The fourth installment of the Terminator series (this time a prequel depending on how you look at it) brings back many of the ingredients that that have become common elements for the T series- ever improving special effects, over the top chase sequences, humans on the run and the ever familiar pounding score.
Terminator Salvation, set in post-apocalyptic 2018, finds resistance leader John Connor (Christian Bale) leading the charge of humans to prevent their extinction against Skynet and its army of Terminators. The humans’ fate hits an unexpected twist in the form of Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington), a stranger whose last memory recalls being on death row. Connor must decide whether Marcus has been sent from the future, or rescued from the past and whether he arrives to destroy the humans to aid their charge.
For a McG (“Charlie’s Angels,” “We Are Marshall”) directed film, it comes as no surprise that the movie contains an awful lot of flash and style. McG definitely knows his action scenes and set pieces. But the film runs like a basketball team in a half court offense and never gets into a free flowing transition game. It lacks cohesion or something to tie things together in a smooth forward motion. Salvation feels like a bunch of set scenes most of which excite, thrill and visually and aurally stimulate.
The comfortably substance free film lacks cohesion as well as some of the cerebral elements from the earlier (mostly the first) films. With no real antagonist to root against (not counting the re-creation of Arnold) Salvation meanders and even dips into pieces of other films notably Road Warrior and its famous post apocalyptic chase. It doesn’t help that McG can’t direct people who need to seem like they are in love even when they aren’t. McG and the herd of four screenwriters offer more interest in crushing human skull visuals rather than polished dialogue.
The film knows what it is but doesn’t go out of its way to raise the bar. It offers rugged good looks, pulsing sound and a few smarts tossed in. Unfortunately, for a film that goes out of its way to distinguish the difference between man and machine is having a heart, this film lacks that very organ.
American director whose flashy promo work for bands like Smash Mouth and Sugar Ray led him to helm 2000s big-screen update Charlie's Angels and its 2003 sequel, along with a blockbusting Terminator sequel. This Means War was an expensive flop, and 3 Days to Kill did not quite revitalise Kevin Costner's stardom. Also worked on the trashy TV show Fastlane. Real name Joseph McGinty Nichol.