The reviews have landed for the latest Terminator movie, the sixth in the long-running franchise, and the praise is distinctly faint.
Terminator: Dark Fate’s Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating is hovering at the 60% “Fresh” threshold from 35 published reviews. Anything below 60% will push that into “Rotten” territory, so it’s a long way off earning that much-coveted Certified Fresh status.
Offering up only two stars, The Guardian reckons it's 'basically replaying the famous elements from T1 and T2 with some new actors, new twists, newish attitudes to sexual politics, famous lines slightly changed'.
“This sixth Terminator surely has to be the last. Yet the very nature of the Terminator story means that going round and round in existential circles comes with the territory,” it adds.
Adds Time Out: “The set-up and structure is so similar to 1991's landmark Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Dark Fate could almost be called a remake. It's a watery facsimile of that movie, so full of nods and winks that you worry that it may be having a stroke.”
Writes The Playlist: “The cast does everything possible to inject emotional energy into this slashing, crashing sequel, but in the end, even their efforts are ground up by the action movie machine.”
Read more: Edward Furlong back for Dark Fate
Dark Fate has rebooted the series, ignoring the events of every other movie since James Cameron's Terminator 2: Judgement Day from 1991 (Cameron has produced the movie, with Deadpool's Tim Miller directing).
It finds Mackenzie Davis's Grace, a super-soldier cyborg assassin from the future sent to protect Natalia Reyes' Dani Ramos, who has been targeted for termination by the Rev-9, a new type of shape-shifting killing machine.
But despite the seemingly nominal reset, critics are predominantly rather unimpressed with the return of Arnold Schwarzenegger's 'Grampa Walton' cyborg and Linda Hamilton's grizzled Sarah Connor to the fold.
Says Entertainment Weekly: “This is another unsteady piece of franchise recycling, never really deciding whether it's continuing the story of familiar icons or launching a new adventure.”
Indiewire calls it ‘competent but coma-inducing’, adding: “It’s nice (and perhaps unavoidable) that the Terminator franchise has finally reached back into the past to remind us that tomorrow is always up for grabs — that the future belongs to anyone willing to fight for it. When the present is this dull, however, it can be hard to remember what anyone is supposed to be fighting for.”
Some are more complimentary, however.
The Daily Mirror writes: “With impressive action set-pieces, elaborate car chases and more big guns than you can shake a stick at, we get the feeling that we're finally back in safe hands.”
Read more: First reactions to Dark Fate
Meanwhile, Vanity Fair calls it 'a perfectly serviceable action movie'.
Adds Empire: “Easily the third-best Terminator film, which is more of a compliment than it sounds. It's great to have Hamilton back in this role, but she's ably matched by Reyes and Davis.”
The movie is out across the UK from today.