QUICKary Review: With lots of spark and no bite (yes, it’s a lame machine pun), Terminator Salvation is a convincing world with an unconvincing story.
Terminator Salvation is one of those movies that left me feeling like it wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t that good either. The action scenes are good and plenty. They’re also loud; bigger is better, but I’m guessing the idea is to distract you from the lackluster story with as many explosions as possible.
The movie takes place after Judgment Day, when machines nearly destroyed all of humanity. It’s the year 2018 and John Connor (Christian Bale) is helping in the resistance against Skynet and its army of Terminators. Terminators are built to capture and kill any and all humans. However, Connor eventually enounters Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington), a human/Terminator hybrid who has no idea what he is. Both Connor and Marcus are looking for Kyle Reese (Anton Yelchin); he’s John Connor’s father (but a younger version), and his survival is crucial to the future of the resistance.
Christian Bale is uber intense in this movie as John Connor. At any given time he’s either talking in his raspy whisper of a voice, or he’s yelling at the top of his lungs. That’s about all the depth or emotion you’ll get from him or any other character in this movie. Sam Worthington brings Marcus’ character to life, but he doesn’t have much to work with even with them giving us his backstory.
All of the other characters including Barnes (Common) and Kate Connor (Bryce Dallas Howard) are so cardboard in their reactions that ANYONE could’ve played them. Heck, they could’ve been cut out of the movie altogether. Pointing to his mind and his heart, Kyle Reese tells a group of captives they must stay alive. It’s ironic that those who are fighting for the survival of humanity are as robotic as the machines they’re up against.
Plot holes and unnecessary subplots make the story cheesy and confusing at times, but I have to give props to Salvation’s great special effects. It is a gritty, barren wasteland littered with old cars, demolished buildings and the remains of those fallen in the war of man vs. machines. The action scenes are awesome and so are the brutal machines that won’t stop until their objective is complete. They obviously put a lot of effort into the action, but forgot to work on wrapping a decent story around it all. It’s good fun if you’re there for a straight up action movie, but I was expecting more than that from Terminator Salvation. Remember when Christian Bale flew off the handle at a crew member on set last year? If I were starring in a movie that’s only half as good as it should be, I’d probably go into a rage and yell at everyone too.