"Reel Reviews: ‘Terminator: Dark Fate’ ignores 3 previous films with Cameron back at helm" by: Jessica Shepard

   It’s been nearly 30 years since James Cameron dabbled in the “Terminator” franchise and it shows.
   Well, mostly to hardcore fans at least.
   But, “Terminator: Dark Fate” definitely nods back to the originals and has brought back Linda Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
   I’ve been a fan of the original Cameron-lead films since day one and the more recent additions have always felt like they fell short for me.
   Granted, they were directed by different people but, “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, “Terminator Salvation,” and “Terminator Genisys” always felt wrong or off to me.
   Cameron has gone on record saying that Dark Fate is a direct sequel to his first two iterations and the other movies, and the TV show “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles” happen in alternate timelines.
   Which is as good a science fiction excuse as any.
   The film stars Linda Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger returning in their roles of Sarah Connor and the T-800 “Terminator,” respectively, and also includes Mackenzie Davis, Natalia Reyes, Diego Boneta, and Gabriel Luna as new characters.
   In 1998, three years after averting the threat of Skynet, Sarah and John Connor live a life of peace, oblivious that Skynet sent multiple Terminators back through time prior to its erasure.
   They are soon attacked by a T-800 Terminator, which shoots John dead before disappearing.
   Twenty-two years later, an advanced Terminator, the Rev-9 (Luna), is sent back in time to Mexico City, to murder Daniella “Dani” Ramos (Reyes).
   But, the humans sent back a cybernetically enhanced soldier, Grace (Davis), is sent to protect her.
      The Rev-9, disguised as her father, infiltrates the assembly plant where Dani and her brother Diego (Boneta) work, but is thwarted by Grace, who escapes with the siblings.
   The Rev-9, revealing its ability to split itself into its cybernetic endoskeleton and shape-shifting liquid metal exterior, goes after them, killing Diego and cornering Grace and Dani.
   However, Sarah (Hamilton) arrives and temporarily disables the Terminator with explosives.
   Dani, Grace, and Sarah retreat to a motel where Grace recovers from overexerting herself.
   Sarah reveals that she found them because, in the years since John’s death, she has received mysterious messages detailing the locations of arriving Terminators, each ending with “For John.”
   Grace notes that neither Skynet nor John exists in her alternate timeline.
   Instead, humanity is threatened by an AI called Legion, designed for cyberwarfare.
   Legion controlled servers worldwide and, in desperation, humanity tried to neutralize it with nuclear devices, resulting in a nuclear holocaust and the AI building a global network of machines to exterminate the human survivors.
   Grace traces Sarah’s messages to Laredo, Texas, as they evade the Rev-9 and the authorities.
   Arriving at the source, they discover the T-800 (Schwarzenegger) that murdered John.
   Stranded in an altered timeline and left purposeless after completing its objective, the T-800 began to learn from humanity.
   Eventually, it developed a conscience, taking the name “Carl” and adopting a human family.
   Learning of how its own actions had affected Sarah, and capable of detecting and anticipating arriving Terminators, it decided to send her messages to give her purpose.
   While I’ve noticed some flak online for changing the “savior of humanity” from John Connor to Dani Ramos; it really doesn’t detract too much from a re-hash of the same old story.
   AI sentience and eventual takeover leads to human and world destruction and creates a need for someone to lead the resistance – that’s it.
   Terminators still terminate and humanity keeps hanging on, which makes for an action-packed viewing experience.
   Dark Fate is rated R for violence throughout, language and brief nudity and has grossed over $123 million worldwide.

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