Release Date: May 21st, 2009
Click here for the Terminator Salvation Trailer.
The fourth installment in the acclaimed Terminator franchise, Terminator Salvation takes a different approach to the war between the human resistance and Skynet. In all previous Terminator movies, the story has revolved around machines traveling back in time to either destroy or save John Connor, the future leader of the human resistance. Salvation, however, takes audiences straight to the front lines in the post-apocalyptic war against the machines and Skynet.
In 2003, Marcus Wright(Sam Worthington), an inmate on death row, is calmly awaiting his execution when Serena(Helena Bonham Carter), a representative from Cyberdyne, asks Marcus to donate his body to Project Angel, which essentially seems like a good cause. 15 years in the future, in the year 2018, Marcus awakens in a desolated L.A. with no memory of anything. As he makes his way through L.A. Marcus is confronted by T-600 Terminator. Not knowing what it was, Marcus was attacked and narrowly escaped death after being thrown out of the way by Kyle Reese(Anton Yelchin). Marcus, along with Kyle and his partner Star(Jadagrace Berry) make their way to the resistance headquarters and to find John Connor.
John Connor(Christian Bale) is a soldier in the human resistance. His whole life, John's mother, Sarah Connor(Linda Hamilton) has told John of the impending Skynet take over and Judgment Day and how John is humanity's last hope in ending the war against the machines. When Kyle, Marcus, and Star are attacked by a Skynet scout and a hunter-killer, which is capturing human prisoners, John sends fighter pilots to intercept the machines and try to find out why they are taking prisoners. The hunter-killer captures Kyle and Star and destroys both fighter planes, but not before the pilot of one ejects and lands in the desert. Blair Williams(Moon Bloodgood) is another fighter in the resistance. Marcus locates where she landed and goes to help her. Blair then takes Marcus back to base camp and to John Connor. While traversing a magnetic minefield, Marcus steps on a landmine and is blown back. Upon examining him, the resistance learns of Marcus' terrible secret: Marcus is a prototype of the T-800 Terminator. Marcus has only two organs remaining in his body, his heart and his brain, which is only partly human considering it has a microchip implanted into it. The most dangerous part of Marcus is that he actually believes himself to be human.
Seeing that Marcus is no "real" machine, Blair releases him from his bindings. John, realizing Marcus isn't interested in killing him, lets him go. The two formulate a plan on infiltrating Skynet and rescuing the human prisoners, including Star and Kyle and to shut down the security of Skynet. While in the Skynet headquarters, Marcus links up with the Cyberdyne mainframe where a holographic image of Serena appears and reveals to Marcus his true identity and purpose. Serena tells Marcus that he was nothing more than a spy, or Trojan horse. Is job was to infiltrate the human resistance and lure John Connor and Kyle Reese into Skynet so they could be killed. Marcus then rips out the chip in his head and fights alongside John destroying numerous T-800s and T-600s in an attempt to escape Skynet. In the final fight John is impaled through the heart by a T-800, which is then destroyed by Marcus. The two then flee Skynet, and as their chopper is flying away, John detonates a small group of the nuclear power sources used to power the T-800s, leveling the entire Skynet complex. Seeing that John is going to die, Marcus decides to undergo a heart transplant, essentially ending his life and saving John's. He explains to Kyle and Blair that everyone deserves a second chance, even John, the now leader of the resistance.
Reviving a movie franchise like this is a dangerous business. But director McG does the franchise justice and a favor by veering away from the previous time traveling storyline of the first three movies. Taking the film into the post-apocalyptic future that was documented by Sarah Connor and Kyle Reese in the first movies was exactly what this franchise needed. This movie is first and foremost an action movie, and needed to deliver the action on a high octane intense level, and it does. This is no typical war movie. The people aren't fighting other countries or other people. They are fighting machines. Machines that don't eat, sleep, fatigue, or have a conscious. Machines designed for one purpose, to seek out and destroy every living human. This movie definitley delivers on graphics and action. The machines in Terminator salvation look incredible. The exoskeleton design is definitley a very intimidating look and the animations of the terminators are incredible to see as well. You actually feel like these things are real. Their motions, and actions are very fluid and clean, adding to the realism.
Another highlight of this moving was the characters. Christian Bale does a fantastic job as John Connor. His performance really delivers a believable character and you can really see the leader portrayed in Bale's character. But Bale isn't alone and is supported by a very well developed cast. Sam Worthington, who plays Marcus Wright, also delivers a great performance as the half human half machine hybrid. He has the mysterious aspect about him that sends a little chill down your spine whenever he is around. Among these two in the cast include the likes of Bryce Dallas Howard as Kate Connor, John's wife, Common as Barnes, John's right-hand man, and even a small bit from acclaimed actor Michale Ironside who plays General Ashdown, the leader of the resistance before John Connor. Anton Yelchin, who plays a young Kyle Reese, delivers a surprisingly good performance. Yelchin's film career doesn't include many big name movies. Previous performances from Yelchin include movies like Alpha Dog and Charlie Bartlett. However, Yelchin has upgraded his resume with this most recent Terminator Salvation and the recent Star Trek movie. But Yelchin handles this major role pretty good and delivers a worthy performance.
Now to get into the pros and cons of Terminator Salvation. The action was intense, to the extreme. Visually the movie was stunning. The special effects were incredible and looked fantastic on the big screen. It really did the Terminator franchise justice. One of my favorite aspects of this movie was the input of classic lines from the original movies. For example, when Kyle Reese and Marcus Wright meet for the first time, Kyle looks right at Marcus and says the classic "come with me if you want to live" line used by his character in the first movie. John Connor also spouts a classic line used by Arnold in the first Terminator film. John is leaving for a mission and his wife is expressing her fears of him not returning when John turns to her and says "I'll be back" made famous by Schwarzenegger in the original Terminator. Little things like this really add that special touch to franchise movies like this.
The cons, well, there aren't much. Sometimes the acting was a little off by Bale and Yelchin, but very rarely did this happen. Other than that there was nothing overly bad about this movie in my opinion. It had great action, a good plot, and brought a fresh new aspect to the Terminator franchise that we all have come to know and love. If you are a Terminator fan, then I would definitley recommend this movie for you. Or even if you are an action movie fan, this is a good movie to see. And while I don't want to spoil anything for you, there is a very cool and unexpected surprise towards the end of the movie which Terminator fans will absolutely love.
I give Terminator Salvation 8 Robot Apocalypses out of 10.
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