TERMINATOR: DARK FATE Delivers The Most Brutal Action Yet for The Franchise… But That’s It (4K Blu-ray Review)

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From producer James Cameron and director Tim Miller (Deadpool), comes “the Terminator movie we’ve been waiting for” (Scott Menzel, We Live Entertainment).  TERMINATOR: DARK FATE arrives on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, and DVD January 28 from Paramount Home Entertainment.

Decades after Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) prevented Judgment Day, a lethal new Terminator is sent to eliminate the future leader of the resistance. In a fight to save mankind, battle-hardened Sarah teams up with an unexpected ally (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and an enhanced super soldier to stop the deadliest Terminator yet. Humanity’s fate hangs in the balance in this action-packed thrill ride from Tim Miller, the director of Deadpool, and producer James Cameron.


Review

Tim Miller runs BLUR studios, the company responsible for that incredible “Heavy Metal” spiritual successor series ‘Love+Death+Robots’ and he’s directed Deadpool. The man knows nerdy and the man knows action/VFX – very well. Miller is a bad motherf***er, but I’m just gonna go ahead and say that for this film – Terminator Dark Fate – the story, acting, direction, performances (most of them anyway) were flat, boring, uninspired and borderline garbage (the worst acted Terminator film since Terminator 3). Terminator Dark Fate may have pulled a ‘Halloween 2018’ by skipping and disregarding every sequel post James Cameron’s T2, but to be honest — it wasn’t worth the dismantling of the franchise. Dark Fate is mixed bag in the worst and most confusing of ways.

It’s funny to me that Dark Fate opens with a scene from Cameron’s Terminator 2, because it’s the best acting you’ll see all movie and it’s not even from the film you’re about to watch. It’s a clip of Linda Hamilton warning her headcase doctors about the impending apocalypse and it is some of the most inspired shit you’ll ever see. It sets the tone for what is to come, but it also makes everything else that comes after a big ol’ letdown. You’ll find out what happened to John Connor (Sarah’s son and leader of the human resistance) and although it was a bit… jarring, it was kinda cool to see such a horrifying scenario come to fruition and it does add the most intriguing element of the film as we head into the third act (aka the only act that really matters in Dark Fate).

Miller and Cameron (who came back to do what exactly?) did an OK job trying to balance the old characters like Sarah and T-800 sorta kinda (Arnold Schwarzenegger) with the new ones, and for the most part they succeeded in that respect, but the newbies were SOOOOOO BORING. My god. This is the new leader of the resistance? Really? Natalia Reyes delivers such an uninspired performance that even when her family is being murdered left and right, I just… didn’t give a shit, mainly because she looks like her character doesn’t give a shit either. At one point in the film Sarah Connor tells Reyes’ character to shoot her target in the woods like it’s about to kill her family. She nails the target instantly, she’s immediately a badass. Problem is – her entire family literally just died already that same day? The previous day? I mean – who is writing this shit? The script felt like an outline that was never completed before filming started. Mackenzie Davis’ character is completely wasted after some intriguing backstory that never goes anywhere too. Shame on that one – she was pretty cool.

What saves Dark Fate (and it’s the same thing that saved Genysis sp? doesn’t matter) is the action and special effects. Holy shit were the effects and action sequences – BAD. ASS. I mean – even though our new terminator baddie couldn’t look more harmless or all that interesting (sorry Gabriel Luna) – the robot was still frightening because of how damn unstoppable it was. I genuinely felt at a loss when our main characters were trying to put this robotic monster down, especially in that thrilling showdown at the dam. Holy shit was that ever awesome. The fight choreography, stellar – the VFX, outstanding. What made the Terminator franchise so iconic for action nuts decades ago, lives on here in Dark Fate and in many ways, excels past its predecessors, especially in scale. Dark Fate may have had a shit story and subpar performances by pretty much everyone involved (sans Schwarzenegger – who kills it like he always does), but the damn thing is such a guilty pleasure that it’s impossible to pass up. I say go for it and just suck it up through all that shittiness. It’s worth it in the end.

Special Features

  • Deleted and Extended Scenes
  • A Legend Reforged
  • World Builders
  • Dam Busters: The Final Showdown
  • VFX Breakdown: The Dragonfly

There’s over an hour of special features included here and I liked most of them, including the ‘A Legend Reforged’ feature which kinda highlights everything about the creation of the film in a tight 20 minutes. I enjoyed seeing Tim Miller and how genuinely excited he was to be working on this movie. James Cameron is also there, wearing his coolest arctic sports shirt that he owns and it was funny hearing how Cameron was mostly involved with the writing aspect of the film and to try and keep Miller on track creatively in regards to the mythology and characters.

The film looked damn good in 4K UHD as well, however I did notice that for large chunks of the film, when it got dark (and this movie was surprisingly in the dark a lot) — it became a little tough to see what the hell was going on. I haven’t had this problem with other 4K UHD films set in the dark (like IT Chapter 2 etc), so that was surprising but it was tolerable. It certainly looked and sounds best when it’s during the daytime or well-lit action sequences which fortunately were plentiful. If you liked Dark Fate in theaters, buy this damn 4K Blu-ray. It’s gonna look dope on your TV, and there’s certainly enough special features worth your time as well. If you’re on the fence or you’re not a huge Terminator fan? Don’t bother. Plain and simple – this one is for the hardcore fans and action junkies only.

Rating: 3/5

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