WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Terminator: Dark Fate, in theaters now.
Terminator: Dark Fate follows the Terminator tradition of introducing imposing new versions of the titular killing machine and, while there have been plenty of impressive ones before, the newest model might actually be the most efficient and terrifying. Across the film, it not only proves capable of stealth and mental prowess that the others lacked but also leaves, potentially, one of the highest body counts of the franchise in its wake.
The killer 'bot in question is the new Rev-9 (Gabriel Luna) that is sent back in time to kill Dani (Natalia Reyes).
WE ARE LEGION
Early into Terminator: Dark Fate, it's revealed that the events of Terminator 2: Judgement Day prevented Skynet from ever reaching the point where it could become self-aware and turn on humanity. However, that doesn't mean another company couldn't rise up to take its place. It took longer than in the original timeline but, eventually, the cybersecurity program Legion was developed in the name of national defense. Like Skynet before it, it came to the conclusion that humanity was the greatest threat on the planet. So it went rogue, dropped nukes on everyone and developed Terminators to pick off whatever survivors remained.
Because of this, the Rev-9 is a far more advanced Terminator than the ones that were sent back in time in previous films. The Terminators of old were usually content with performing groundwork to defeat their enemies, which meant a lot of gunplay and violence. While the Rev-9 certainly isn't averse to bloodshed, it also has decades of extra technological development. It's easily able to hack the American security systems, at one point commandeering a drone not only to help it locate Dani but even to send it crashing towards her, almost killing her, Grace and Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton). Because it has a larger understanding of modern technologies, it's able to effectively use the tools of the modern era for its own goals.
Although the Rev-9 proves more than capable with many forms of weaponry, including firearms, its most efficient means of attack might be when it gets up close and personal. The skin for the Rev-9 is partially created from nanobots, allowing it to morph its body in a manner similar to the T-1000 from Terminator 2: Judgement Day. But the T-1000 looks positively clunky next to the Rev-9, which is shown to be able to create blades from all over itself at will. This means knives can come out of every part of the android's body, allowing it to stab its way through a crowd trying to contain it in an American detention facility.
It is also capable of reconstructing and repairing itself thanks to its nanotechnological design. All of that is wrapped around a metallic endoskeleton that proves strong enough to shake off damage that could have wiped out previous Terminator models. It ultimately takes a major EMP blast from Grace's machine core to stop it.
The Rev-9 can also use that same technology to essentially duplicate itself, allowing it to attack with two bodies in perfect tandem. It showcases how dangerous this can be during an early car chase in the film where it's following after Grace (Mackenzie Davis) and Dani. While one of the copies remains behind the wheel, a second Terminator is formed out of the nanotech and attacks the pair directly. At any point, while fighting the Rev-9, you can find yourself with an additional opponent.
IT CAN LEARN
Perhaps the scariest aspect of this Terminator is how effective it becomes at avoiding detection. The Rev-9 has an easier time assuming the persona of a human, quickly learning the right things to say in certain situations. Its able to joke its way past a checkpoint and convince a security guard that the metal detector going off is only picking up the leftover metal in its body from an injury it suffered while serving in the military overseas.
It even eventually begins to use logic itself as a weapon. When it finds itself opposite a T-800 in the form of Carl (Arnold Schwarzenegger), the Rev-9 actually speaks to it as an equal. It asks why a Terminator would want to fight for humanity instead of helping its own kind. Although Carl turns it down, it's still frightening to imagine a world where the Terminators are able to mentally overwhelm their enemies on top of being able to overpower them physically.
Directed by Tim Miller and produced by James Cameron, Terminator: Dark Fate stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Mackenzie Davis, Gabriel Luna, Natalia Reyes and Diego Boneta. The film opens Nov. 1.
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