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Terminator Salvation

2009-06-04 13:43
 
No laughs, no Arnie (sort of)… John Connor’s latest epic battle to save the human race is all frowns and twisted metal.
Terminator Salvation
In the highly anticipated new installment of The Terminator film franchise, set in post-apocalyptic 2018, Christian Bale stars as John Connor, the man fated to lead the human resistance against...
What it's about:

It's 2018 and a computer intelligence superpower called Skynet and its army of robot Terminators has control of the Earth. John Connor (Christian Bale) must lead the human resistance against the Terminators as events move towards a final battle. But when a mysterious soldier, Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington) appears from the past, Connor must decide whether to kill or help this soldier, and decide the fate of the world…


What we thought of it:


Who cares if Christian Bale is unstable? Who cares if he opened a steaming can of whoop-ass on some Best Boy during filming of Terminator Salvation? As long as he does his job and no one gets (seriously) hurt, all is well in Hollywood.

But Bale, still new to this "being huge" thing, didn’t just do his job, he did someone else’s. He insisted on a re-write that would super-size his "minor" role as John Connor, co-saviour of the human race. And therein lies the first problem with Terminator Salvation: there is no real main character.

Multiple protagonists are fine if you want to navigate the human condition, as we saw in Babel, but for something this big, with this much testosterone and action at stake, an attention-grabbing central beefcake is strongly called for. Aussie unknown Sam Worthington was to be that man, but instead gets caught up in a screen time tug of war with Bale that leaves us, the audience, in a bit of a hero vacuum.

Oh well. No one can pretend that character exposition is the cornerstone of the Terminator movies anyway. What has been done well are the various man-on-machine brawls that made The Terminator (1984) and T2: Judgement Day (1991) such resounding hits. It’s a wonder it took them so long, but now giant-sized Terminators, snake-like Terminators and motorcycle Terminators have been added to Skynet’s robot arsenal. Despite straying from the franchise’s history somewhat (fighting humanoid robots, usually by dumping them in lava or liquid nitrogen), these mechanical monstrosities are heaps of fun on the big screen, as they try to snuff out the prevailing hope of mankind in nasty and novel ways.

But who decided action comedies were passé? Cheesy humour was an undertone in T1, a theme in T2 and an admittedly over-the-top fixation of the underrated Terminator 3: The Rise of the Machines. But here comes Terminator Salvation and whoosh… not a sliver of a funny bone to be found. Maybe Arnold Schwarzenegger’s endless string of one-liners was too tricky an act to follow. Maybe Christian Bale’s face is still frozen into the grimace of Batman and a joke just wouldn’t seem plausible coming from him. Either way, if the Terminator series is so dear to so many people, why reduce it to a montage about killing robots?

Terminator Salvation sketches an interesting tale of the post-apocalyptic near future and the human struggle to overcome. There’s something missing, though, more than just humour. The question is, even if this movie had broken the fourth wall and said "I’ll be back", would you truly believe it?

NEXT ON CHANNEL24X

Million Dollar Arm

2014-09-12 10:24

Add Your Review

(Comments may be edited or deleted at the Channel24 editors’ discretion)
Uncle 6/4/2009 4:00 PM
That rant - the one at the DP - legendary. I'll watch it just to honour that tyrannical outburst. Oh and you used "the fourth wall" in a film review - that's 10 lashes from a Key Grip.
Kim 6/5/2009 11:56 AM
What a bizarre review - don't know whether to go and watch this now......you told me nothing!
preshen gOvender 6/5/2009 12:24 PM
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It reminds me of an ANC campaign lots of hype, action, noise , rioting and machine guns!!! .
Aint C'N nothing yet 6/5/2009 4:50 PM
Preshen....youve lost the plot. Dont ruin it for us.. we still have to see the movie..
Koseelen Naidoo 6/8/2009 3:45 PM
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I's a good movie , the die hard terminator fans will enjoy this. saw it this eekend ... cgs powerful
Morgan 6/13/2009 9:57 PM
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Since the sequel, the series has hardly been memorable. And this last effort with its cheesy script, hammy acting, gaping plot holes and we're-not-done-yet ending suggests it's time to terminate the series. Sam Worthington is the best thing about this pointless exercise. If only the movie'd been about his character, it may have been worth the ticket price.
Seelen 6/15/2009 2:45 PM
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Definately the worst of the franchise. the whole "man against machine" idea is lost in this movie. As sci-fi movie, it's passable but as a Terminator movie, IT SUCKS. This movie has definately killed the franchise.
Glenn 7/1/2009 4:43 PM
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T4 was better than T3 but the end was very open and unsatisfactory. I hope they make a 5th one cause the Box Office suggests they might not and then this moviw will really stand alone and be unfinished. Other than that it was an good evenings entertainment and I did enjoy it while it was on........now just that bloody ending!
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