Terminator: Dark Fate and the Battle for Our Lives

Screenshot taken from Official Trailer

Rating: 4/5

29 August 1997 is the date of Judgment Day. It’s the doomsday that Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) managed to prevent from happening back in 1995, saving three billion lives. That was the premise of the wildly popular Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991), known fondly amongst fans as T2.

Terminator: Dark Fate opens in 2020, and we are transported to Mexico City. We follow the story of one Daniella Ramos (Natalie Reyes) and her brother Diego (Diego Boneta), young siblings working in an automobile factory.

Dark Fate is the sixth film in the Terminator franchise, which began in 1984 (that’s 35 years ago, folks!). However, it’s a direct sequel of T2, the timeline taking off right after Sarah Connor’s victory. Fans of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton will be thrilled to see them playing prominent roles in Dark Fate’s plot, though Arnie doesn’t appear until one hour into the film.

 

Sent from the future to change the past

In similar fashion to T2, two terminators are sent from the future—one to kill Dani, and one to protect her. We meet advanced kill machine, Rev-9 (Gabriel Luna), and protector Grace (Mackenzie Davis), an augmented super human. Both are sent from 2042 to alter the past, of which Dani seems to hold the key to its future.

2042 is a post-apocalyptic world, one damaged by nuclear holocaust, causing humans to group themselves into a Resistance, fighting against an Artificial Intelligence (AI) army known as Legion. And so the fight ensues, and it’s an action-packed ride from beginning to end, all the while keeping us guessing who the future Dani is and why two terminators and a woman would risk their lives for her.

 

The “battlefield” for our lives

As I watched the film, I couldn’t help but think about how for Christians, our lives are also a “battlefield” between good and evil. In John 10:10, we read that the thief’s only mission is to steal, kill, and destroy. Thankfully, Jesus the Good Shepherd is there to save and protect us, leading us to find pasture and life in abundance.

As humans, we are limited in our foresight of the future. James 4:14 says, “Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow!” Sometimes, we are not even sure what is going on in our lives, especially when we encounter troubles.

Dani faces a similar situation in the film. She is unsure why a kill order has been issued against her, what with loved ones around her sacrificed in the process. But once she finds out who she is in the future, her stance changes completely.

Like all the Terminator films in the franchise, the fight between man and machine seems never-ending. The characters are always going back in time to undo the past in order to secure their future. A new enemy seems to reinvent itself over the ages, from Skynet to Genisys to Legion—the machines getting better, faster, and more advanced.

 

The fight continues, but victory is ours

In our day-to-day lives, we are sure to face many trials and challenges. Our fight against sin and evil as a result of living in a fallen world may seem continuous. Sometimes it may even seem like the grip of sin and evil is getting stronger by the day, but in moments like these, it helps to know that Jesus has secured the victory for all mankind on the day He died on the cross, proclaiming, “It is finished!” (John 19:30).

The battle for our lives has already been won, and unlike the limitations of the “good Terminators” who are ultimately still destructible, Christ’s sacrifice is complete.

Because of that, when life seems difficult, uncertain, and confusing, we can respond by turning to Jesus for strength and help, resting in the knowledge that we have an indestructible protector and strong fortress (Psalm 18:2), one who has sacrificed and risked it all to secure our future.

God has a good plan for our lives and He knows our future. Unlike Dani’s, it may not involve saving the world from AI robots, but it promises to be “more than all we ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20).

The question is: Will we cooperate with His plans?

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