John Spartan Mildly Enjoys Terminator: Salvation

terminator salvation poster 1 195x300 John Spartan Mildly Enjoys Terminator: Salvation

McG takes a crack at directing the latest Terminator flick that’s planned to be the first of a trilogy chronicling John Connor’s war against Skynet and the machines. Being a fan of Terminator 2, it’s hard not to compare Salvation to James Cameron’s masterpiece. As a film in the Terminator mythology, Salvation feels like one big tease. It’s got a great premise, but the movie would rather focus less on drama and more on action, making the movie feel like nothing’s at stake.

Terminator: Salvation takes place in an apocalyptic future where Skynet has destroyed most of mankind and is rounding up and destroying all the remaining humans. It’s up to John Connor (Christian Bale) and the resistance to bring down Skynet and save humanity. We’re introduced to a new character Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington), an inmate sentenced to death row in the year 2003. Before he gets done for by lethal injection, he signs off his body for donation.

Fast forward the story to the year 2018. John Connor and gang discover one of the enemy’s bases and have found a way to “turn off” the machines. The machines destroy the facility, killing everyone inside, leaving John Conner the only survivor. But wait, out of the rubble emerges Marcus Wright, the dead guy from the past. It’s no surprise from all the previews that Marcus is really a machine inside. The movie really tries to play it out that he’s human until the final unveil, but we all know that he’s a machine now. Even the previews for Terminator 2 spoiled it by revealing that Arnold is a good guy. Boooooooo!

This movie had a lot of potential, but missed the mark when it counted. Christian Bale feels wasted as John Connor. He plays it straight, and acts more robotic than the cyborg Marcus Wright. Throughout the movie, John Connor travels all over the place with ease; for example, after completing a mission, he rendezvous with the head resistance by jumping down from a plane into the stormy ocean, to be picked up by their submarine. Another example is when he travels north to one of Skynet’s main headquarters and doesn’t encounter any resistance from the machines until the end. This was a place where Skynet was building terminators, yet John Connor only had to worry about one (Ok, he did have help from Marcus, but still).

The special effects in the movie are pretty good, but seem very cartoonish because of the stunts involved, which took me out of the movie. During a chase scene against two motorcycle terminators, Marcus was able to flip the terminator bike, with the help of the tow truck he’s driving in, and make it crash into a nearby enemy ship.

The acting ranges from ok to mediocre and certain characters seem like they have a bigger role but are wasted including Common as John Connor’s right-hand man and Bryce Dallas Howard as John Connor’s wife. The music doesn’t really stand out and is pretty disappointing, especially knowing that Danny Elfman composed the score.

Easily the best part of the movie is Marcus Wright’s tale as a machine who thinks he’s human and his struggle to prove that he’s good underneath. If the movie focused more on just him and less on John Connor, the narrative might have been better. Still, the tale of Marcus saved the film from being a total waste. I blame this on Christian Bale for wanting John Connor to have a bigger role.

Grade: C

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