Terminator: Dark Fate is a 2019 American science fiction action film directed by Tim Miller, from a screenplay by David Goyer, Justin Rhodes, and Billy Ray, from a story by James Cameron, Charles H. Eglee, Josh Friedman, Goyer, and Rhodes. Cameron also produced the film with David Ellison. It is the sixth installment in the Terminator film franchise, and acts as a direct sequel to The Terminator (1984) and Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991), while disregarding Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003), Terminator Salvation (2009), Terminator Genisys (2015), and the television series Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles (2008–2009) as occurring in alternate timelines, following the return of creative control to Cameron.
The film stars Linda Hamilton returning in her role of Sarah Connor and Arnold Schwarzenegger reprising his role as a T-800 Terminator, reuniting the actors after 28 years. The cast includes Mackenzie Davis, Natalia Reyes, and Gabriel Luna as new characters. Set 25 years after the events of Terminator 2, the film sees the machines sending an advanced Terminator (Luna), designated Rev-9, back in time to 2020 to eliminate Dani Ramos (Reyes), whose fate is connected to the future. The Resistance also send Grace (Davis), an augmented soldier, back in time to defend Dani, while they are joined by Sarah Connor (Hamilton) and an aging T-800 Terminator (Schwarzenegger).
In 1998, three years after averting the threat of Skynet, Sarah and John Connor are enjoying life by a beach in Livingston, Guatemala, when they are suddenly attacked by a T-800 Terminator. Sent back through time by Skynet prior to its erasure, the Terminator murders John before leaving. In 2020, an advanced Terminator, called Rev-9, is sent back in time to Mexico City, to murder Daniella “Dani” Ramos, who will become a threat to the machines in the future. A cybernetically enhanced soldier, Grace, is sent from 2042 to protect her. After Rev-9 kills their father, he disguises himself as the elder man and infiltrates the automobile assembly plant where Dani and her brother Diego work, but is thwarted by Grace, who escapes with the siblings. The Rev-9, revealing its ability to split into its cybernetic endoskeleton and shape-shifting liquid metal exterior, pursues them, killing Diego and cornering Grace and Dani. However, Sarah arrives and temporarily disables the Terminator with explosives.
Dani, Grace, and Sarah retreat to a motel. Sarah reveals that she found them because, in the years since John’s death, she has received encrypted messages detailing the locations of arriving Terminators, each ending with “For John”. Grace notes that neither Skynet nor John exists in her timeline. Instead, humanity is threatened by an AI called Legion, originally developed for cyberwarfare. When Legion became a threat to humans, an attempt was made to neutralize it with nuclear weapons, resulting in a nuclear holocaust and the AI creating a global network of machines to terminate the human survivors. Grace traces Sarah’s messages to Laredo, Texas. Barely evading the Rev-9 and the authorities when crossing the Mexico–United States border, they arrive at their source, where they discover the same T-800 that murdered John. Having fulfilled its mission and with Skynet no longer existing, the T-800 was left aimless, and through learning, it developed self-awareness.
During that time, it learned from humanity and built a conscience, taking the name “Carl” and adopting a human family. After learning how its actions affected Sarah and being able to detect temporal displacements, Carl decided to forewarn her of them to give her purpose. Carl offers to join them against the Rev-9, and they make preparations to destroy it. Sarah begrudgingly agrees to work together for Dani’s sake. Anticipating the Rev-9’s arrival, Carl bids its family farewell and tells them to escape. The group gives Dani tactical weapons training and plans on how to ambush the Rev-9. To do so, they seek out a military-grade EMP from an acquaintance of Sarah’s. The Rev-9 catches up with them, forcing them to steal a C-5 Galaxy to escape, though the EMP’s are destroyed in the resulting shootout. During the flight, Grace reveals that Dani becomes the future founding commander of the Resistance, as well as her rescuer. The Rev-9 boards their airplane by using a KC-10 Extender and temporarily subdues Carl, forcing Grace, Sarah, and Dani to jump from the plane into a river near a hydro-power plant, with Carl and the Rev-9 following close behind.
The group makes a stand inside. In the ensuing battle, Carl and Grace force the Rev-9 into a spinning turbine, causing an explosion that critically damages the two Terminators and mortally wounds Grace. The blemished Rev-9’s endoskeleton then incapacitates Sarah, forcing Dani herself to confront it. A dying Grace tells Dani to use her power source to destroy the Rev-9. Dani tries to fight the Rev-9 but is quickly overpowered. Carl reactivates itself and restrains the Rev-9, allowing Dani to stab it with Grace’s power source. Carl drags itself and the Rev-9 over a ledge and tells Sarah, “For John”, right before the power core explodes, destroying them both. Sometime later, Dani and Sarah watch over a ten-year-old Grace at a playground with her family, the former determined to avert Grace’s death. Sarah then tells Dani she needs to get ready, with Grace watching as the pair drives off.
It’s not as bad as some people were making it out to be and I do believe that the reviews and a lot of negativity about the choices in the casting and trailers doomed the film. It’s got a lot of flaws but I did enjoy the movie quite a bit. It’s a 7.5 outta 10 for me!