Terminator Salvation

     Everybody knows that when you make a copy from an original each successive copy gets worse. In Hollywood, when a movie is popular, it will usually spawns sequels. The first sequel (part 2) is normally pretty close to the original and thus is pretty good. However, when you start getting up to part 3 or 4 or even higher, things start getting farther away from the original and thus you generally have a pretty bad movie.  Examples: Jaws, Back to the Future, The Crow, and Rambo. FYI, Sly is writing Rambo 5 now with an expected release in 2011. Now, the Terminator may be the newest franchise to fall into this trap. FYI Part 2, Terminator 5 is already in development with an expected release also in 2011. Yikes!

     Set in 2018, the Resistance is at war with the machines. After infiltrating a Skynet base, Resistance leader John Connor (Christian Bale), believes he may have found the secret to finally defeat the machines and end the war. John does not have a lot of time because Skynet is planning a major offensive against it most dangerous targets. John is #2 on the list. #1 on the list is Kyle Reese (Anton Yelchin, Star Trek). John must find Kyle before Skynet or they may be no hope for the future.

     Meanwhile, Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington, Hart’s War) is a convicted felon on death row. He has been convinced by Dr. Serena Kogan (Helena Bonham Carter), of Skynet, to donate his body for medical research. After Marcus discovers he’s still alive, he eventually crosses paths with Kyle and they begin to travel together. Marcus ends up being captured by the Resistance and learns what Skynet actually did him. With this knowledge, Marcus and John decide to team up to take down Skynet.

     While James Cameron, unfortunately, had nothing to do with the project other than suggesting Sam Worthington for a role to director McG (We Are Marshall), there are several nods to Cameron’s past masterpieces. We hear Linda Hamilton’s voice as John’s mother Sara that she made in the first Terminator movie. When John is flying down an abandoned road on a motorcycle, music from the T2 soundtrack is played. Two of the Terminator’s signature lines are delivered; “I’ll be back.” and “Come with me if you want to live.” Arnold Schwarzenegger even makes an appearance!!! Well, not the living, breathing Arnold, but a CGI image of him the way he looked in the first Terminator.

     Director McG (real name: Joseph McGinty Nichol) and writers John D. Brancato with Michael Ferris (both of T3) succeed in creating an exciting movie with A LOT of action. There are some really cool new Terminators especially the giant-size Harvester. However, there is something missing in Salvation that made T1 and T2 great and to some degree T3 pretty good.”The Thrill of the Hunt.”

     In the original Terminator, when the T-800 (Arnold) chased Sara Connors through night clubs, police stations and all through the city, it was heart-pounding action. You didn’t know if Sara would survive. Arnold was terrifying as the T-800. Robert Patrick was equally frighting as the T-1000 in T2 because of his unrelenting desire to terminate a young John Connor. While Kristanna Loken, as the T-X in T3, was not as effective as Arnold or Robert Patrick, “the Thrill of the Hunt” was still a major part of the movie.

     Salvation just seems to be another run-of the-mill war movie. There is no tension about will John Connor survive or will the Resistance win the war. It just boils down to John Connor vs. the Machines will a lot of action and special effects thrown in. Marcus Wright seems like he is only around for shock value and the truth about him is not even that shocking. His character is more of a distraction than a benefit to the movie.

     Christian Bale is becoming an old pro at playing brooding, intense characters. Sam Worthington’s performance doesn’t seem worthy of James Cameron’s recommendation. Anton Yelchin better stick to playing Chekov in Star Trek because his Kyle Reese will not lead him to much fame.

     While Terminator Salvation is a disappointment, lets hope that T5 can re-energize this once outstanding franchise to its old glory. James Cameron are you busy????????

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