The Terminator movies are all basically the same: a bad robot is sent from an apocalyptic future to kill someone who will later be important to humanity’s survival, and a good person or robot is sent to protect that important person. One of the main things that determines a Terminator movie’s quality is how much it ties itself in knots to justify the inclusion of an aging Arnold Schwarzenegger, whose titular character is conveniently (if not logically) mass produced. Dark Fate isn’t the knottiest Terminator movie (that would be Terminator Genisys), but the silly plot contrivances it employs in service of Schwarzenegger’s and series matriarch Linda Hamilton’s presence make it a tough sell, especially when neither character brings much to the proceedings beyond empty nostalgia.
But hey, this endeavor is more Michael Bay than Philip K. Dick. If space-time paradoxes and tired one-liners don’t impede your enjoyment of shit getting smashed and blown up, Dark Fate has a lot of that, and Mackenzie Davis’s refreshing take on the protector character mostly evens out the moments when the CGI bites off more than it can chew.