Terminator: Dark Fate

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Terminator: Dark Fate Movie Poster Image
Sixth Terminator film is a violent but dull reboot.
  • R
  • 2019
  • 128 minutes

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 19 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 41 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Movie is somewhat about sacrifice; characters frequently sacrifice themselves to help others, though that's sometimes overshadowed by all of the action scenes. Empowering in that a woman is the one who saves the world (rather than the mother of a male savior), but male characters still frequently jump in to save the day.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Three strong female characters, one of whom is of Latinx heritage. The story isn't meaty enough for them to really shine, but Dani does learn how to behave under pressure, and her leadership qualities emerge.


Very strong, intense sci-fi/fantasy violence. Heavy guns and shooting. Characters are shot, stabbed, sliced, and run through with chunks of metal, as well as thrown from moving vehicles. Car crashes and explosions. Dead bodies. Pools of blood. Robots flying to pieces. Futuristic war sequences. Lots of weapons.


Time travelers shown naked; bare male and female bottoms shown. Brief female side view, from a distance. Couple kisses/makes out.


Strong, fairly frequent language includes "f--k," "s--t," "motherf----r," "a--hole," "son of a bitch," "goddamn," and "ass," plus a middle-finger gesture.


Part of a popular franchise, with lots of off-screen merchandise available.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A character says that she "drinks until she blacks out." Characters drink bottles of beer with slices of lime.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Terminator: Dark Fate is the sixth movie in the popular Terminator series. It ignores the third, fourth, and fifth movies and brings back older characters, including Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) and the original Terminator himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Sci-fi/fantasy violence is intense: Expect lots of weapons, characters being shot and dying, blood, crashes, explosions, futuristic war sequences, and robots flying apart. Characters are also stabbed, sliced, run through with chunks of metal, and thrown from moving vehicles. Language is also strong, with uses of "f--k," "s--t," "motherf----r," and more. Time travelers arrive, as always, naked; both male and female bottoms are shown, and there's a very brief, distant side view of a naked woman. A young couple is seen making out. Characters drink beer, and a character remarks that she regularly "drinks until she blacks out."

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bylpetlock November 4, 2019

Very disappointing. This is a horrifyingly bad film.

Terrible script. Bad acting (even, no actual acting).

Don't waste your money on this nonsensical special effects and meandering plot.

All of it is mo... Continue reading
Adult Written byCodyHH September 18, 2020


This is a terrible movie wish was never made the dialog is cring worthy and story is horrible.
Feels more like trying to replace all male ace characters with fe... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byDustin Henderson November 1, 2019

Terminator: Dark Fate is an Exciting -Albeit Violent- Reboot for the Terminator Series

Terminator: Dark Fate is a follow-up to the second movie in the Terminator franchise, Terminator: Judgement Day. It is important to know that this film complete... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old March 11, 2020

They could of done better

I love the terminator series, but this one is just disappointing. There is no point to watching just save your money.

What's the story?

In TERMINATOR: DARK FATE, Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) escapes with her son, John, in the year 1998, but a Terminator catches up with them anyway. Twenty-two years later, in Mexico, two new time travelers arrive. Grace (Mackenzie Davis) appears to be a superhuman fighter, and a brand-new Terminator (Gabriel Luna) seems to have the same liquid metal quality as the T-1000. They both start tracking down young Dani (Natalia Reyes), a normal girl who lives with her father and brother. The Terminator attacks Dani, and Grace swoops in to defend her. Before long, Sarah Connor herself joins the fray. Together and on the run from the deadly machine, the three women follow secret coordinates to Texas, where they hope to enlist the aid of an old foe ...

Is it any good?

This sixth Terminator movie erases the events of the previous three (dud) sequels but winds up feeling half-erased itself. It's like a dull, pale, irrelevant carbon copy of a once glorious hit. Not only does Terminator: Dark Fate reunite Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger, but James Cameron produced and contributed to the story (along with about half a dozen other writers). Yet none of them really seems to have a reason to be here, other than to make a few reference-tinged jokes. Their presence actually detracts from the main plot -- that of Grace and Dani -- but even if it didn't, Grace and Dani's story doesn't offer anything new or surprising.

Not even the evil Terminator in Terminator: Dark Fate offers anything new. He recycles the liquid metal idea from Terminator 2: Judgment Day, with one new power that makes no sense: He can separate his skeleton from his skin and be in two places at once. (You'd think the skin would be more vulnerable, but the movie does nothing with this idea.) Director Tim Miller, whose previous work on Deadpool was bright, colorful, and smooth, turns in sludgy, choppy action here, with a dull luster; it's often hard to tell what's going on. There's also a distinct lack of suspense and humor, except for one line in which Schwarzenegger (ironically) declares himself to be "extremely funny."

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Terminator: Dark Fate's violence. How does it compare to other movies in the series on that front? How much is actually shown? How did it make you feel? Was it exciting or shocking? What's the impact of media violence on kids?

  • Does the movie have any positive role models? What do the women contribute to the story? Do they have agency? 

  • How does the movie's subplot about immigration reflect real-life news stories?

  • If you could travel back in time, what would you change?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love action and sci-fi

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate