Movie Name: Terminator Salvation
Studio: The Halcyon Company
Release Date(s): May 21, 2009
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington) has given his body to Dr. Serena Kogan (Helena Bonham Carter) for science. When he is awakened in 2018, he finds himself in a war zone…where men are battling the robots of something called Skynet. Meeting a young man named Kyle Reese (Anton Yelchin), Marcus learns that the fight against the machines is called the Resistance. Reese receives a message from one of the Resistance members named John Connor (Christian Bale), and Connor needs Reece. Skynet is ramping up its attack, but the Resistance has a new secret weapon that could change everything…but Marcus’ arrival is about to show the Resistance something they’ve never seen.
Directed by McG, Terminator Salvation is an action-adventure film. Following Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines in 2003, the movie was marred by production problems and a very public fight between Bales and the director of photography which was leaked in addition to claims on rights to the project. The movie was released to poor reviews and lackluster box-office returns.
Terminator Salvation is not good. I loved The Terminator, wasn’t one of the “T2 is the best movie” people but thought was ok, and felt Terminator 3 at least made Terminator 2 make sense…Terminator Salvation is just boring.
The movie never feels like it gets going. It feels confused about what the story is about. Is Marcus Wright the star as the Terminator hybrid or is John Connor the star? I think if they had maybe done the whole film from Kyle Reese’s perspective, it might have worked, but as it stands, the movie just feels like it slugs its way through the whole plot to a “meh” ending.
The always shuffling cast of Terminator also spins up on a bunch of duds. Sam Worthington just never seems to be able to carry a movie and while Christian Bales is generally good, he brings nothing unique to the role. Anton Yelchin could have been expanded and Bryce Dallas Howard, Moon Bloodgood, and Helena Bonham Carter are anemic as the women in the movie. Even genre star Michael Ironside was bland.
Part of the blandness I think has to deal with the PG-13 rating. It never felt like Terminator Salvation was dangerous and the explosive special effects that Terminator films usually promise just looked like every other action film. It had been bloody and shocking, that at least would have livened up the plot.
Terminator Salvation shows that the series is in a tailspin with little direction. The Sarah Connor Chronicles was running at the same time that Terminator Salvation was due to be released and also struggling…which was another sign. Terminator seems like a franchise that needs to be put to bed. The (lazy) filmmakers keep trying and Terminator Salvation is followed by a soft reboot Terminator Genisys in 2015.