Movie Review – Terminator Salvation

Plot:  Judgment Day has come and gone.  The year is 2018.  John Connor strives to live up to his destiny in leading the human race against the machines in this Terminator sequel.

When I first heard about this sequel, my reaction was “whatever.”  It’s not that I hated 2003’s Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, it’s just that I lost interest in this story.  All three Terminator movies are the same!  A Terminator comes back from the future to kill John Connor while someone else tries to protect him.  When I heard that Terminator Salvation was actually about the post-apocalyptic war that had always been hinted at, I was skeptical.  Seeing the robot war for a minute in the other films made it legendary and interesting.  Seeing it as a whole movie worried me a great deal.  My basic conclusion after watching Salvation though is this – the action scenes are absolutely incredible, and that kept me satisfied.

Let’s face it.  There will never be another Terminator as good as the two James Cameron films.  Get over it.  As this one was about a war, it didn’t have that one-on-one conflict that made the other movies so endearing.  What Salvation does have though are action sequences that are equal to the previous entries, and at times even better.  Of course every Terminator flick has to have its customary car chase where everything gets destroyed.  Honestly, the chase in this one might have been my favorite in all the movies.

I was really impressed with the direction and effects.  Everything looked pretty good.  It didn’t look fake, which is of course a big problem when using a lot of CG.  One of the most important elements in a Terminator movie is of course the robot effects.  Except in this one its importance is elevated 800% because it actually centers on the robot war.  And I have to say, all the robots here look fantastic.  They are terrifying and bad ass, which is the point.

The worst parts about Salvation are the supporting characters.  They are bland, predictable and I just didn’t care about them.  I’m talking about people like the General of the resistance, played by Michael Ironside.  Oh hey, do you think John Connor is going to argue with him a lot and undermine his authority through out the movie and the General is going to try and be a real hard ass?  Yeah, we haven’t seen that a hundred times.

Also, Bryce Dallas Howard plays Kate Connor, John’s wife, and she is forgettable.  She’s supposed to be important, but just felt really forced here.  The two most important characters (John Connor and Marcus Wright) are very well developed though.  Christian Bale always brings intensity and is great once again.  I actually wanted to see more of John Connor.  There are long periods of time he’s not present.  Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington) is also a very intriguing character, but I can’t really go into his role without giving too much away.  I can honestly say though he keeps up with Bale’s intensity and the two work very well together.  The problem is these are the only interesting characters.

Bottom line: If you love action movies, this will be heaven.  I can’t stress that enough.  It doesn’t have the character development the first two Terminator movies had, but it’s better than the third one.  The last twenty minutes or so are just outstanding, and it gets you pumped for the next one.  That’s also a flaw with all these Terminator movies.  Nothing is ever truly resolved.  I feel like we will never get to the end of this series.  Regardless though, I would check Salvation out.  The absolute best part of the movie though I don’t want to spoil, but when it happens, it’s pretty damn cool.

Rating: 7.0 out of 10 

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