Please let Terminator’s dark fate be curtains now
Hybrid cyborgs, high-octane action and drapes feature in Tim Miller’s new addition to the franchise. But it's just not much fun any more
Frantic, sad, tired and imbecilic. That describes the better bits of Terminator: Dark Fate.
I wanted to take aside this cyborg sequel’s creators, from director and co-writer Tim Miller to executive producer and story collaborator James Cameron (yes, him), and tell them to try reading Proust. Sometimes there is more excitement in a page of deeply thought, deeply characterised inaction than in two hours of berserk crash-bang-kerpow involving cipher human(oid)s.
Who cares about hybrid cyborg Grace (sheeny, inexpressive Mackenzie Davis), colourless Mexican Dani (Natalia Reyes) — a factory worker with a destiny whom Grace is protecting — or their pursuing antagonist, the galumphingly dull Rev-9 android (Gabriel Luna), whose novelty skill is to turn to puddles of sticky black liquid.
Poor Linda Hamilton, of the first Terminator, is pulled from semi-retirement to play senior citizen Sarah Connor. She looks ravaged and unhappy: no fun here either. In fact nothing is fun — not even the colliding planes action sequence in mid-movie that sets the computer-generated image skies on fire — until the arrival of, yes, you guessed, Governor Schwarzenegger.
He plays Carl, our T1 and T2 android now living incognito in a cabin-workshop bearing the sign “Carl’s Drapes”. A wit-starved filmgoer is finally offered some moments of licensed hilarity. Carl waxes eloquent, in that sombre Teutonic monotone issuing from the Aku-Aku Arnie head, about curtains.
“One wrong choice can ruin a room,” he booms. This surely has the mileage for a sitcom. Planet of the Drapes. Netflix, sign now.
The rest of the movie doesn’t have the mileage even for a movie. It is surely time for the Terminator series to lower, as Carl might express it, the curtain.
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