PG Score: 6.75/10
Terminator: Dark Fate was decent overall, albeit very hit-and-miss. It did a lot well, but there were departments with much left to be desired. First and foremost, the action. It’s far and away the highlight here. The set pieces were for the most part very strong, the first one in particular. This first big action scene was borderline spectacular. It was fast, fluid, heavy-hitting, and extensive without feeling too drawn out. It featured a lot of punchy gunplay, visceral melees, and most impressively, dazzling vehicular combat. My jaw was open at certain points during this frenetic sequence. Unfortunately, after this haymaker of an opening, it loses some steam and continues to lose it pretty consistently for quite a while. I understand the need for build-up, but it went on for far too long.
There are new characters introduced in Terminator: Dark Fate and this is one of those hit-and-miss areas. I found Grace to be a fantastic addition to the franchise. While many people will say Linda Hamilton is the highlight, I’d argue that Mackenzie Davis shines the brightest. Her performance was the standout for me. She was strong, confident, and delivered her lines with the most believability. Hamilton honestly just seemed like she was reeling off a bunch of one-liners, many of which were clearly supposed to be crowd pleasers and just fell flat. It was too casual and frankly a bit lazy to just rely so heavily on the success of the masterful originals. Dani, on the other hand, I thought was quite an annoying character. It wasn’t so much Natalia Reyes’ acting as it was the character itself. She just wasn’t very interesting and didn’t seem to contribute much at all. Arnie is used very well in his role reprisal. He has limited screen time, which isn’t a bad thing. That time is used very effectively. The plot got pretty convoluted about halfway through. The dots that were being connected were done so with leaps and bounds of reaches. I know the movie revolves around killer-robots, but I can only suspend so much disbelief. Some of it was downright nonsensical. It would’ve been nice if they added on to the story in a more logical manner. With a runtime of over two hours, the dragging is most evident towards the middle. There are a few good action scenes peppered in there, but not enough to keep the pacing moving fluidly. This should’ve been clipped down to 1:40 or so. There’s a lot of wasted space in the dialogue during the downtime in between action. The finale was strong and featured a few high notes, but nowhere near the quality of the opening. You could definitely feel the return of James Cameron during the best parts of this flick. Other times, you wouldn’t even think he watched the movie. This all goes back to that hit-and-miss theme. In comparison to the first two in the franchise, not only is Terminator: Dark Fate not in the same arena...it didn’t even make it to the parking lot. With that being said, I’d put it at the third best in the franchise and definitely deem it worthy of a visit to the theater.