Terminating 'Terminator' might be wise
Somehow along the way everyone fooled themselves into thinking that Terminator Salvation was going to be a good movie and not a slapped together, franchise expanding piece of corporate film making. The funny thing is is that it wasn't based on any facts. We have McG directing, a screenplay by the guy who did Catwoman and a sci-fi series that worked well because it was based in our time not in the future. We just all wanted to hope so bad that the movie was going to be awesome that we forgot it had nothing going for it except Christian Bale.
Well no amount of hoping is going to make Terminator Salvation a good or even enjoyable movie. It's a plotless, over acted pile of dirt colored film making with one solid action sequence and a John Conner (Christian Bale) that won't stop yelling or whining. I suppose we all could have guessed that the movie would be pretty lacking in tension considering all the main characters, aside from one, have to live in order to send Arnold back in time twice.
The film picks up in the future of the Terminator series where the machines have actually taken over and John Conner is fighting to save the world. He, and the audience, know that he has to find Kyle Reese in order to send him back in time to become John's father in the first movie. So John can't die and Kyle can't die and they're both leads in the film meaning that every fight and action sequence just sort of hangs in limbo. On top of this, Bale's performance is so sub-par that you end up hating John Conner and hoping he does die even though you know he can't. Luckily Sam Worthington, as the part man/part machines Marcus Wright, is fantastic, and his character is really the only interesting one.
Unfortunately for him he's been handed the worst screenplay in years. There are parts of this film that completely forgo subtly and replace it with a frying pan so large that the entire theater groaned when they got hit with it. It's hard to make an emotional connection with anyone in the film when the words coming out of their mouth sound like they were designed as "human" by the very machines that have taken over the world.
But wait, we don't go to Terminator movies for the though provoking character development or great acting. Let's remember that this is a franchise made famous by a man who could barely speak English. No, we go to them to see robots beating up on each other and explosions. So this movie must have that right? Well if you want to see Transformers again, then yes it does. Oh, and instead of Michael Bay's ability to blow stuff up really, really well we get McG's ability to make any action sequence feel like an overdone cartoon. Nothing feels like Terminator in the film, just greed.
I wish I could say that Terminator Salvation suffers from a little thing I like to call the zombie issue. See once a zombie series goes post apocalyptic it starts to suck, because zombies are simply an enclosed space threat. It's not the film's fault, it's the subject matter that doesn't work in that case. However, Salvation's subject matter is perfectly suited to the apocalypse, so in this case its not the subject matter that isn't right it's the film built around it. Let's hope when the franchise inevitably comes back some changes will have been made.
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