Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Review: Terminator Salvation

Terminator Salvation
Director McG
John Connor (Christian Bale)
Marcus (Sam Worthington)
rated pg13 116 minutes

This is the fourth movie in the Terminator series. This time we have a very radical departure for the Terminator franchise. This time we move into the future and meet the adult John Connor as organized military resistance to Skynet is failing and it becomes clear to John that he must make a push to organize and guide what is left of human resistance to the machines.

Curiously the movie doesn't start with Connor in the future, but the mysterious Marcus in present day, who is scheduled for some unknown reason for lethal injection - donates his body for medical research. Marcus wakes up to a world in chaos. In his efforts to discover what happened, saves and befriends not Connor but a teenage Kyle Reese.

After Reese is captured by Skynet, Marcus befriends a downed resistance pilot in hopes of finding Connor and aid in rescuing Reese. For those that may not have seen the movie, I am not going to give away some crucial elements in the movie. Needless to say there are more plot twists than a murder mystery.

The first thing I can pleasantly say about the film is that it is the best movie in the series since the first. With the first Terminator, we were always guessing and never quite sure what was really going on. Reese was great for clearing up some problems, but often causing more questions to arise than he cleared up. The follow on movies played it very safe and really didn't introduce anything new. Sure a new terminator here or there but it was still bad old Skynet sending back bad ole Terminators to get Sarah or later John. Now we are treated to a whole new piece of the Skynet/Terminator time-line. Terminator fans will really find this fascinating.

So, how is Salvation as a movie? Well considering the whole franchise is pure action / drama, Salvation holds the course rock steady. But it takes a few chances brings a whole new time-line segment and comes really close to ensemble acting. So for me that was a pleasant departure. Yeah the ending was like telegraphed 3 movies ago, but at least you are not groaning "not another one!?"

Don't get me wrong, its a fan movie and doesn't even pretend to try and stand on its own merit, but the box office showed that no one should have worried...but if you have never seen a Terminator movie (really? were you in a coma?) go watch the first movie...the others are a waste (if for no other reason than you are trying to figure out whats going on...) and you will already know all you need to.

Not even going to bother rating the DVD...I rented the WS version and it should be the ONLY you view, blue ray or regular because the action is non stop corner to corner. The movie is worth watching and dvd worth renting just for the action and with the DVD that's all you get. Do I have any bitches? Surely! Like someone smack the editor please! One of my favorite character actors, Michael Ironside (not the first time he worked with Arnold in a sci-fi flick) had virtually no on screen time. You could say that about Arnold, but that was all CGI. Editing in the beginning at least was chaotic, but seemed to relax in the second half. Oh you could nit pic I suppose, but it really is a pretty well made film.

Overall I would give it an 8 just because it really is not a stand alone film and NO special features. But if your a Terminator fan This is a worthy rental.


Nelson Cole said...

You've made me want to check it out. I think it got pretty much panned by critics, but I like the franchise and Christian Bale.

Remember his rant during the making of the movie? Here's a great mix version of it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YTihsJQHt48

r4 dsi said...

This is one of the worst movies of all time. Not bad in a Plan Nine from Outerspace kind of way. No much worse. I have only once before ever felt so cheated and that was watching Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull last year. Cheated because of all the talent that could have made a GREAT movies and instead just cashed in big paychecks.

Beam Me Up said...

No, I am not going to fault your impression for the movie. Quite frankly I can see where it falls down badly. But like I said, its a fan movie of the Terminator Series and rated against some of the trash that came after the original you have to admit it miles better than those. in my opinion there should have been only 2 movies, the first and this one. Talk about cashing in for a paycheck, those were complete walk ons. Is Salvation a movie for the ages? No, far from it. Is it a competent Terminator movie, yeah, I would go there.