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REVIEW: 'Terminator' stays tough, entertaining - now and in the future
REVIEW

REVIEW: 'Terminator' stays tough, entertaining - now and in the future

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A solid actioner that most likely will please longtime “Terminator” fans and newbies alike, “Terminator: Dark Fate,” is an enjoyable installment in a series that seems to be, well, timeless.

Can it be this all started back in 1984 with “The Terminator?” This is the sixth in the franchise, but I doubt it will be the last.

Essentially, this is a sequel to the first two movies directed by James Cameron (he didn’t direct this one, but he is listed as producer and story consultant, so it has the same feel as the first two.) It is directed by Tim Miller, who helmed the first “Deadpool” flick. Sometimes, momentarily, it has the same blend of action, in-your-face violence and dark humor as “Deadpool.”

“Dark Fate” picks up in the present day, more than 20 years after the events of “T2.” The actions of Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) prevent a future where people are hunted by machines dispatched by the artificial intelligence Skynet.

The movie opens with a batch of flashbacks, and one of them includes some startling new information (I’m not sure how purists will take this.)

Then we see a happy Mexico City family, including Dani Ramos (Natalia Reyes), her brother (Diego Boneta) and their dad. They’re happy, that is, until the new, even more deadly and capable Terminator (Gabriel Luna) arrives on a mission to destroy the bewildered Dani.

Grace (Mackenzie Davis, superlative in “Tully”), an enhanced soldier from the future, also arrives to save Dani’s life, along with — you guessed it — Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton.) The new version of the Terminator can split into two parts — a humanoid and a metallic robot — so whoever faces it has to pull double duty battle-wise.

Of course, there’s an older model of a Terminator on hand, too (that’s not a spoiler — it’s in the trailers.) I have to admit I smiled when I saw Hamilton and Schwarzenegger onscreen together in a moment that’s glorious for longtime fans.

The action starts just minutes into the movie, and even if you haven’t seen any of these films in a long time, you’ll be drawn back into the universe they have created.

I’m going to go so far as to call this a story of female empowerment. Just check out the setup. The leads are women at three different stages of life, and they’re every bit as tough as the men.

As for future spinoffs or sequels, that’s part of the setup. I don’t think we’ve seen the last of the “Terminator” franchise. As always, we’ll have to see what fate holds.

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Film critic/reporter since 1985 at Quad-City Times. Society of Professional Journalists, Broadcast Film Critics Association and Alliance of Women Film Journalists member. Member of St. Mark Lutheran Church.

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