Review: Terminator Salvation

Or: Come With Me if You Want the Franchise to Live

Please say hello to 2009’s first big summer blockbuster. Er, okay, maybe its second big summer blockbuster. Well, either way, Terminator Salvation is most certainly going to be a big money maker for Warner Bros. this summer. And why not? Starring Christian Bale and Sam Worthington, and following on the footsteps of Terminator 3 (or Terminator 2, if you prefer to pretend that Terminator 3 never happened, much like myself) Salvation has a lot going for it. But is it any good is the big question.

Set in the post-apocalyptic future (finally), the story focuses on John Connor (Christian Bale) and his fight against the self-aware, human-killing, robot-making Skynet. If you didn’t understand any of that, then I highly suggest that you go out and watch the first two Terminator films right now. Fortunately though, the story is recapped (in abridged form) before the film begins, so if you aren’t familiar with the Terminator mythos, then you won’t be completely lost.

At the opening of the film, the human rebellion has discovered a neat little trick to destroy the robots, which they are trying to implement against them. John Connor is charged with taking that technology and using it against Skynet. In the meantime, Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington) is a lost, memory-lapsed death row convict who has apparently been brought back from the dead. He eventually runs into a teenage Kyle Reese (John Connor’s father who impregnated his mom after he was sent back in time, yeah, I know it is confusing) and they make their way towards John Connor.

Unfortunately, Kyle Reese gets captured by the robots, and when Connor learns that the leaders of the human rebellion plan on simply bombing the hell out of Skynet’s base, where Reese is being held, John Connor makes a pact with Marcus (who, it turns out is some kind of robot/human hybrid) and they storm Skynet’s base, etc etc.

Now, here’s my first complaint, Marcus is revealed to be a human/robot hybrid thing half-way through the movie, but it felt like the director wasn’t sure if he wanted it to be a big reveal or not. After all, they show you that fact in the god damn trailer. For the first half, leading up to this moment, it feels like they’re trying to hide the fact that he’s a robot, like the audience isn’t supposed to know. Then, when it finally is revealed, it's sort of just glossed over, they don’t really make a big deal about it. It felt as if they couldn’t make up their mind about how they were going to handle the whole thing.

My other major complaint would be that they once again confuse the hell out of me with their time travel stuff. At least this time there isn’t actually any time travel, but there is a very important plot point involving John Connor trying to protect his teenage father-to-be. However, if its true that the future can change, as has been proven by Terminator 2, then it shouldn’t really matter whether Kyle Reese is sent back in time or not, because John Connor is already here anyway, and sending him back would actually only create an alternate universe and- AUGH.

Overall, these are mostly nit-picky and things that most people probably won’t even notice, and the story itself is pretty good. It's especially nice to actually see some action taking place in the future, rather than having another robot sent back in time to kill Connor. The story, though, mainly serves as a set-up for intense action sequences and awesome explosions (much like the other films). Which, of course, are delivered with full effect.

Ratings for Terminator Salvation
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Matt Overstreet's picture
Matt Overstreet is a writer and creator, who's been with the 8CN since the very beginning. He currently resides in Los Angeles, CA and enjoys watching bad Nic Cage movies, playing too many video games, and reading silly books. You can follow him on twitter, if you are so inclined: @chilidog0.
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