| Two Reviews below by Keith Cohen and Jolene Mendez.
The timing is perfect for the fourth installment of this sci-fi franchise pitting man vs. machine. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the original film that starred Arnold Schwarzenegger in the title role.
Arnold played a cyborg sent in 2029 back in time by Skynet, a 21st century computer system designed by mankind, to kill Sarah Connor, the mother-to-be of John Connor, the future leader of the human resistance movement.
Sarah's protector Kyle Reese was also sent back in time from the future and became John's biological father. This background is important in understanding this film, which is set in post-apocalyptic 2018.
John Connor (Christian Bale, who was last seen as Batman/Bruce Wayne in "The Dark Knight"), now in his mid-30s, has gained the support and respect of a group of survivors trying to ward off total annihilation by Skynet and its army of T-800 model Terminators.
A submarine is the command headquarters for the resistance with orders for military operations given by General Ashdown (Michael Ironside). A new weapon has been devised to emit a continuous signal that disables the machines. This could be the turning point in the war.
Connor is joined by a mysterious person from the past named Marcus Wright (Australian actor Sam Worthington) to infiltrate the nerve center of Skynet in a rescue operation to free human prisoners that include a young Kyle Reese (Anton Yelchin, who is currently playing Chekov in "Star Trek"). Connor is guided by tape-recorded messages from his mother that reveal the true identity of his father.
This suspenseful and exciting futuristic survival tale is short on dialogue, but the explosive action more than makes up for the lack of exposition. This battle-heavy tale is strictly for macho men with high levels of testosterone. There is a touch of romance provided by a beautiful female jet fighter pilot, Blair Williams (Moon Bloodgood, who was named one of People's Magazine 100 Most Beautiful People in the world for 2009), who develops the hots for Wright and helps him escape from her own comrades-in-arms.
The cast also includes Helena Bonham Carter, Bryce Dallas Howard and Jane Alexander.
In a brief scene, Arnold's face has been digitally grafted onto the body of a T-800. The special CGI visual effects from Industrial Light & Magic, a washed-out color palette bordering on black and white and a terrific musical score composed by Danny Elfman contribute to the bleak, dark and gritty end-of-the-world doomsday scenario.
This movie is tightly edited and smartly paced with a running time under two hours. It grabs the audience from the outset when Wright is first introduced behind bars awaiting death by lethal injection. It fast forwards to the future with the first of many battle sequences.
Connor is portrayed as a never-say-die heroic soldier. This thrill ride never lets you escape from its grasp as you develop a rooting interest for the human race to prevail. You will find yourself cheering every time a machine is destroyed.
The movie keeps you guessing as to whether Wright, an indestructible Frankenstein-created abomination, will ultimately side with the humans or the machines. Bale gets the honor of delivering the famous line: "I'll be back."
Hats off to director McG ("We Are Marshall" and "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle") and scriptwriting partners John D. Brancato and Michael Ferris ("Catwoman") for masterfully bringing to the screen a summer reboot delight that nicely sets up a fifth chapter as the global war rages on. The movie makes you ponder the technological advances in this age of computers and those qualities that make us human.
Keith Cohen "The Movie Guy"
Review Below By:
Terminator Salvation - 1/4 Stars
Set in 2018 we flash forward to the World today. Judgment day is behind us and we are all in peril. With the one prophet predicted, John Connor (Christian Bale), can he save all mankind? In “Terminator Salvation” the Terminators are mounting their numbers of humans, by capturing and killing, eventually routing them to their headquarters at Skynet. Small groups of survivors are determined to fight back and take back their land. These groups are known as The Resistance. When Connor feels his camp has been infiltrated by the enemy he begins to question his destiny and the chance at victory.
Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington) thought he had faced his toughest challenge by being on death row. Finding his true task when he is brought to Connor’s camp and discovers he has been re-manufactured as a Terminator, with a heart. Not only is he half-man/half-machine but any memory explaining his predicament has been erased. Connor finds it hard to trust Marcus, but he has to in order to protect the future. As the pair begins to work together to destroy Skynet we are left pondering what the future holds for all humans and how many more Terminators will need to be annihilated.
“Terminator Salvation” contains great action and captures the original predication of Judgment Day precisely, but overall the entire product was disappointing. Christian Bale fails to evoke any audience admiration. Despite his temper heard aloud through the media, which does not help matters, his emotionless portrayal of Connor was troubling. Connor did grow up, but not as the man we would expect him to become. The child we once knew who had a tender spot for the machines has somehow morphed into a dark angered man lacking compassion for all. Bale’s performance is upstaged by the new terminator, Sam Worthington (Marcus), half-human/half-machine. His performance as the lost soul with a second chance is sure to catapult his career. As for the direction by McG I did not know what to expect, but found a little too much of a bomb factor for my fancy. Lessons need to be learned that once a story has reached its true potential, please leave it alone and don’t ruin its success with an embarrassing attempt of upstaging it for a quick buck. If you are looking for something positive from the “Terminator Salvation”, look for Arnold Schwarzenegger’s computer generated re-birth. Skip to the end and save yourself the one hour viewing time. Nothing gets resolved, nothing is terminated and if anything is discovered it is just how rotten this film is.