It all started in 1984 with the original film The Terminator and seven years later we were given the classic; Terminator 2: Judgment Day. That was all well and good. Nothing more needed to be done. Arnold had quoted the famous line that would forever be a part of movie quotedom, “Hasta la vista, baby”. He was out of here and the franchise should have followed suit. Then lo and behold 12 years later, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. A female terminator was added to the mix. How silly is that? No offense ladies but machines are machines are machines. Unless they need their own bathroom, who cares? Now six years after that we are offered up another Terminator film; Terminator Salvation and I really have to ask the question, really? Why? If I remember correctly in the 80’s John Conner’s mom went to the future 2000’s and met his dad and got pregnant and then went back and had John who now has caught up to his dad who is still really young? I am not sure I care enough about any of these people to think that hard about it. It has been too long and I have moved on.

 

John Conner (Christian Bale) is still leading the rag tag group of survivors known as the human resistance. They are the only ones able to stay one step ahead of Skynet’s robots. Problem is that I can’t stay a step ahead of the story. A decade between releases is a long time to recall plot lines. Now we find ourselves in the year 2018 where Conner has to be in his 30’s. Yet he is trying to save his father, Kyle Reese (Anton Yelchin) who is only about 15. Conner thinks he may have found a way to overpower these pesky terminators once and for all and finally destroy Skynet. Added to the mix is a half human, half robot (Sam Worthington) struggling with his own insecurities and limitations. Even the female terminator didn’t have this much emotional baggage. A pregnant Bryce Dallas Howard adds little to the character roster as Conner’s wife and team surgeon. Like the rest she sort of mumbles through her lines and waits for the credits.

 

Director McG (Charlie’s Angels, We Are Marshall) does a decent job of bringing some big screen elements. The robots are huge and loud and come in all shapes and sizes. So at least you have a couple moments of sci-fi action that look awesome. But the rest is a thin plot that does little to build character depth or give any sort of reason to why any of this is important. Everyone is tired and dirty and like the audience they just want to be done with this whole terminator business. At times I felt like I was watching a remake of Road Warrior. It has that same post apocalyptic look and feel. Though I did notice that everyone in the future has perfectly straight, brilliantly white teeth. So we have that to look forward to. Plus this film makes two very crucial mistakes. Well one mistake and one interesting choice. The mistake was the addition of a young mute girl who adds nothing to the story or the action. She walks around all doe eyed trying to get the sympathy nod from the moms in the audience. It was like when the Ewoks showed up and ruined the whole dang Star Wars franchise. It adds such a cheese factor and takes away from any sort of adult action. I have no idea why films do this but they should have terminated her in the first scene.

 

Terminator Salvation is rated PG-13 (this would be the interesting choice I alluded to) for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and language. It is the first film in the Terminator realm not to receive an R rating. Granted I am not sure if making it R would have made it any better but you never know. Unfortunately in this one the intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action weren’t often enough to keep my attention and the rest was a “who cares snooze fest”.  The fisticuffs are intense and I would not sneak anyone in under the age of 12. I went in with very few expectations and came out with them all being met. Sadly. I give Terminator Salvation 2 out of 5 shotgun blasts. The tagline “The End Begins” worries me that there are more of these to come. If so, we really do need salvation.

 

-Matt Mungle

www.mungleshow.com

 

Rights reserved 2009 Mungleshow Productions

 

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