- “Terminator: Dark Fate” is the newest film in the “Terminator” franchise, and focuses on the efforts of a group of women to defeat a robot assassin and save the future of humankind.
- Linda Hamilton, who played Sarah Connor in several previous “Terminator” movies, reprises her role in “Dark Fate,” as well as Arnold Schwarzenegger, who famously portrayed a Terminator in most of the franchise.
- The new film is a surprisingly feminist action film that’s a much-needed update to the franchise.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
“Terminator: Dark Fate” is the sixth movie in the “Terminator” franchise, but it provides a refreshing update to the outdated themes present in earlier films.
The new movie follows a young Mexican woman named Daniela (Dani for short), as she battles a hyper-advanced robot assassin (called a Terminator) that was sent from the future to kill her. Aiding Dani in her fight for survival is Grace, an augmented superhuman also sent from the near future, and Sarah Connor, a mainstay of the “Terminator” franchise whose main goal in life is to destroy Terminators as they make contact with humans.
While “Terminator: Dark Fate” can get predictable, the new characters and message of female empowerment make it a much-needed update to the franchise as a whole.
Why you should care: It’s the latest film in the ‘Terminator’ franchise, and features several characters from (and references to) the original films.
“Terminator: Dark Fate” is the first film in the franchise since “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” to include original director James Cameron (this time a producer), and is best viewed as a direct sequel to “T2.”
“Dark Fate” features a mostly new cast of characters, but some familiar faces do make an appearance, including Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor, and Arnold Schwarzenegger as the T-800 Terminator from the original 1984 film. And fans of the franchise will appreciate the numerous references made in “Dark Fate” to the earlier movies – including when Sarah tells Dani and Grace, “I’ll be back,” after incapacitating a Terminator for them.
What’s hot: With a largely female cast and message of empowerment, the new film feels like a step in the right direction for gender equality in film.
Most of the action in “Dark Fate” focuses on Dani, Grace, and Sarah as they attempt to destroy the Terminator sent back in time to kill Dani – who’s revealed to play a key part in the survival of humankind in an android-dominated near future. While it’s next to impossible to actually kill a Terminator, Dani, Grace, and Sarah do a pretty good job of slowing it down, and have some seriously impressive action sequences in the film.
It’s therefore not surprising that the film does an excellent job of empowering its female characters. While it would have been easy to make Dani, Grace, and even Sarah one-dimensional, they have clear morals and objectives. Most importantly, however, is the fact that it’s Dani herself who goes on to play a major role in the future of humanity – not her son, as was the case with Sarah in the original ‘Terminator” movie.
What’s not: Like other action movies, ‘Terminator: Dark Fate’ can quickly get predictable – and frequently portrays Mexicans in a stereotypical light.
As with most action movie sequels, “Dark Fate” relies heavily on its predecessors to move its plot forward. The story line of the new film is essentially ripped from the 1984 version of “Terminator,” and while it’s not unsuccessful -or boring to watch – a little originality would have done a lot for the film.
But probably the film’s most egregious mistake is the way it handles its Mexican characters. Dani, a Mexican national, has a dog named Taco (seriously), and an uncle who conveniently works as a coyote, or someone who smuggles people over the Mexican-American border. His profession comes in handy when she, Grace, and Sarah need to cross, but it’s still pretty offensive considering the stereotypes that continue to surround Mexican people.
Not helping matters is the fact that Grace, the superhuman sent from the future to protect Dani, is white – and frequently veers into white saviour territory.
There’s also a cringeworthy sequence at a border patrol detention centre, where the detained migrants are, in fact, held in large cages. “Dark Fate” doesn’t do much to handle the situation with grace – nor does it seem to take into account the current turmoil surrounding immigration in the US – and instead, plays off the woes of the immigrants as little more than background for a flashy action sequence.
The bottom line: Despite its flaws, ‘Terminator: Dark Fate’ is a much-needed update to the outdated franchise.
Even though the film’s feminist moments tend to be overshadowed by its ignorance in portraying Mexican people, it’s overall an entertaining (if slightly tone-deaf) watch. And within the context of the “Terminator” franchise as a whole, “Dark Fate” does an excellent job of putting women at the front and centre – and giving them the ability to create their own futures.
“Terminator: Dark Fate” is in theatres November 1. You can watch the trailer below.
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