Terminator Salvation: DVD, Blu-ray Movie Review (2009)

12/11/2009 Posted by Admin

DVD, Blu-ray Movie Review

“Terminator Salvation”

Directed by McG, written by John Brancato and Michael Ferris, 107 minutes, rated PG-13.

By Christopher Smith

What’s most surprising about McG’s humorless yet action-packed “Terminator Salvation,” the fourth film in the long-running “Terminator” franchise, is that Christian Bale, widely touted as the film’s star, has only a co-starring role as John Connor, on whom the fate of humanity long has rested.

The film’s real star is the terrific Sam Worthington, whose vitae might not be as impressive as Bale’s (at least not yet--he is, after all, set to star in James Cameron’s upcoming “Avatar,” the director’s first major film since 1997’s Academy Award-winning “Titanic”), but who has the far more difficult role to manage.

Here, he is Marcus Wright and when we first meet him in 2003, he is about to be executed for crimes that occurred offscreen. But before the life-ending drugs drip into his body, one Dr. Kogen (Helena Bonham Carter) convinces Wright to sign over his body to science. Just what that means, Wright doesn’t know, but he agrees, he dies, Kogen has her way with him, and suddenly we’re in 2018, judgment day has occurred (the world is in Apocalyptic ruins) and his memory is erased.

Other things have changed about him, too, but those are best left for the screen to reveal. Safe to say that when Marcus finally comes to meet Connor, each man is faced in this war against Skynet and their destructive Terminator robots with what it means to be human and what it means to be machine. Whether they can co-exist is at the core of this story.

McG, who is best known for the “Charlie’s Angels” movies, knows how to stage action, which, as you might expect, is especially helpful for an action movie. While it’s true that there is a staleness to some of the action scenes in “Salvation,” such as when humans are violently plucked and collected for study by towering robots (think Steven Spielberg’s version of “War of the Worlds”), other scenes are fresh and exciting, such as when snake-like robots swarm in for a feast and then find themselves writhing for their undead lives.

Mirroring this year's “Star Trek,” performances matter in this movie, even if the humor from the previous “Terminator” movies has unfortunately gone missing.

Beyond Worthington, a highlight is Moon Bloodgood as Blair Williams, who matches Linda Hamilton when it comes to channeling a tough, no-nonsense woman who knows how to fight in spite of the odds stacked against her. In her scenes opposite Wright, she also provides an unforced romantic subplot that gives the film the punch of depth it needs. Bryce Dallas Howard and Anton Yelchin co-star, with only the latter leaving a lasting impression. And as for Bale, he’s good--solid amid the ongoing storm--but don’t expect much of him.

This is Sam Worthington’s movie, and he steals it.

Grade: B

Check out the Extended Trailer for "Terminator Salvation" here:

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  1. helobuff said...

    I have to say I was disappointed in this movie. The other Terminator movies were in color - I expected this to be as well. Its not. Its black and white and its very dark. The story line in this one is from the perspective of her son (John Conner). In his timeline, he is fighting the machines and going thru the tape she left him to find clues as to what will happen. I expected it to be more engrossing that it was and found myself extremely dissappointed. They could have done much better.