Adam wishes someone would save him from Terminator Salvation
I have seen a lot of critics give Terminator Salvation a free pass, a free pass based on the notion of low expectation. Let me clarify: critics thought this film would be a flaming pile of shit, it turns out that it is merely mediocre, so it’s ok to give it a decent review.
Excuse me, but this is bullshit. This film had to be great to get a pass, not good and not okay. The original Terminator was a visionary piece of cinema, and Terminator 2 is the greatest action film ever made (I’m willing to hear a case for Die Hard). Terminator 3 sucked hard and we all know why: James Cameron did not direct it. Now this shitty director ‘McG’ (beware of filmmakers that use aliases) thinks he can have a play in the Terminator universe. Cameron’s films worked so well because they were dripping with mythology and intelligence. This new piece of shit has no logic and its attempts to expand the Terminator mythology are laughable.
Terminator Salvation follows the ongoing battles of resistance leader John Connor (Christian Bale). John wars against a malicious computer system known as ‘Skynet’. After an attack on a Skynet base, John tries to convince the resistance that Skynet is constructing cyborg killing machines known as ‘Terminators’. While Connor struggles to convince the resistance of the emerging threat, a survivor of the Skynet base attack, Marcus (Sam Worthington), wanders the desert trying to make sense of his newly acquired robotic form.
Everything that made the Terminator films great is absent in this film. The violence, the terror, the basic fear is gone. Now when someone encounters a terminator, they can fool it with a simple trap. In this film, children defeat a terminator. It hurts me just to type that sentence. The only connective tissue is a dodgy, CGI version of Arnold Schwarzenegger. The real acting is just as mediocre: Sam Worthington barely registers. Worthington received the opportunity of a lifetime with Avatar; he went from playing supporting characters in Australian films to top of the international A-list. He has rewarded this opportunity by delivering subpar performances in a series of crappy films, I am not a fan. More disappointingly, Christian Bale misfires. Bale is easily one of his generation’s most gifted actors and his commitment to character is legendary. His is so wrapped up in his role of a resistance fighter that he just screams at everyone, in a better film it may have fit, but here it just feels miscalculated. The only person who walks away unscathed is Anton Yelchin, his portrayal of the young Kyle Reese (the first film’s hero) is dynamic.
James Cameron made such a vivid and rich universe with his two Terminator films that I imagine a multitude of goods stories could be told with these characters. Unfortunately, no one in this creative team inherently understands this franchise and we the audience suffer as a result.