The Terminator franchise is fast becoming one of cinema's most unwelcome cases of life imitating art. Just like the titular cyborgs that relentlessly pursue their human prey, these films continue to be churned out at a seemingly ceaseless pace.
Dark Fate has been pitched as the long-awaited successor to 90s masterpiece Judgement Day, but it doesn't even come close to equalling its sci-fi splendour. Instead, it unashamedly pilfers the best moments from James Cameron's film and tries to present them as something new and original. But what we get is a film that is only marginally better than the much-maligned Salvation and Genisys, one that seems to think having female protagonists is radically progressive and that renaming Skynet will make people think they aren't watching a sub-par rehash of the first two Terminator movies.
One thing that Dark Fate does have that the previous two films didn't is a degree of charm, with director Tim Miller seeming to be aware of the absurdity of the film's presence. The legendary Arnold Schwarzenegger also appears to be only too aware that audiences don't really take this kind of thing seriously anymore, hilariously accepting to play an iteration of the T-1000 that goes by the name of Carl and, believe it or not, sells drapes. In fact, the entire cast seem to have a lot of fun here - Mackenzie Davis is kick-ass as a super army soldier (sorry not sorry for the Extras reference) sent from the future, Natalia Reyes is perfectly decent as Hispanic John Connor and Linda Hamilton, perhaps more than anyone, is bang on form as the iconic Sarah Connor.
It just doesn't add up to anything that even remotely justifies a $185m budget, instead tolling what really ought to be the death knell for a series that stopped being great a long time ago.