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REVIEW: "Terminator Salvation"

In On Film on May 24, 2009 at 4:44 am
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So I went tonight and saw “Terminator: Salvation“, despite Derk’s less than savory review. And while I’ll likely be in the minority here, I actually did find it to be an enjoyable enough flick, although deeply flawed.

Now, if you’re going in here high on the nostalgia of “Terminator 2: Judgement Day“, well yeah, you’re going to hate this. It acknowledges the events of the first three, but the films going in an entirely different direction, with John Connor a lowly soldier in the Resistance (Despite being the one who initially formed an underground movement, as seen in “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines“), as Kyle Reese, a teenager who isn’t truly a part of the Resistance at this point. Things are thrown into disarray when Marcus Wright enters the fray, truly believing he’s human but instead revealed to be a prototype infiltration model Terminator.

The first thing that really needs to be addressed, and has been the talk of everyone on the internet, is the rating. Yes, its PG-13. And a lot of people seem upset at this, but what do you expect? The majority of the violence in the film is against robots, nothing that would justify a greater rating. The first movies were R ratings, but a lot more gore and human deaths, the key phrase being human. That said, the action is decent, but its very few and far between until the final battle at Skynet, and there’s a lot of “WTF?” moments in there, such as when a motorcycle chained to a tow truck miraculously flings through the air and takes down a Hunter Killer. The action’s not bad, but there’s just not as much of it as the flick should have given the material.

So what about the actors? Christian Bale is a passable John Connor, but I’m a bit confused by him using his Batman voice here. I’ve been mostly an advocate for the Batman voice, as there was at least some kind of a reasoning for it in the Batman franchise, but why does John Connor talk like this? Sam Worthington easily impresses as the Termintor who believes he’s a human, while Bryce Dallas Howard and Moon Bloodgood put in great performances as Connor’s wife and a Resistance pilot respectively. Common’s here too, playing the same character he plays in every movie he’s ever done. But the true star of the show is going to be Anton Yelchin. Fresh off his portrayal of Chekov in “Star Trek“, Yelchin does a fantastic job as the new Kyle Reese, both evoking the memory of Michael Biehn and creating something new altogether.

Terminator Salvation” is a passable action flick. It doesn’t suck, but its obviously nowhere near as good as the first two entries in the series, which is to be expected. Its a shame that this is going to be eternally compared to “Terminator 2: Judgement Day“, because this movie is pretty decent in its own right. Just bear in mind that this is directed by a guy who used to do music videos, and remember you’re going into an action movie and try to accept this one at face value, but the die hard fans are going to want to wait for the DVD rental.

Final Grade: C

  1. Phisch and I are with you on this review. Not T2 but still a decent movie. The more time passes after seeing it there are plot issues that pop up un my head but definatly don’t ruin it. Phisch made the comment when we got out that the thing that bugged him most was that there were so many un-necisary establishing shots. I’m also disapointed in the previews showing that Marcus was a terminator, it stole the moment from the movie so you just kind of sit there waiting for it so everyone else knows.

  2. Yeah, you’ve got to go into it knowing that they aren’t even going to try and top T2. Its kind of in the same vein as Star Trek in that its a reboot that’s not a reboot. Its a totally different take on an aging franchise, but its still not disregarding everything that came before it.

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