Film Review-Terminator: Dark Fate

This image released by Paramount Pictures shows Linda Hamilton, left, and Arnold Schwarzenegger in “Terminator: Dark Fate.”

Even hybrid cyborg humans can get long of tooth. That’s a bit of the problem with “Terminator: Dark Fate.” You can’t have a Terminator movie without Arnold Schwarzenegger, and the former Governator is now 72.

However, the best thing about this sixth entry in the Terminator franchise is the return of Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor. And she is 63.

Of course, Hamilton is no longer the fit Lara Croft-style action star we remember, but in this new Terminator movie she holds her own admirably. An actress named Jessi Fisher served as Hamilton’s stuntwoman and as the body double for a younger Sarah Connor. In addition, new CGI techniques were applied to recreate Hamilton’s facial likeness from the early 1990s for the flashback scenes.

Also, Arnie has a body double (Brett Azar) for him as a young T-800. And CGI recreated Schwarzenegger’s facial likeness from the flashback scenes.

To add an additional youth factor, “Terminator: Dark Fate” features 32-year-old Natalia Reyes as Dani, a young woman targeted for termination by a new advanced Rev-9 android assassin. Also 32-year-old Mackenzie Davis joins in as Grace, a soldier converted into a cyborg and sent from the year 2042 to protect her younger self from the deadly Rev-9.

In this latest episode we find that T-800 Model 101 (Schwarzenegger) has gained autonomy from his original programming and integrated himself into human society. Now known as Carl, he joins forces with Sarah and Grace to help protect Dani against the Legion’s futuristic killing machines.

Having been transported from the future to kill Daniella “Dani” Ramos, the Rev-9 (Gabriel Luna) infiltrates a factory where she works alongside her brother Diego. This Terminator attempts to kill her but is thwarted by Grace. But as we know, these killing machines are like the Energizer Bunny. They “keep going and going and going ...”

“Terminator: Dark Fate” is currently fighting its cyberwars at AMC Classic Towne Crossing 8, 925 W. Andrew Johnson Highway.

The film was directed by Tim Miller (“Deadpool”). James Cameron (“Titanic,” “Avatar”) returns to produce and co-write this latest film, his first involvement in the franchise since “Terminator 2” back in 1991.

Cameron convinced Hamilton (his former wife) to reprise her role of Sarah Conner.

She says the triple Oscar-winner emailed her a list of pros and cons about returning to the series. “All I remember were the cons,” she grins. “If it’s not a good movie, it’s going to look like a shameless money grab. Like, oh, she’s just back because they offered her a ton of money.”

They did.

But Hamilton insists she made up her own mind, deciding that the time was right for a reunion with Arnold Schwarzenegger. Her face lights up when her co-star and longtime pal Arnie is mentioned. “I just had this rush of affection for him that was unexpected,” she says. “I just hugged him the entire time. I was really surprised by how happy I was to be with him again.”

Hamilton says she was mostly concerned about people comparing her to a younger version of herself. “A lot of the fan base cannot accept anything that is a departure from what you’ve done,” says Hamilton. “But 28 years have passed. I don’t have the same body I did back then!”

And a Terminator action movie is very physically demanding. “My elbow hurts and my left shoulder hurts,” she says, rubbing them.

But mission accomplished: Sarah Conner is back. “Obviously, the baton will be handed to Natalia Reyes,” nods Linda Hamilton. “She’s such an important component of this new version and we’ll see where it goes from here … but as long as I can do my job well, I’m in.”

Shirrel Rhoades is a film critic and former media executive. He previously served as executive vice president of Marvel Entertainment and has produced several movies and documentaries. He was also a senior faculty member of New York University’s Center for Publishing. He lives in Key West, Florida, and Lake Lure, North Carolina. Contact him at

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