Terminator Salvation (2009)

IN SHORT:  WHEN SHOULD YOU SEE THIS MOVIE?  Don’t go see this in theaters, wait till it’s free on HBO… 

Full Review: 

There has been a lot of hype surrounding this movie for a long time, with great looking trailers, a good line up of actors, and just being a Terminator movie in general.  Unfortunately, this movie ended up as nothing more than a forgetful mediocre summer action flick that left most disappointed and thinking “What was the point?”

Terminator Salvation drops us into 2018, where an artificial intelligence robot called Skynet has rebelled against its creators and driven humanity to the brink of extinction.  The plot is broken into two different stories, one following the prophetic young leader of the human resistance forces John Connor (Christian Bale) and his war against the machines, while the other is a survival tale of teenager Kyle Reese (Anton Yelchin) and a mysterious ex convict named Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington).  Eventually these two stories intertwine during the movie’s climax.

The glaring weakness in this film is the surprisingly shallow plot and characters.  The story starts out with promise, but the second and third acts leave so much unexplored potential that by the time the credits rolled the audience had a general feeling of “Are you kidding me?  That’s it?”  Skynet, for being a terrifying super computer, suffers from an extreme case of PIS (Plot Induced Stupidity) that makes it seem the writers had no clue what they were doing, and just threw together a junk climax/ending at the last moment.  Marcus Wright has the most potential at the beginning, but when his history was finally revealed the audience was shaking their heads in disappointment.  The John Connor story is even worse. 

The only positive thing in the movie is the action scenes.  It seems that what director McG lacks in character development he makes up for with jaw dropping chase and fight sequences.  By combining long continuous shots with stunning special effects, the action is so creative that it almost makes this movie worth seeing.  Almost.

The acting is about average, and it is pretty obvious that Bale had almost nothing to work with from the script, yet he still managed an OK performance.  Sam Worthington and Anton Yelchin both do an excellent job, but everyone else is below average.  Arnold Schwartzennager does have a good cameo as well, even though it is CGI.  Also, the hardcore Terminator fan base will be fairly happy to know that there are a massive amount of Easter eggs and references made to the original James Cameron movies.

Overall this is not the movie that many hoped would save the franchise after the horrible Terminator: Rise of the Machines, in fact I think it is the film that finally finishes it off.  Many will be disappointed because this film fails to advance the Terminator timeline one bit, and makes it seem like a pointless waste of time.  I recommend waiting till this movie shows up on HBO before even thinking about watching it.