Sunday, June 14, 2009

Movie Review: Terminator Salvation

I went into this film with pretty high expectations but also somewhat realistic. The idea of anyone thinking this film could top what James Cameron did with the first two films is just ridiculous to me. I expected to see an entertaining summer blockbuster and thats what I got. Nothing great and noting atrocious, plot holes and bad acting don't help but the explosions don't hurt.

The story is set in the year 2018 as John Conner is gaining momentum among the resistance by broadcasting messages of hope and victory. On another journey is Marcus Wright who is wandering the desert without any memory of what happened to him after signing away his body to science while on death row. Conner's preaching spread far enough for Marcus to learn about him and so he heads off with a young Kyle Reese to find John Conner.

The best parts of the film ends up being the interactions between Kyle Reese and Marcus Wright as they traverse the desert. Sam worthington who plays Marcus Wright is a newcomer to North America but if this film is any indication, he might just be the next big thing. Until now no one knew who he was but with a upcoming schedule packed with Avatar and Clash of the Titans i'm sure he will be here to stay. As shown in trailers we find out that Marcus is actually a new unknown model of terminator. This creates a huge pacing problem because this reveal doesn't play out until an hour into the film. So the whole time I keep thinking wow I really like this guy and then remembering "I know he's going to be a terminator" it took all tension and surprise out of the film for me. That doesn't mean Sam Worthington doesn't do a great job with the poor material though. The same can't be said for Christian Bale who plays the iconic John Conner with less emotion then a T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger). He's either angry or brooding through the entire film and helps to create one of the least likable heroes in recent history.

Of course I didn't go into the film for the thespian performances. I wanted to see terminators blow up! MCG might not be quite at a Michael Bay level of blowing shit up but he did a pretty descent job. The chase seen with Kyle Reese and Marcus Wright is full of motorcycles, trucks, transformers, and airships. all the things that make for a fun terminator action set piece. The film could have used less desert and more urban areas like seen in the original Terminator.

I don't usually shake my head at drama in action films but they try to pull something off with the ending that just doesn't work due to the bad acting and clunky dialogue. I won't give anything away but I never felt like John Conner deserved what he got simply because I never cared about him because Bale never made me care. I wasn't inspired or lifted up by his character. I'm still interested in the franchise but the this film is proof that the days of James Cameron's Terminator are over.

3 out of 5

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