can and that’s the problem with much of Terminator: Dark Fate. Much of what we see has either been revealed in the trailer, or it doesn’t take much thought to figure out what’s going on. The previously nude female has been sent to protect Daniela. She battles the Rev-9 on the factory floor and she—identifying herself as Grace—, Daniela and Diego escape in a truck with the Rev-9 in hot pursuit. Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) shows up and we’re off on another Terminator adventure.
The balance of the story is a mishmash and rehash of ideas out of originator James Cameron and a committee of storytellers and screenwriters that defy credulity. Cameron and his cohorts have devised a scenario where what happened before didn’t really happen. It’s the old problem of dealing with time travel except this time, we don’t really deal with it. We’re presented a story and expected to accept it, even though it’s banal and doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.
Don’t blame any of this on the actors or the director. The actors do a credible job with the story they’ve been given, and director Tim Miller has kept the action moving, perhaps in the hope that the script won’t catch up to him.
All-in-all, Terminator: Dark Fate is a disappointment. The return of Schwarzenegger, Hamilton and Cameron held out so much promise, and only Arnold and Linda delivered. Here’s hoping that Cameron is saving his best material for those Avatar sequels he’s been threatening us with.
If you must see this film, wait for home video.