It is 2013 and humankind has fallen victim to Skynet, a self aware military defense
program who started a nuclear war against humans. John Connor (Christian Bale), self
prophesized messianic leader of the human Resistance, acquires information about a new
type of robotic infiltrator, the T-800 Terminator, while raiding a research facility on
orders from high command.
The lab self destructs, killing Connor’s men and prompting him to seek explanations
from high command. He is then briefed about a hidden signal in the Skynet communications
frequency, one that can turn all of Skynet’s machines off. John volunteers to test the
veracity of the signal before a major Resistance offensive against Skynet takes place in
four days time. John also learns that his name is on a Skynet “kill list”, along with his
father Kyle Reese. Reese, a time traveling resistance fighter who saved John Connor’s mother
later in his life, is only a teenager at this point.
Meanwhile, convicted felon Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington), killed by lethal injection in
2003, finds himself alive and in a strange land. He is saved from an encounter with a T-600
by Kyle Reese (Anton Yelchin) and told of the war between man and machine. Marcus agrees to
help Kyle look for the Resistance, but is unable to avoid Kyle’s capture by Skynet forces.
Marcus later assists downed Resistance pilot Blair Williams (Moon Bloodgood, now on the cast
of post apocalyptic TV show Falling Skies) in reaching the Resistance base. Marcus is
interrogated by Connor, who orders him terminated. Blair intercedes, freeing Marcus but Connor
hunts him down. The pair declares a truce after Marcus rescues Connor from a Hydrobot attack,
and Connor asks for Marcus’ help in rescuing Kyle Reese from Skynet’s San Francisco complex.
As the resistance prepares to launch their attack against Skynet, John and Marcus infiltrate
the Skynet complex for a final showdown.
With an extremely generous budget ($200 million), T: S still fails to produce any truly memorable
scenes, despite multiple encounters with Skynet’s robotic progeny. The final fight scene does draw
a smile for a moment, as a newly minted T-800 steps out to face John Connor. The main problem of
T: S is that there are two heroes and no villains. Skynet’s threat is ever present, much like a
zombie movie, but there is no evil counterpart to Connor or Marcus. Skynet’s brief anthropomorphism
into female form does nothing to mitigate this.
Christian Bale plays a quietly intense yet one dimensional John Connor. Sam Worthington fares better,
making good use of the palette of emotions available to him due to Marcus’s “stranger in a strange land” condition.
That said, Terminator: Salvation is a very competent post apocalyptic action movie, well worth a watch.
The verdict: 3 out of 5