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'Terminator: Dark Fate' returns to the past to move into the future

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Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton star in Skydance Productions and Paramount Pictures' "TERMINATOR: DARK FATE." (Photo: Paramount Pictures)

Terminator: Dark Fate
3 out of 5 Stars
Director:
Tim Miller
Writers: James Cameron, Charles H. Eglee, Josh Friedman, David S. Goyer, Justin Rhodes, Billy Ray, Gale Anne Hurd (characters)
Starring: Natalia Reyes, Linda Hamilton, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mackenzie Davis
Genre: Action, Sci-Fi
Rated: R for violence throughout, language and brief nudity

SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) – Synopsis: A human-cyborg hybrid is sent back in time to protect a young woman from Rev-9, the latest Terminator model.

Review: One of the major selling points for “Terminator: Dark Fate” is it's the first time James Cameron has been involved with the franchise since 1991’s “Terminator 2: Judgement Day.” The other selling point is that “Dark Fate” takes place on a timeline that is only shared with the first two films. Everything that has been released in the last twenty years has been moved to an alternate timeline.

In many ways, “Dark Fate” is similar to “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” in that it looks to reestablish what audiences loved about the original films in hopes that they will be persuaded back into rabid fandom. Like “The Force Awakens,” “Dark Fate” is made up of recycled parts. That might trouble you; it might not bother you in the least. Regardless, “Dark Fate” is likely the best Terminator film since “Judgement Day.”

That’s faint praise.

It’s not remotely as smart or technologically innovative as either of the films it borrows heavily from. It’s nonsensical at times, flagrantly coy in the way that it tries to distinguish itself as something fresh while being completely built on nostalgia.

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Considering how far off course we’d strayed with the attempted reboot of 2015’s “Terminator Genisys,” a film pretending to have the swagger of a proper sequel to “Judgement Day” might be a sweet relief for some.

I wanted more. Like “Mad Max: Fury Road” more. I wanted reckless mayhem. An off-the-rails slice of science fiction that explores the difference between humans and machines. Instead “Dark Fate” offers forced sentimentality wedged between decent action sequences. For all of its emotion, there’s little depth here.

The acting is a mixed offering, but fans will enjoy seeing Linda Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger together again. There’s likely plans for a sequel, not really sure that there needs to be. When the future is so easily unwritten, do we really want to see what might have been?