If at first you don’t succeed, try at least four more times. James Cameron‘s The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day are two of the most popular action films of all-time. You’ll find few folks that dismiss them. Their sequels, on the other hand, are a different matter. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines wanted to replicate the second film and fell miserably short despite having some strong performances from Nick Stahl and Claire Danes, plus a grim, satisfying ending. Terminator: Salvation attempted to deliver the future-war only glimpsed in the previous film but lost its way in Sam Worthington’s muddied hero’s journey. Terminator: Genisys…woof. Not good. Let’s just forget that one.
Well, let’s forget all but the first two. That seems to be the case as far as Terminator: Dark Fate is concerned. Directed by Tim Miller, the sixth Terminator not only brings Cameron back as producer but actress Linda Hamilton as well. Her Sarah Connor escapes an offscreen Terminator 3 death to continue her vengeance quest against Skynet, now partnering with Mackenzie Davis and Natalia Reyes. Oh! And we can not forget that Arnold Schwarzenegger is back in a possible dual role (more on that later.)
The first trailer does not go too deep into the plot of the film, but it does offer plenty of shots to scrutinize. Let’s get to it.
We open on the road, literally taking us into Mexico City, but metaphorically taking us into the terrible unknown future. We saw a similar image in the final moments of T2 as John and Sarah Connor escaped into the night carrying the dream that their actions prevented the apocalypse. That film’s final voiceover explained how Sarah faced the future for the first time with a sense of hope. Four films later and there seems to be no end to her war.
The trailer’s voiceover belongs to Dani Ramos (Reyes), “Two days ago, I had this nice simple life.” Sorry, you’ve inherited the misery of Sarah Connor. Curious to see if Ramos’ trajectory follows a similar one to Sarah’s. She begins the film as the object of the hunt. Will she get to kick ass at all, or will she remain the damsel to be protected?
We’re within the city limits now, and we meet the one assigned most of the ass-kicking. New unstoppable future-soldier Grace (Mackenzie Davis) races a lemon of a truck through the streets. Ramos is stuck between her and sure-to-be-fodder Diego Boneta. Feel free to imagine the “Come with me if you want to live” sequence that surely happened seconds before hopping into the jalopy.
A terrified Dani stares up at her rescuer. Like Sarah Connor before her, she’ll be trapped in denial for the first chunk of the movie. The voiceover finishes the previous thought, “Now it’s a nightmare.” Based on what we hear later on in the trailer, she may be carrying another savior inside her. That does not necessarily mean a baby. Wouldn’t it be nice if the warrior within was actually herself and not some prophecy kid? Grace just has to keep her alive until she realizes the potential of her own nature.
As a droning cover of Björk‘s “Hunter” plays, a dumpster truck crashes through a wall and charges into the street behind our fleeing heroes. Grace gives the wheel to Diego as she positions herself for combat. We catch our first glimpse at a nasty wound on her shoulder and a collection of faint scars that mark her neck and arms.
Meet the new Terminator(s) as played by Gabriel Luna. Thanks to T2, you can’t have one of these films now without a killer robot steering a massive murderous juggernaut. As the Ghost Rider on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Luna has already mastered the deadly DGAF stare of Robert Patrick’s T-1000 from that first Terminator sequel.
Grace goes for gold as she flips into her truckbed. We can now clearly see several white scars that cover her entire body. Like The Terminator‘s Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn) before her, she has given herself to the cause totally, allowing for cybernetic enhancements. I’m deeply excited to see Davis go hard as an action hero and gain mainstream attention. Seek out her work in Always Shine and Tully. You won’t necessarily see anything in those films that will indicate the temerity required here except for a ferocious talent.