In this American science-fiction action film — “Terminator: Dark Fate” — directed by Tim Miller, the terminator, played by Arnold Schwarzenegger, is rejoined by Sarah Connor, played by actress Linda Hamilton.
Anticipation for this film is unusually high due to the return of Schwarzenegger and Hamilton who starred in the first two Terminator movies. With the franchise creator James Cameron returning to script writing, this sixth Terminator film picks up where Cameron left the series. It is a direct sequel to “Terminator 2: Judgement Day,” 27 years later.
Deep inside many — even those of us who are cynical — there’s still a 13-year-old kid that rode his bike to the movie theater and snuck in to see “The Terminator” (1984) or “Terminator 2” (1991). Those first two installments became silver-screen legends. The iconic gun store scene of the first film that featured an AMT Hardballer equipped with an early Surefire laser sight took place near where I lived in the San Fernando Valley suburbs, just outside of Los Angeles. I can remember riding my bike in front of that shop, which has since become a car lot.
Still, I get a thrill out of writing on movies that influence our gun culture. Stockpiled with plenty of hardware, “Terminator: Dark Fate” could become one of those films again.
Terminator: Dark Fate – Official Trailer
Guns & Ammo scored an opportunity to go behind the scenes during the production of “Terminator Genisys” (2015) and gunsandammo.com even earned itself a plug by the Terminator who says, “I read about this on gunsandammo.com.” Read more about it by clicking here.
As with “Terminator Genisys,” the attention to detail with regards to the small arms and equipment is always top notch. Even the sci-fi story’s futuristic hardware is built around common guns because writers recognize that characters would have to utilize battlefield pickups and recycled terminator parts. The thought process behind the designs remains impressive. For “Terminator: Dark Fate,” Guns & Ammo was invited once again to develop this preview and meet with the Tactical Advisor, Jack Nevils, and the Lead Armourer, Joss Skottowe.
Note the added “u” in Skottowe’s title, “armourer.” This is the British spelling of the word and highlights the film’s international production. And Joss is a Brit. Due to international production, that led to several challenges with many of the guns needing to be shipped, accounted for and modified in accordance with the laws of multiple countries. Skottowe relayed a story about one of the hero guns of the series, Linda Hamilton’s Fostech Origin 12. The Origin 12 is a magazine-fed, semiautomatic shotgun with an 18-inch barrel and collapsible stock. It was so difficult to import for filming that the team of armourers ended up having to work on the gun in the back of a van to ensure it complied with laws. The film’s samples barely arrived on time to be converted to blanks and still make the scheduled shoot.
“Terminator: Dark Fate” also features the select-fire Beretta ARX160, which definitely has that futuristic appearance when compared to other American AR-type rifles. The semiautomatic version of the ARX160 is the ARX100, which was reviewed by G&A in June 2014. Watch the video review below.
You’ll also notice that Sarah Connor carries the unusual looking Chiappa Rhino revolver in .357 Magnum. The Rhino is recognizable for its unusual barrel location that places it lower to the grip and fires from the bottom chamber in the cylinder.
There is also an assortment of more familiar guns, such as the Colt M4, the Remington Model 870. Perhaps some will recognize the stockless Serbu Super-Shorty pump-action 12 gauge shotgun. The Super-Shorty is classified as an Any-Other-Weapon (AOW) by the BATFE, which makes it a piece of unobtanium for must gun enthusiasts.
The so-called “hero” guns in “Terminator: Dark Fate” were definitely chosen to stand out. I asked Skottowe about choosing the guns and whether or not actors, such as Schwarzenegger and Hamilton, had any input. It turns out that the process was very collaborative with Director Tim Miller, being very open to suggestions from the cast and crew. Skottowe said that for the guns, he’d present several options to Miller. Once they were narrowed down to a few, some of the actors did have some input. I was told that Linda Hamilton, in particular, took the process very seriously.
After going through the present-day guns, Skottowe discussed the future’s guns. When the armourers were mocking up some of the guns, it was important to him that the weapons didn’t become too heavy and bulky, which make it cumbersome for the actors to carry and use. Skottowe also gave a lot of credit to Nevils for getting the actors trained to a very high level for the film. Training was important because the film relies heavily on practical effects, including blank fire as opposed to digital gunfights. Real gunfire using blanks looks better through the camera and allows the fights to appear more realistic and believable. Using blanks also gives the actors something to react to during filming.
It shouldn’t be a surprise that Nevils got the cast up to speed, as he spent his entire career as a U.S. Army Green Beret. He was training many how to shoot and fight while he wasn’t deployed. Nevils was very gracious when discussing the actors, especially Linda Hamilton and Mackenzie Davis. Davis plays “Grace,” a soldier-assassin who was converted into a cyborg and sent from the future to protect Dani Ramos (Natalia Reyes) from the new and advanced Terminator prototype. Nevils trained the actors several times and started with familiarization skills in Santa Barbara, California. For advanced training, he moved them to his facility in Texas where they studied marksmanship, manipulations, combat mindset and everything in between. It was important to Nevils for them to understand what their character would want to do in a tactical situation. Nevils repeated several times how impressed he was with the performance of the actors during filming and made special note that Hamilton took her training to heart and regularly outworked actors several decades her junior. Many of us who remember “Terminator 2” might recall how she showed up in fighting shape for that movie; you won’t be disappointed with her performance in “Dark Fate.”
As firearm enthusiasts, we recognize that movie studios are not friend to the Second Amendment rights of America’s law-abiding citizens, but I also recognize that there are thousands of good men and women in the entertainment industry who support our interests in motion picture production. Like them or not, films such as “The Terminator” series will continue to influence generations of men and women that might become part of our culture. I’m happy to report that some of those behind the scenes make the effort to get the details right.
Star Linda Hamilton and Director Tim Miller go over notes prior to filming a scene in what is supposed to be Mexico City.
Linda Hamilton and Natalia Reyes filming a border-crossing scene. Hamilton, "Sarah Connor," appears to be using an Olympic Arms K23B Tactical.
Linda Hamilton as "Sarah Connor" after engaging the new Terminator for the first time. A Chiappa Rhino keeps her company.
Arnold Schwarzenegger as "Carl," the T-800 that was stuck in the 1990s using his Beretta ARX-100 to good effect. Note the Beretta GLX160 A21 40mm grenade launcher beneath the barrel.
"Sarah Connor" putting an M72 LAW rocket launcher to use against the Rev-9 Terminator.
"The Terminator: Dark Fate" cast in "Carl's" gun room. After all, they are in Texas.
Arnold Schwarzenegger as "Carl" is a drapery expert in retirement. Here he stands with a Beretta ARX-100/GLX160 combo, waiting to engage Gabriel Luna's Rev-9 Terminator.
The squad is back together. "Sarah Connor" and "Carl" engage Gabriel Luna's Rev-9 Terminator from the tailgate of a C-5 Galaxy aircraft. "Sarah" has her trusty Colt M4 with Trijicon ACOG and "Carl" is carrying his go-to in the movie, FN M249 PARA SAW light machine gun.