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Terminator Salvation (Director's Cut) (2009)

A movie directed by Joseph McGinty

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The battle for humanity has just begun

  • May 20, 2009
Pros: Great Action, Cast, and FX

Cons: Dark Tone.

The Bottom Line: Terminator Salvation is a solid entry into the classic series.

Following up the legendary first two Terminator films was no easy task. Without series creator, James Cameron. many fans found “Terminator: Rise of the Machines” to be lacking the depth, action, and character of the earlier films.  When Director McG was announced to continue the war between humanity and the machines in “Terminator Salvation” fans feared that the series might become a campy action film in the vein of the directors “Charlie’s Angels” films. Thankfully for fans, the film more than delivers and continues the dark and intensely human story about the battle for humanities'  survival against the ruthless computer network, Skynet.

The film opens in 2018 where John Connor (Christian Bale), is involved in a raid on a Skynet facility with a group of fellow soldiers. The team is attempting to gain sensitive information from the main servers about Skynet. Along the way, they discover many human prisoners are being kept by the machines and learn what they believe is a weakness in the network that will allow them to defeat Skynet once and for all.

In the aftermath of the mission, John is debriefed by the human leadership and learns that their names are on a Skynet kill list and ironically John is #2 on the list behind someone named Kyle Reese (Anton Yelchin). While the name does not ring any bells with the command staff, John knows the name all too well and how his future, and all of humanity, hinges on this person staying alive.

At the same time, a man emerges named Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington), who meets up with Reese.  Together they flee from a an array of deadly machines intent on capturing Reese.  In a spectacular action sequence, Reese and Marcus battle a giant machine as well as Hunter Killers and cycle-like assassins that are as relentless as their terminator counterparts.  Separated from Reese by the enemy, Marcus meets a resistance pilot named Blair Williams (Moon Bloodgood), who convinces him to return to the resistance camp where John Connor can help him locate Reese.

Fates collide and a shocking secret is revealed that causes division in the resistance and places Connor at odds with his chain of command.  As a pending strike on Skynet looms, Connor is forced to undertake a desperate mission to save the future, one that challenges much of what he believes and rocks the very foundation of the resistance.  What follows is an intense series of events and an explosive series of action scenes that should delight fans of the series and sets the stage well for future films.

Bale brings his signature intensity to Connor, smoothly moving between the action and dramatic scenes well, something he's had practice with as Batman. Worthington was a very pleasant surprise. His character not only has an interesting back-story but provides a great compass for the storyline. I did have some questions about how, in a post-Apocalypse setting, things like water were free from fallout, as were blasted out cities, and how military planes and ships survived without having their chips scrambled by a nuclear pulse.

That being said, the film works very well. A strong cast and good action were well blended with great effects to create a winning formula. I did wonder where the plasma rifles that were shown in the earlier films were, but did remember that those were shown in a time 11 years in the future from this film.

Of great significance in James Cameron’s earlier films was the way he deftly combined action and real characters with a complex storyline. “Terminator Salvation” is not as deep as the first two films but it also does not rely on explosions of CGI effects to carry the story. At the core of the film is a bleak but human drama about love, sacrifice, survival, and determination.  While some may have issues with the dark tone of the film, it is important to remember that this is about humanities' struggle against extinction. McG keeps things moving at a brisk pace and has crafted a slick and enjoyable film that has many clever nods to the source material without ever being disrespectful to the franchise.  I am looking forward to see what future films in the story will offer, as truly the battle for humanity has just begun.
4 stars out of 5


Movie Mood: Action Movie
Viewing Method: Press Screening
Film Completeness: Looked complete to me.
Worst Part of this Film: Nothing

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More Terminator Salvation reviews
review by . February 27, 2011
posted in SF Signal
Be forewarned - I didn't like it. Why - we'll get to in a minute but first: I don't hate all movies. I don't even hate all "modern" science fiction" movies.? But since I hated Charlies Angels, its probably safe to say that I do hate all MCG movies. I like a good science fiction film. I'll even give props to SF films that aren't 100% good; in fact, considering some of the flicks I do like, my standards are pretty low. But not so low as to include this abomination. …
review by . May 23, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
movie poster
Hollywood has a habit of rebooting successful franchises, and it seems like the next one on the list is James Cameron's "Terminator" franchise. I have always wondered how the futuristic apocalyptic world of this sci-fi franchise would look like and as to how humans are able to survive and keep a "resistance". Having the rare distinction of being both a prequel and a sequel, "TERMINATOR SALVATION" attempts to give us that vision. The film pretty much takes off after …
Quick Tip by . July 12, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
This movie had more heart than the others in the series. The end is the best part to me.
Quick Tip by . July 10, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Unfortunately it was not the final terminator movies, but oddly enough it was almost a prequel to the others.
review by . July 21, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
As a fan of the entire Terminator movie series, you would be forgiven for assuming that I would hate this movie. The truth is that I didn't watch this movie hoping it would match the brilliance of the original movies as I knew that simply wasn't going to happen. What we got was not a film that captured the terrifying doomsday essence of what made Cameron's two Terminator films so brilliant. We also didn't even get the cool and slick looking destruction heavy style of the third Terminator film. What …
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Gareth Von Kallenbach ()
Ranked #37
I am a syndicated movie & game critic, writer, author and frequent radio guest. My work has appeared in over 60 publications worldwide and he is the creator of the rising entertainment site "Skewed … more
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Terminator Salvationrestores some of the balance of huge freakin' explosions and emotionally compelling plot to theTerminatorseries. Set entirely after the nuclear assault that left the computer system Skynet in control of the world,Terminator Salvationfollows John Connor (Christian Bale) as he grapples with both murderous robots and his superiors in the resistance, who aren't sure they believe the prophecies that Connor is destined to save humanity. Into the midst of this struggle tumbles Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington, who would later star in James Cameron'sAvatar); the last thing he remembers was being executed in prison decades before. Baffled, he falls into company with Kyle Reese (Anton Yelchin,Star Trek) and a mute little girl, who soon get captured--but Wright then meets and bonds with Blair Williams (Moon Bloodgood,Eight Below), a resistance fighter who remains loyal to the confused Wright even though Connor suspects he's not what he seems--or what he believes himself to be.Terminator Salvationisn't the astonishing synthesis of action and feeling that eitherThe TerminatororT2were; the plot threads are poorly woven and fray completely in the last third of the movie. Despite this,Terminator Salvationhas at least two skillfully orchestrated action sequences that will get your heart racing, and Worthington’s beguiling mixture of toughness and vulnerability gives his relationship with Bloodgood a genuine pulse. It's imperfect, but compared ...
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Director: McG
DVD Release Date: December 1, 2009
Runtime: 117 minutes
Studio: Warner Home Video
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