Terminator Salvation Review

Published 5 years ago by , Updated September 30th, 2009 at 9:55 am,

Short version: Terminator Salvation is great for the don’t-expect-much-except-action-out-of-a-summer-movie crowd, not so great if you’re looking for a worthy successor to the first two films.

salvation Terminator Salvation Review
Screen Rant reviews Terminator Salvation

For the record, I am not a McG hater, nor am I holding Christian Bale’s set meltdown against him. I realize that McG will be forever haunted by the fact he directed Charlies Angels – but I had really high hopes for Terminator Salvation… I wanted it to be great.

Unfortunately, it isn’t.

Why did I think that this long awaited addition to the Terminator movie franchise had even a snowball’s chance of being awesome? Because I had the sense that McG wanted to prove he could do it. While many people think that his film We Are Marshall isn’t all that great, I really enjoyed it and it demonstrated to me that he could actually do a film with characters you could care about.

But sadly, that’s exactly what’s missing from Terminator Salvation.

The film opens in 2003 with Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington) in a prison cell on death row, hours before his execution. He’s visited by a scientist who has cancer (Helena Bonham Carter) and wants him to donate his body to science. She seems desperate to get him to sign, and he’s not very cordial to her despite her situation and his.

The first problems in the film surface right at the start – why is she so desperate for him in particular to donate his body? Don’t scores of people have organ donation cards in their wallets? And then there’s his mysterious background – he’s responsible for the death of his brother and two police officers… neither of these is ever explained in the film (nor in the prequel novel for that matter, which I did read).

From there the film jumps to some serious actiony goodness in 2018. I won’t give anything away other than to say we get to see Christian Bale as John Connor almost immediately and he’s involved on a mission that does not end up going very well. At all. Very satisfying first look at the future including some fantastic action and cool visuals/camera angles.

The upshot is that the resistance (not led at this point by Connor) has found a way to defeat Skynet. Connor volunteers to test it on a small scale before the big move against Skynet central. However that plot line becomes secondary to the story of Marcus Wright and his involvement with a young Kyle Reese (Anton Yelchin). For the non-fans out there, Reese is the man who was sent back in time to save Sarah Connor and is the father of John Connor. At the point this film takes place that hasn’t happened yet (does your head hurt yet?).

Marcus doesn’t seem to have aged at all although 15 years have passed, and there is a mystery surrounding him. He runs into Kyle and the young girl he’s taken under his protection and very grudgingly goes along with them since he doesn’t really know what’s going on – and Reese did keep him from being killed by a T-600 (that’s the bigger and bulkier predecessor to the T-800, aka the Schwarzenegger Terminator).

The film eventually brings together Wright and Connor via resistance pilot Blair (Moon Bloodgood). There’s an issue of trust and conflict between the two that becomes the major issue in the film.

(continue for the verdict…)

Our Rating:

3 out of 5
(Good)

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TAGS: terminator salvation

154 Comments

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  1. Jago as an adult Ferlong isn’t really all that great. He’s a very mediocre actor also I was flipping through the channels and I saw him on one of those cop shows and he looks awful. Like a pedophile or something.

  2. Its every bit as bad as they say people, if you want to real sci-fi in your life you need to check out The Burning Skies, seriously it puts this pee brained Terminator story line to bed (and early)! So tired of this stupid franchise reebot phenomenon, please stop F-ing our favorite franchises up hollywood and give some of the well deserved “new kids on the block” a shot! Think im bs’n check out any of the Autumn Rain stuff and tell me its not a gold strike waiting to be mined!!!

  3. I liked the movie and disagree with some things said in these comments.
    The beginning was great in my opinion, and some of the best scenes were in the first hour.

    However the end and Directing felt like a total cop-out.
    The things the director did can be found right in a movie like Cloverfield, or Blairwitch, and it looks like a piss poor job by the director was done, but the overall writing was good[Besides the end]

    ~Casey

  4. Overall, I thought it was a pretty good movie, great action throughout and better than I was expecting after the first few disappointing reviews. The only knock’s I have on it are the dialogue isn’t too good, ok most of the time, but then again barely passable sometimes. Also the ending was somewhat weak, not horrible but weak. I’d give it a B or a B+, probably a B+.

  5. Johnny, sorry I forgot to ask you earlier is “Burning Skies” the Dark Horse series?

  6. Ken J, when are you seeing Terminator Salvation?, I’m looking forward to your comments on the Spoiler thread,,,

  7. Monday night

  8. At least you won’t contribute to the weekend box office. I’m hoping this tanks only so that Mcg is replaced.

    Not that the film sucks or anything.
    ;-)

    No spoilers,,,,

  9. Surprised you seem so critical now when you thought T3 was good. No way this is worse than that piece of garbage.

  10. You seem to forget Ken, that I worked on T3, so I will always love that film…

    I don’t care if you hate it and want to fixate your rage against it every chance you get. your ongoing negative opinion of it is becoming a ongoing joke behind the scenes…
    ^
    Hang on to your ego Ken,,, you crack me up most days. Let’s just leave it at that,,,

  11. Aww how cute, he thinks he’s important and that he can hurt my feelings. :-)

  12. Haha were like matter and anti matter Ken…
    ^
    Just give me your thoughts on Terminator Salvations ya big d bag,,,, lol,,,
    :-)

  13. For those who are interested, I ordered the T2 Complete Collector’s Set from Amazon that includes 6 discs: both discs of the Ultimate Edition and X-treme Edition DVD’s, the Skynet Edition Blu Ray, and a digital copy. And it comes with this collectible Endoskull bust. I thought the bust will be scaled down, but it’s actually 1:1 full size, lol, so it’s pretty big. But it’s all plastic instead of metal like those $500+ ones you see on sale. But it’s chrome plated so it looks metal. Pretty good for a Terminator geek like myself, I got mine for like $115, not sure what it goes for now…

  14. Yea I’ve made it none that I don’t really like Term one and two I thought they were both simple and straight forward action films that had a great idea behind them that turned out to be poorly realized. I thought the acting was horrible and the lack of depth / emotion was disappointing for what the film was about. With that said both one and two were at least enjoyable enough that I didn’t want a refund. Terminator three I actually left 3/4 of the way through the film and didn’t finish it until a year later. T3 was a awful film not only an insult to the franchise, but to action/scifi films in general.

    With that out of the way I was able to get a look at Salvation finally. The reviews have been mixed some say it’s good some say bad I say both are wrong and both are right. The film over all in my opinion was the best in the series, but I’m biased against the first two. I can say with absolute certainty that this one had the best acting of the franchise and the acting was actually a bit of a let down. I thought that Bale and the guy playing Marcus did an excellent job however the rest of the cast wasn’t so great. I really don’t see the Bale criticism in this film. It’s not his best performance, but it’s still leaps and bounds ahead of most the heart throb actors theses days. I love the dark moody feel to the film I like the despair that pours out of it that’s how a film like this should be just straight up gloomy. Honestly lets think about for one second what is going on in this world. I would say on Vic’s 1-5 scale Salvation easily gets a 3.5 if not a 4.. I think the three is an insult if you look through the other films that he has given a 3 to. Salvation is better than both Wolverine and Punisher War Zone which I believe both got a 3 as well. I think Wolverine was deserving of the three, but Punisher was at best a 2. Salvation is exciting and fun to watch. It’s not an amazing emotional journey, but I still found it more emotional than any of the other Terminators. Biggest positives for me were the mood, Bale, and Arnold not in the lead that guy is a terrible actor. Negatives would be that it could of used a little less action and a little more emotion, the ending was not as bad as some are saying, but still a bit of a let down and some of the supporting cast was not so great.

  15. Daniel F said:
    “The film over all in my opinion was the best in the series”

    What ever happened to “just say no to drugs?” Temptation was too much huh??

    :-D

    just kidding man…

  16. @daniel f
    yes i know what edward furlong looks like now… but i’m pretty sure that way before t3 was made they could’ve alerted him somehow and he would’ve had lots of time to get into shape and start to look the part… but again its nothing against bale its kinda like wanting the original cast back… sort of… either way it was still an ok movie. Night at the museum 2 and Dance flick which i just both saw were better in my opinion that is.

  17. Daniel,

    While I agree that I need more “levels” to my ratings (I’ve debated for a while going to a 10 star range to be able to give 6.5, 5.5, etc. to movies), you’ve jumped the tracks by saying that this one was the best in the series IMHO.

    Vic

  18. Sorry Vic, but I just simply don’t get the love for the first two. Those movies had a great plot, but when the scripts were written and the scenes were filmed they took an amazing sci fi idea with great potential for depth and made it a straight up action film. Really pay attention to the film there is no time for emotion to much is going on to fast and no one stops the feel anything then again I’m fairly certain only one actor in the first two could actually pull off emotion anyway. They were very straight forward and only simply action films riddled with horrible acting.

  19. Um, you realize that T2 only had like 4 action scenes right? The rest was all plot and character development? And it was 2 hours and 15 minutes long, so “the rest” is quite a bit of movie. There was also more symbolic things in that movie than in most serious drama’s I’ve seen.

    But I guess you must not have noticed any of that…

  20. Really too bad what happend to Furlong.
    Cameron really got a great performance out of him!!!

    I hope he turns it around,,,

  21. Just say no to drugs, Furlong should have listened to the DARE officer in school… :-D

  22. I noticed that there were more than 4 action scenes and that the actions scenes were very long and that when there wasn’t action there was god awful acting. There really wasn’t much symbolism and you seem to be reading more in to the film than there was. With that said T2 was better than T1.

  23. Or I simply notice more things than you? Pssshh what was I thinking? You see everything, and anyone that sees more or less than you must be out of their mind, I forgot, sorry dude.

  24. Apology accepted.

  25. Lol, I like your attitude Daniel. ;-)

  26. Meh we don’t agree on everything, but at least we agree on what’s important.

  27. Movies are only as entertaining as we perceive them to be. There are bound to be differences of opinion.

  28. http://comicbookmovie.com/fansites/LetsCutTheBS/news/?a=7670

    These guys are huge fans of the first two films and said this one was ok, but had to much drama and emotion. They said that they wanted to see more action and maybe cut out 20 mins or so of the drama so it could be all action. I find this funny.

  29. Vic i think you should raise it to a 10 star rating. You gave both wolverine and T4 a 3 out of 5 and you said T4 was better. Also when yor rating you are forced to have a certin rating like 5/5 when you really feel it should get a 9.5/10

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