Look, I'm on record as not wanting another Terminator movie. The series hasn't produced a good film in literal decades. The mythology's been strip-mined from every conceivable angle. It is, in my opinion, a dead horse of a franchise offering up an increasingly unfortunate series of diminishing returns. And so, when Paramount kicked off this morning's CinemaCon presentation with our very first look at Tim Miller's Terminator: Dark Fate, I wasn't exactly chomping at the bit.
Maybe those lowered expectations are why I responded so strongly to what we saw.
The footage began in what appeared to be present-day Mexico City. A couple are making out on the hood of a car underneath a bridge when a familiar blue orb appears above them, spitting electricity and a naked Mackenzie Davis into the world - another time traveler sent back to whoop ass. The couple rushes over to attend to her, helping Davis to her feet and dragging her towards help, and then a police car rolls up. The cops step out, asking the obvious questions one might ask upon discovering a disoriented and extremely nude woman under a bridge, and it doesn't take long before they attempt to wrestle Davis into their car. In response, Davis (whose vision carried the telltale signs of cybernetic enhancement) beats the everloving shit out of them. Strong start!
Next: it's now broad daylight, and we're atop another bridge. A new model of Terminator - sleek yet mechanical, creepy-looking (Miller mentioned that Dark Fate will feature a Terminator who can "split", becoming more than one Terminator; I suspect this was what we were looking at) - is raising a ruckus, right on the verge of getting the upper hand on a pair of humans. Then Sarah Connor (Linda Halmiton) rolls up in a car, stepping out onto the highway with two absolutely gigantic guns. She empties the first into the Terminator, then switches to the second - an RPG launcher. She fires it directly into the Terminator, blowing it to smithereens. Fokks, I really, really underestimated how excited I'd be by the sight of Linda Hamilton kicking ass again. The crowd's reaction indicated I was not alone.
What followed was basically a teaser trailer, random shots of various action sequences from the film, all of which looked damn solid to my eyes. There was no indication what Terminator: Dark Fate is gonna be about, but it was clear Miller did not skimp on the action/explosions/ass-kicking. I walked into this presentation feeling exceptionally grumpy about the prospect of another Terminator movie, but I admit the Dark Fate footage left me both intrigued and kinda hyped. If nothing else, it seems as though we've got some bone-crunching mayhem to look forward to, as well as the undeniably awesome sight of Hamilton and Schwarzenegger sharing the screen again. Maybe this'll all turn out the way the last few Terminator movies did, but for now, I'm feeling cautiously optimistic.
Terminator: Dark Fate hits theaters on November 1st.