Terminator: Dark Fate: What Else?

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Terminator: Dark Fate bears the visual stamp of James Cameron, regardless of the screen credit. Cameron understands a good action sequence is made with little bits of film; shots of only a few frames, that when edited together moves the action faster than the eye can behold, creating the action more in the mind of the viewer.

To my knowledge no review of the film mentions the superb sound effects. The clash of metal on metal and the stunning boom of gunfire finishing the job of selling the action established by the visuals.

When many younger directors give us women characters who are little more than victims, sex objects, or are puked on as punishment for being women , Cameron has created three strong women to meet their Dark Fate. He is unique in this regard.

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The real challenge for the writers and the stunt gaffer is to keep fresh the action that would grow repetitious under a lesser hand. In the final battle we know where the action leads; the defeat of the Terminator and survival of the girl, but the path to the conclusion keeps us guessing.

After the focus briefly shifts to Arnold the Terminator known as Carl, we share a cinematic moment when he considers dawning a pair of sunglasses, reminiscent of his ‘I’ll be back’ killing machine days. He picks-up the glasses, considers them for a short moment, and places them back on the table. He has chosen to meet his Dark Fate, the fate he knew inevitable, as a human.

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The narrative almost stumbles as it moves along, searching for ways to move the characters closer to the industrial end. You can almost hear the story conferences considering vehicles to get them there. “What if Grace can pilot a helicopter?” If she can fly that, why not a cargo jet? Ha, an Air Force C-5 Galaxy cargo jet?”

I for one, wondered how the Rev-9 Terminator found the KC-10 Extender aerial refueling tanker, took-off without being shot down and managed to track the C-5 Galaxy so quickly.

The first two Terminator film did not suffer from plot elements so thin.

Sarah was not armed this time with her iconic 1911 .45 ACP, a favorite of serious shooters. The M72 Light Anti-Tank Weapon rocket launcher had to do. Once anyway.

That’s all. For now, anyway.

About John Welsh

When I was young, cinema was my religion and the theater was my church. No matter how bad new releases may appear, my faith endures. I have worked in movie post-production, production, as a story analyst, property master, script supervisor; just about anything that is required in low budget, nonUnion films.