Written by Matthew Widdis
“Nothing is new anymore. It’s all sequels or reboots.,” that’s been the lament of the decade for movie-goers who, despite it all, keep going to movies. There’s some truth to that but it’s nothing new. The Golden Age of Hollywood was riddled with now-classics that remade silent era hits. And it’s certainly the new normal, so continuing to add to the Terminator series shouldn’t be a shock, nor should the news that this sixth installment, Terminator: Dark Fate breaks from continuity directly after T2: Judgement Day.
Too often, homages to original films can come off as cheesy or just flat-out desperate. There’s none of that in the trailer. In fact, we don’t even get a “Come with me if you want to live.” The darker and more fatalistic tone of the first two movies returns. We open in the same way that T2 ended: with an open highway. This immediately segues into the familiar scene of a huge truck barreling after its quarry. MacKenzie Davis seems to be our Reese/T-800 for this installment as a super-soldier that, like her replicant in Blade Runner 2049, combines human and machine.
This bionic bombshell pulls off inhuman feats to attack the truck driver by skewering him with lengths of construction rebar. That’s when we get to see our new terminator. Gabriel Luna, familiar to fans of the MCU as that version of Ghost Rider on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., begins to morph and melt like a T-1000. As he does, the liquid metal pulls away to reveal an endoskeleton operating independently. This combines two classic visuals from the series in one new threat. All of this comes to a head with the big reveal: the return of Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor.
Previous installments to the Terminator franchise have brought in big names like Christian “Batman” Bale and Game of Thrones’ khaleesi, Emilia Clarke. These stars are great actors but, in Halloween sequels, we want to see more of Jamie Lee Curtis, the late Donald Pleasance, or even a grown-up Danielle Harris, not Busta Rhymes. Linda Hamilton’s return of the diner waitress turned baddest woman on the planet (as well as the return of her once-husband James Cameron as scripter!) is the missing piece of the puzzle. Terminator has always been a combination of hard science fiction (artificial intelligence vs humanity) and horror (the unstoppable stalker) and other films have held to that but failed to follow up on the fact that this is Sarah Connor story. In the book of John Connor as mankind’s savior, this chapter remembers to venerate the mother and, as John Mark McMillan covering Bjork reminds us in the trailer, she is the hunter now.