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Movie review: ‘Terminator: Dark Fate’: Dull and violent sixth chapter in series reunites Schwarzenegger and Hamilton

Parents need to know that "Terminator: Dark Fate" is the sixth movie in the popular "Terminator" series. It ignores the third, fourth, and fifth movies and brings back older characters, including Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) and the original terminator himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Sci-fi/fantasy violence is intense: Expect lots of weapons, characters being shot and dying, blood, crashes, explosions, futuristic war sequences, and robots flying apart. Characters are also stabbed, sliced, run through with chunks of metal, and thrown from moving vehicles. Language is also strong, with uses of "f--k," "s--t," "motherf----r," and more. Time-travelers arrive, as always, naked; both male and female bottoms are shown, and there's a very brief, distant side view of a naked woman. A young couple is seen making out. Characters drink beer, and a character remarks that she regularly "drinks until she blacks out."

WHAT'S THE STORY?

In "Terminator: Dark Fate," Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) escapes with her son John in the year 1998, but a terminator catches up with them anyway. Twenty-two years later, in Mexico, two new time travelers arrive. Grace (Mackenzie Davis) appears to be a superhuman fighter, and a brand-new terminator (Gabriel Luna) seems to have the same liquid-metal quality as the T-1000. They both start tracking down young Dani (Natalia Reyes), a normal girl who lives with her father and brother. The terminator attacks Dani, and Grace swoops in to defend her. Before long, Sarah Connor herself joins the fray. Together and on the run from the deadly machine, the three women follow secret coordinates to Texas, where they hope to enlist the aid of an old foe ...

IS IT ANY GOOD?

This sixth "Terminator" movie erases the events of the previous three (dud) sequels but winds up feeling half-erased itself. It's like a dull, pale, irrelevant carbon copy of a once-glorious hit. The movie not only re-unites Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger, but James Cameron produced and contributed to the story (along with about half a dozen other writers). Yet none of them really seems to have a reason to be here, other than to make a few reference-tinged jokes. Their presence actually detracts from the main plot – that of Grace and Dani – but even if it didn't, Grace and Dani's story doesn't offer anything new or surprising.

Not even the evil terminator in "Terminator: Dark Fate" offers anything new. He recycles the "liquid metal" idea from "Terminator 2: Judgment Day," with one new power that makes no sense: He can separate his skeleton from his skin and be in two places at once. (You'd think the skin would be more vulnerable, but the movie does nothing with this idea.) Director Tim Miller, whose previous work on "Deadpool" was bright, colorful, and smooth, turns in sludgy, choppy action here, with a dull luster; it's often hard to tell what's going on. There's also a distinct lack of suspense and humor, except for one line in which Schwarzenegger (ironically) declares himself to be "extremely funny."

RATING AND CONTENT

Recommended for ages 15 and older

Quality: 2 out of 5

Positive messages: 2 out of 5

Positive role models: 3 out of 5

Violence: 4 out of 5

Sex: 2 out of 5

Language: 4 out of 5

Drinking, drugs, and smoking: 2 out of 5

Consumerism: 1 out of 5

MOVIE DETAILS

In theaters: November 1, 2019

Director: Tim Miller

Studio: Paramount Pictures

Genre: Action/Adventure

Run time: 128 minutes

MPAA rating: R

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