Terminator: Dark Fate

Terminator: Dark Fate

2019, R, 128 min. Directed by Tim Miller. Starring Linda Hamilton, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mackenzie Davis, Natalia Reyes, Gabriel Luna.

REVIEWED By Richard Whittaker, Fri., Nov. 1, 2019

"There is no fate but what we make for ourselves" has been the refrain of the Terminator films since a deleted scene in the 1984 original, and now here comes the latest attempt to write a better outcome for the series about assassin robots sent back to curtail a future human insurrection before it can begin.

The franchise doesn't have a terrible history. It has two stone-cold classics of their times – the lo-fi original, and the defining 1990s action/sci-fi hybrid, Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Then there's the surprisingly bleak Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, the immemorable Terminator Salvation, and the heavy reboot of Terminator Genisys (can you even remember which of those was which?). Having wrested control of his franchise back, James Cameron ... well, does what he did with another deeply personal project, Alita: Battle Angel: hands it over to a director he trusts while he works on his Avatar sequels.

Pulling a Halloween 2019, Dark Fate erases the last three films, loops back around to the original duo, and then knocks all the pieces off the board in an opening sequence that could alienate long-term fans. It sets the stage for a new savior-in-waiting in Dani Ramos (Reyes), the target of a new breed of Terminator, the Rev-9 (Luna). It seems that the old apocalypse of Judgment Day never came to pass, but the universe (much like screenwriters Justin Rhodes, Billy Ray, and the bafflingly ubiquitous David S. Goyer) loves a remix: so out goes Skynet, in comes an AI called Legion with a robo-apocalypse of their own. Now, with no John Connor there's no Kyle Reese, so it's Davis as Grace – a human augmented with purloined Terminator tech – sent back to defend Dani.

Unfortunately, their do-over feels so very familiar. It's only with the return of Hamilton and Schwarzenegger as Sarah Connor and the (or rather, an) original Terminator, adrift in a new time stream, that the story finds real spark. Connor was always Hamilton's defining role, and the new direction for her character is a fitting resolution for the unwilling warrior. As for Arnie, this latest version of the T-800 is a fascinating addition to his recent run of roles that are as much a commentary on his earlier, iconic roles as they are standalone performances. Much as in lyrical zombie horror Maggie and survivor guilt drama Aftermath, he's an action hero trying to find a purpose after the violence. There's a fascinating inversion of where these characters end up that should have powered the film, because it's proof that Cameron captured lightning in a bottle when he cast them 35 years ago.

Yet that's not what the film is about, and that's a waste – not least because it's the tip of a script iceberg of half-thoughts and undeveloped concepts. There's an underlying subtext that the future, even at its most hopeless, is female and Latinx, but even with Reyes, Davis, and Hamilton as a supposedly ass-kicking trio, the theme goes nowhere. Dani and Grace are both sketches of characters, and neither actor fills in enough shading to make them central in their own film. Worst of all, Miller's action sequences – which should be the last, best-selling point for the franchise, when all else fails – feel flat and studio-bound. There's a lengthy fight in a plane's cargo bay as the flight goes into freefall, and when a CGI ape did it better in Rampage, that's a disappointment.

Terminator: Dark Fate is personified in the Rev-9. The new terminator is a nanite skin over a combat endoskeleton. It should be two for the price of one: Instead, it's the chassis of the original draped with the flesh of Robert Patrick's Judgment Day liquid metal shapeshifter. It's everything you loved before, just awkwardly kludged together.

Showtimes

Wed., Nov. 13

1:25, 4:35, 10:55

Wed., Nov. 13

1:05, 4:25, 7:45, 9:45

Thu., Nov. 14

12:00, 3:20, 6:40, 9:55

Fri., Nov. 15

12:45, 4:00, 7:20, 10:35

Sat., Nov. 16

10:35am, 2:35, 6:35, 10:55

Sun., Nov. 17

11:00am, 2:15, 5:25, 9:10

Mon., Nov. 18

11:30am, 2:45, 6:00, 10:00

Tue., Nov. 19

3:15, 6:00, 10:00
AFA 11:15am

Alamo Drafthouse Slaughter Lane

5701 W. Slaughter, 512/861-7060, drafthouse.com/austin/theater/slaughter-lane

Showtimes at this venue are subject to frequent change. Please confirm daily times by phone or website.

Wed., Nov. 13

12:50, 4:20, 10:00

Wed., Nov. 13

12:50, 4:05, 7:00, 10:15

Thu., Nov. 14

11:55am, 3:05, 6:20, 9:35

Fri., Nov. 15

12:40, 4:00, 7:10, 10:30

Sat., Nov. 16

12:00, 3:25, 7:00, 10:20

Sun., Nov. 17

12:00, 3:25, 7:00, 10:20

Mon., Nov. 18

12:00, 3:25, 7:00, 10:20

Tue., Nov. 19

3:25, 7:00, 10:20
AFA 12:00

Alamo Drafthouse Village

2700 W. Anderson #701, 512/861-7030, www.drafthouse.com/austin/theater/village

Tuesday matinee Baby Day shows (first show of the day) are intended for parents and their children younger than 6. Showtimes at this venue are subject to frequent change. Please confirm daily times by phone or website.

Wed., Nov. 13

1:10, 4:20, 7:30, 10:40

Thu., Nov. 14

1:05, 4:20

Barton Creek Square (AMC)

2901 South Capital of Texas Hwy, 512/306-1991, www.amctheatres.com

Matinee discounts available before 4pm daily. Bring Your Baby matinees the first Tuesday of every month.

Wed., Nov. 13

CC/DVS 12:00, 3:10, 6:30
CC/DVS, IMAX 12:50, 4:10, 7:30

Thu., Nov. 14

CC/DVS 12:00, 3:10, 6:30
CC/DVS, IMAX 2:00, 5:00

Fri., Nov. 15

CC/DVS 1:10, 4:20, 7:20, 10:20

Sat., Nov. 16

CC/DVS 1:10, 4:20, 7:20, 10:20

Sun., Nov. 17

CC/DVS 1:10, 4:20, 7:20, 10:20

Mon., Nov. 18

CC/DVS 1:10, 4:20, 7:20

Tue., Nov. 19

CC/DVS 1:10, 4:20, 7:20

Cinemark 20 and XD

N. I-35 & FM 1825, 512/989-8535

Cost for 3-D and XD shows is regular ticket price plus a premium.

Wed., Nov. 13

1:40, 4:55, 8:10
digital 11:45am, 12:35, 1:40, 2:50, 4:55, 6:00, 8:10, 9:15, 10:20

Thu., Nov. 14

10:25am, 1:40
digital 10:25am, 11:30am, 12:35, 1:40, 3:50, 4:55, 7:05, 8:10, 10:20

Cinemark Cedar Park

1335 E. Whitestone, Cedar Park, 800/326-3264

Call theatre for complete list of movies and showtimes.

Wed., Nov. 13

digital 1:00, 2:30, 4:10, 5:30, 7:10, 8:40, 10:15

Thu., Nov. 14

digital 1:00, 2:30, 4:00, 5:30, 8:40, 9:30

Wed., Nov. 13

digital 11:50am, 12:55, 3:00, 6:05, 7:30, 9:10, 10:30

Cinemark Round Rock

4401 N. I-35, Round Rock, 800/326-3264

Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium. Call theatre for complete March 26-28 showtimes.

Wed., Nov. 13

digital 11:45am, 1:25, 2:55, 4:30, 6:05, 7:45, 9:15, 10:50

Cinemark Southpark Meadows

9900 S. I-35, 800/326-3264

Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Wed., Nov. 13

digital 10:55am, 12:45, 2:05, 3:50, 5:15, 6:55, 8:20, 10:10

Cinemark Stone Hill Town Center

18820 Hilltop Commercial Dr., 512/251-0938, www.cinemark.com

Wed., Nov. 13

digital 12:30, 3:30, 6:20, 9:10

City Lights Theatre

420 Wolf Ranch Parkway, Georgetown, 512/868-9922

Wed., Nov. 13

12:40, 3:40, 6:40, 9:45

Thu., Nov. 14

12:40, 3:40, 6:40, 9:45

EVO Entertainment

3200 Kyle Crossing, Kyle, 512/523-9009, www.evo-entertainment.com

Wed., Nov. 13

10:30am, 1:20, 4:15, 7:05, 10:00

Thu., Nov. 14

10:30am, 1:30, 4:30

Flix Brewhouse

2200 S. I-35, Round Rock, 512/244-3549, www.flixbrewhouse.com/round-rock

Wed., Nov. 13

CC 12:30, 2:15, 5:30, 9:45

Thu., Nov. 14

CC 12:30, 3:00, 9:30

Fri., Nov. 15

CC 2:00, 5:30, 9:00

Sat., Nov. 16

CC 2:00, 5:30, 9:00

Sun., Nov. 17

CC 2:00, 5:30, 9:00

Mon., Nov. 18

CC 2:00, 5:30, 9:00

Tue., Nov. 19

CC 2:00, 5:30, 9:00

Galaxy Highland 10

6700 Middle Fiskville, 512/467-7305, www.galaxytheatres.com

No one under 18 will be allowed in the theatre on Friday or Saturday after 7pm without an adult.

Wed., Nov. 13

CC 10:15am, 1:20, 4:30, 7:40, 10:50

Thu., Nov. 14

CC 10:15am, 1:20, 4:00, 7:00, 10:00

Fri., Nov. 15

CC 1:10, 4:20, 7:30, 10:40

Sat., Nov. 16

CC 1:10, 4:20, 7:30, 10:40

Sun., Nov. 17

CC 1:10, 4:20, 7:30, 10:40

Mon., Nov. 18

CC 1:10, 4:20, 7:30, 10:40

Tue., Nov. 19

CC 1:10, 4:20, 7:30, 10:40

Gateway Theatre

9700 Stonelake, 512/416-5700

Discounts daily before 6pm. Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Wed., Nov. 13

CC/DVS 12:20, 3:10, 3:40, 6:40, 7:20, 9:50, 10:25

Thu., Nov. 14

CC/DVS 12:20, 3:10, 3:40, 6:40, 7:20, 9:50, 10:25

Hometown Cinemas

120 MLK Jr. Industrial Blvd. W, Lockhart, 512/398-4100, www.hometowncinemas.com

Wed., Nov. 13

11:00am, 1:45, 4:30, 7:10

Thu., Nov. 14

11:00am, 1:45, 4:30, 7:10

Fri., Nov. 15

11:00am, 1:45, 4:30, 7:10, 10:00

Sat., Nov. 16

11:00am, 1:45, 4:30, 7:10, 10:00

Sun., Nov. 17

11:00am, 1:45, 4:30, 7:10

Mon., Nov. 18

11:00am, 1:45, 4:30, 7:10

Tue., Nov. 19

11:00am, 1:45, 4:30, 7:10

iPic Theaters Austin

3225 Amy Donovan Plaza, 512/568-3400, www.ipic.com

Wed., Nov. 13

11:30am, 2:55, 6:15, 9:30

Thu., Nov. 14

12:35, 3:55, 7:00, 10:30

Fri., Nov. 15

11:45am, 3:00, 6:15, 9:30

Sat., Nov. 16

11:45am, 3:00, 6:15, 9:30

Sun., Nov. 17

11:45am, 3:00, 6:15, 9:30

Mon., Nov. 18

11:45am, 3:00, 6:15, 9:30

Tue., Nov. 19

11:45am, 3:00, 6:15, 9:30

AMC Lakeline 9

11200 Lakeline Mall Dr., Cedar Park, 512/335-4793

Discounts daily before 6pm.

Wed., Nov. 13

CC/DVS 3:45, 6:45, 9:40

Metropolitan

901 Little Texas, 512/447-0101

Discounts daily before 6pm. Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Wed., Nov. 13

CC/DVS 11:50am, 1:10, 3:00, 4:20, 6:30, 7:30, 9:40, 10:40

Thu., Nov. 14

CC/DVS 11:50am, 1:10, 3:00, 4:20, 7:30, 10:40

Moviehouse & Eatery

8300 N. FM 620, Bldg. B, 512/501-3520, www.themoviehouse.com/trails/

Wed., Nov. 13

12:45, 4:15, 7:30, 10:45

Thu., Nov. 14

12:45, 4:15, 7:30, 10:45

Fri., Nov. 15

12:55, 4:15, 7:30, 10:45

Sat., Nov. 16

12:55, 4:15, 7:30, 10:45

Sun., Nov. 17

12:55, 4:15, 7:30, 10:45

Mon., Nov. 18

12:55, 4:15, 7:30, 10:45

Tue., Nov. 19

12:55, 4:15, 10:35

Moviehouse & Eatery - Lantana Place

7415 Southwest Parkway, Building 7, 512/572-0770, www.themoviehouse.com/lantana/

Wed., Nov. 13

10:40am, 2:10, 5:35, 9:00

Thu., Nov. 14

10:40am, 2:10, 5:35, 9:00

Schulman Theatres Lost Pines 8

1600 Chestnut St, Bastrop, 512/321-0123, www.schulmantheatres.com

Wed., Nov. 13

9:55am, 1:10, 4:25, 7:35, 10:45

Thu., Nov. 14

10:05am, 1:15, 4:30, 7:40, 10:45

ShowBiz Cinemas 8 Marble Falls

2600 Hwy 281 North, Marble Falls

Call theatre for August 22-23 showtimes.

Wed., Nov. 13

4:00

Thu., Nov. 14

1:50

Sky Cinemas

13201 US-290, 512/457-0700, www.skycinemas.com

Wed., Nov. 13

12:30, 3:20, 6:10, 9:00

Thu., Nov. 14

12:30, 3:20, 6:10, 9:00

Wed., Nov. 13

12:15, 3:30, 6:45, 10:15

Thu., Nov. 14

10:55am, 1:50

Starplex 12 San Marcos

1250 Wonder World Drive, San Marcos, 512/805-8000

Wed., Nov. 13

12:45, 4:00, 7:15, 10:30

Thu., Nov. 14

12:30, 3:45, 7:15, 10:30

Fri., Nov. 15

12:15, 3:15, 6:15

Sat., Nov. 16

12:15, 3:15, 6:15

Sun., Nov. 17

12:15, 3:15, 6:15

Mon., Nov. 18

1:15, 4:15, 7:15, 10:15

Tue., Nov. 19

1:15, 4:15, 7:15, 10:15

Westgate 11

4477 S. Lamar, 512/899-2717

Discounts daily before 6pm. Cost for 3-D shows is regular ticket price plus a $3.50 premium.

Wed., Nov. 13

CC/DVS 11:10am, 2:05, 5:00, 7:00, 9:55

Thu., Nov. 14

CC/DVS 11:10am, 2:05, 9:55

Fri., Nov. 15

CC/DVS 11:55am, 2:50, 6:00, 9:00

Sat., Nov. 16

CC/DVS 11:55am, 2:50, 6:00, 9:00

Sun., Nov. 17

CC/DVS 11:55am, 2:50, 6:00

Mon., Nov. 18

CC/DVS 11:55am, 2:50, 9:20

Tue., Nov. 19

CC/DVS 11:55am, 2:50, 6:00, 9:00

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

Terminator: Dark Fate, Tim Miller, Linda Hamilton, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mackenzie Davis, Natalia Reyes, Gabriel Luna

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