Terminator: Dark Fate has received an official R rating, making it the first non-PG-13 Terminator installment in more than fifteen years. The last time that happened was in 2003, when Terminator: Rise of the Machines received an R rating for its violence, language, and naked time-traveling Terminators. Since then, the films have shifted into four-quadrant territory with 2009's Terminator Salvation and 2015's Terminator: Genisys. And while those movies had issues that an R rating couldn't have fixed, their move to PG-13 is arguably indicative of the franchise's larger problems.
James Cameron's original Terminator was released in 1984 and was, in many ways, a typical '80s slasher movie, with the twist being the nearly-unstoppable killer is a cyborg from the future. Its 1991 sequel, Terminator 2: Judgement Day, was the Aliens to Terminator's Alien (and fittingly so, since they were both directed by Cameron), but carried over its predecessor's horror aspects and R rating. The creatives behind Dark Fate confirmed they're aiming for the same rating at San Diego Comic-Con in July, but now it's a done deal.
Per BOM, the MPAA has given Dark Fate an official R rating for "violence throughout, language and brief nudity". The news arrives on the heels of Dark Fate's runtime being confirmed at 128 minutes, making it the second-longest Terminator film ever after Judgement Day (which ran for 137 minutes).
Directed by Tim Miller, Dark Fate is the first Terminator movie Cameron's produced since Terminator 2, and is based on a story that he developed with the film's co-writers David Goyer and Justin Rhodes. Miller proved he knows how to use the R rating as a storytelling tool on his feature debut, Deadpool, so that bodes well for his efforts to bring the Terminator franchise back to its roots here. Cameron's involvement is promising for the same reasons, as is Linda Hamilton's return as Sarah Connor in Dark Fate, marking her first time playing the character since Terminator 2 (her voice cameos in later sequels aside). In an equally smart move, the film will simplify the series' convoluted continuity by ignoring the last three sequels and acting as a direct continuation of Judgement Day, instead.
Even with all that working in the movie's favor, Terminator fans are still apprehensive about Dark Fate, and fairly so. Miller himself has admitted the franchise was "tainted a little bit" after Terminator 2, and Dark Fate isn't the first sequel that's been propped up as a return to form for the property. The confirmed R rating is encouraging, though, and with Cameron and Hamilton both participating, this is the first Terminator film post-Judgement Day that feels like a full-blooded addition to Terminator 1 & 2. Whether Dark Fate itself lives up to those expectations, that's another matter.
Source: MPAA [via BOM]
- Terminator: Dark Fate (2019) release date: Nov 01, 2019