‘Terminator Salvation’ Doesn’t Exactly Do It

When the word 'Terminator' comes up in a conversation or on a late-night talk show, automatically Mr. Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger and classic one-liners like "I'll be back" and "Come with me if you want to live" come to mind. Sadly, Terminator Salvation, the fourth film in the Terminator franchise, packs neither of those two things in this mess of a movie. Sure, it occasionally throws in a classic T1 or T2 quote, to make fans of the Skynet series go "Oh! They said that in Judgment Day!" to their friends (who for some reason are always clothed in something that has been praised at Comic-Con before), but unlike Star Trek, it just doesn't work.

Terminator Salvation stars Christian Bale as John Connor, son of Sarah Connor, in the year 2018. Skynet, the now self-aware computer program, has pretty much destroyed the entire human race in a post-apocalyptic Earth. Connor however wants to fight back, or "resist" the machines. So he forms a resistance team of survivors of the human genocide consisting of Blair Williams (Moon Bloodgood), Kyle Reese (Anton Yelchin), Barnes (for some reason, rapper Common) and John's girl, Kate (the cute Bryce Dallas Howard). Let's get one thing straight: two stars in Salvation rock. First, Christian Bale. Bale, the Dark Knight himself, can always make a bad movie good, turn rain into a rainbow. His scruff, Batman-like voice builds up drama and suspense for what's around the corner next in every scene that he lights up in.

The second, a small little role played by Helena Bonham Carter. She plays Dr. Serena Kogan, one of the Skynet leaders. Whenever I see Carter, I immediately recall Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. I loved that movie, and she never disappoints in anything that she's ever done (especially Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, great!) Although she doesn't really have anything to give her two-cents in, Carter tries her best. And you got to love her for that.

Director McG (yes, strange name) is the other moderately decent part about T4. He directed both of the remakes of Charlie's Angels and is currently an executive producer for NBC's Chuck and the CW's Supernatural. I heard great comments about him pre-going to see this. I was, however, mislead. There was a lot of unnecessary shaking of the camera and such of that origin in Terminator Salvation. I was hoping for a Cloverfield style of directing, but it was comparatively more like a bad version of Quarantine. And Quarantine was a bad version of Quarantine.

A second-person view of a tragedy unfolding with lots of explosions and panic would have been fantastic in this kind of flick, but nope. There wasn't any of that.

Terminator Salvation is a disappointing summer movie.
A TV show on Fox and 3 movies later might not be enough of a sign that the Terminator series has come to an end, but when you have to address Arnold as "Mr. Schwarzenegger", than it's definitely time to stop.

2/5 stars.

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