Set in post-apocalyptic 2018, John Connor is the man fated to lead the human resistance against Skynet and its army of Terminators. But the future Connor was raised to believe in is altered in part by the appearance of Marcus Wright, a stranger whose last memory is of being on death row. Connor must decide whether Marcus has been sent from the future, or rescued from the past. As Skynet prepares its final onslaught, Connor and Marcus both embark on an odyssey that takes them into the heart of Skynet’s operations, where they uncover the terrible secret behind the possible annihilation of mankind.
So here’s the honest truth. Based on the general media commentary that’s out there and terminator 3, I have been preparing myself for Terminator Salvation to be one of 2009’s biggest let down. Of course if the trailers and the special 4 minute clip that have been posted were anything to go by then perhaps there was a little bit of hope.
My opinion of the film ebbed and flowed with the waves of the plot as T4 washed over me. It was an easy story to get lost in, despite some rather simple reviewers from the northern hemisphere saying that the plot was complex and hard to follow; this movie actually was not hard work. From the opening scenes showing Marcus (Australian actor Sam Worthington , previously seen in Dirty Deeds with Bryan Brown and Bootman with Adam Garcia) as he heads to what he thinks is his final engagement on death row through to the high energy human verses machine battle scenes.
The story unfolds as we sit on the edge watching in anticipation as the characters that we have seen in different timelines through the first 3 films begin to come together for the first time. The meeting of John Connor and his father Kyle Reese (Anton Yelchin Recently seen as Checkov in the new Star Trek film). From the previous outings we know that in the future John Connor sends Kyle Reese back in time to stop a Terminator Cyborg from killing his mother Sarah.
Let me take a little time to address some of the comments that I have read online as to Terminator Salvation. “Where is the light comic feel of previous Terminator outings?”, well I have say that if the person who asked this actually saw the original Terminator they would realise that this is a dark and somewhat hopeless. Ironically as the technology has become more complex in the terminators, the serious dark tone of the original has lost its intensity, until now. The gritty nature of Salvation asks the question, “What makes us human and therefore different to the machines?”
Then there was the comment that Christian Bales keeps using his Batman voice (You know the guttural drawl) Well it’s true, but then again this is becoming a bit of a Christian Bale trademark, along with the angry outbursts to co-workers and family members.
Another very common statement about Terminator Salvation is that once again Christian bale is upstaged by a secondary character in the film. (Such as heath Ledgers’s Joker in The Dark Knight) Although this is true and Sam Worthington is outstanding as Marcus the original terminator Cyborg. Of course the real answer to this is that in the original script for terminator Salvation, John Connor was very much a secondary character and the main focus is the journey of discovery that Marcus takes. So it’s no surprise that the character of Marcus draws your attention. This is always going to be the case when you have a character that is trying to figure out if he is the hero or the villain.
Anyway in summary, although Terminator Salvation was a lot better than I was expecting it is still just an okay film. But then again without it’s cutting edge visual effects, perhaps T2 would have been much the same.
Reviewed by: Jon E Clist
Releases: 4th June
Rating: M – Violence
Running time: 114 mins
Genre: Sci Fi, Action
Starring: Christian Bale, Sam Worthington, Anton Yelchin & Moon Bloodgood