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Overall Rating

Awesome: 8.54%
Worth A Look: 13.41%
Just Average: 26.83%
Pretty Crappy: 23.17%

6 reviews, 46 user ratings

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Terminator Salvation
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by Rob Gonsalves

"John Connor, we are done professionally."
2 stars

Shane Hurlbut should be proud of his work on "Terminator Salvation." Hurlbut, you may or may not recall, was the cinematographer who so displeased star Christian Bale on the set of this latest "Terminator" film that Bale unleashed an instantly infamous firestorm of invective upon him.

Pissing Bale off was worth it, though: the lighting is crisp and organic in a way that few apocalyptic epics (which tend to the blanched and bleak) are anymore. And the director, McG (given name: Joseph McGinty Nichol), stages the action cleanly if not always credibly. Terminator Salvation is an example of high craft in the service of an oppressively dull story.

Iím of the mind that when James Cameron (who directed the first two classic Terminator entries) left the franchise, he took the fun with him. Cameron never seemed to be taking the sagaís doomsday fetish all that seriously ó he laid out each set piece with a mischievous cackle. The cackle, and the crackle, have been whatís missing from the series ó in 2003ís Terminator: Rise of the Machines and now here. Baleís John Connor, destined to save whatís left of humanity by leading the resistance against the killer machines, is dour and exhausted; the weight of not only the world but the very future itself lies heavy on his shoulders. We almost forget that this is the same character who, in the person of the prankish Edward Furlong in T2, taught the T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger) how to smile and give high-fives.

We donít see even a flicker of that personality in the gloomy adult John. And I feel like saying, Yíknow, itís okay for a dystopian hero to crack a smile every few weeks, or at the very least act as though he has some of the humanity heís fated to protect. (The more I think back on 1995ís Tank Girl, the more I appreciate it for being perhaps the only post-apocalyptic sci-fi movie that manages to be colorful and perky.) The other humans arenít all that well fleshed out, either (reminder: Cameron managed to get us to care about his people ó this isnít solely the province of art-house flicks), which is near-fatal in a story that purports to probe the difference between man and machine when the movie introduces a character (Sam Worthington) whoís both.

After The Dark Knight and razor-intense performances in indies like The Machinist and Harsh Times, I would dearly love to see Christian Bale kick back in a movie, relax, wear a Hawaiian shirt or something, hit on girls and laugh a lot. A typical Matthew McConaughey role. Temple-throbbing rage may come a little too easily to Bale (as Shane Hurlbut can attest). Schwarzenegger in his Terminator films was funnier than Bale is here. And Bale has zero rapport with anyone onscreen, as if he had the same irascible, donít-get-in-my-eyeline relationship with everyone on the set as he did with the cinematographer. If itís anyoneís movie, itís probably Anton Yelchin as Kyle Reese, who will grow up to be Michael Biehnís character in the first Terminator and go back to 1984 to sire John Connor himself. Yelchin, whoís twenty but still looks sixteen, plays Reese with a useful mix of hard-bitten experience and youthful fear. Reese will, alas, grow up to be as humorless as John Connor, but James Cameron sensibly didnít ask Reese to anchor The Terminator.

And what is McG, director of the irrepressible Charlieís Angels movies (I persist in enjoying them immensely; the rest of you will catch up one day), doing at the helm of a clanking gloomcookie like Terminator Salvation? Vestiges of the old McG, a new master of bubbly, fresh-air, gleefully ridiculous action sequences, pop up here and there, mostly in scenes involving robot motorcycles zipping down the highway, swerving around explosions and debris. Theyíre great fun. Elsewhere itís the same old shoot-and-bash that Cameron pushed to the limit eighteen years ago and then wisely abandoned.

Iím pretty sure of two things: there really shouldnít be any more "Terminator" films; and if there are, McG should likewise move on.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=18111&reviewer=416
originally posted: 05/24/09 18:54:40
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User Comments

10/29/16 morris campbell crap moving on 1 stars
10/04/14 chuck SHOULD BE NO STARS-----WTF IS THIS CRAP 1 stars
4/15/14 Charles Tatum Not terrible, but you didn't see it, so we suffer ANOTHER reboot 4 stars
1/06/14 bored mom Drop the repeated one-liners, and add more T-600s. The big robot HK mech was funny, though. 3 stars
9/30/13 Jeff Wilder Bleh 2 stars
1/18/12 Marc DC Makes T3 look like oscar material. Enough said. 2 stars
11/26/11 AEB Nothing new but exciting and worth the ticket price. 3 stars
8/07/11 Chris F Crap without Arnie 1 stars
6/26/11 DR Much better than many would have you believe. However, some plot points fall short. 4 stars
2/19/11 Richard79 Put it in the boxset with AvP and Live Free or Dire Hard. 1 stars
9/29/10 Aaron Smith Good to see post-JD, and cool new machines, but characters underdeveloped. 4 stars
8/23/10 Total Crap Better than T3 at least, but they re-use and recycle so many damn scenes from the first 2. 3 stars
4/30/10 mr.mike Better than I expected - plus Bale's not in it that much 4 stars
4/29/10 Jerome Cook wow that looked just like young Arnold! thats incredible and nobody even mentioned it!!!!!! 3 stars
1/05/10 KingNeutron Nice to see Ironside, but definitely could have been done better. Meh. 3 stars
12/26/09 randy todger dumbed down shite.McG stick to producing supernatural on tv.you are shit 2 stars
11/13/09 Meep Started out well enough but quickly degenerated into franchise disrespecting crap, T3>T4 2 stars
7/27/09 damalc should've stuck to my guns when i swore off Terminator movies after T3 2 stars
7/14/09 Linda The Image of the Terminator's have no effect on me like the first one, not scary or thirill 3 stars
7/03/09 roger federer This is a film that should have never been made 1 stars
6/17/09 JR Wow. What a piece of garbage. 1 stars
6/09/09 Koitus I thought it was okay - if you're a fan of the first 3. "R" rating probably wld hv bn btr. 3 stars
6/09/09 kerry i personally loved it - Bale's voice got on my nerves, but Yelchin was awesome as usual!!!! 5 stars
6/08/09 Kitana37 Remarkably decent...much better than I thought it was gonna be 4 stars
6/08/09 Abhishek Chakraborty Enjoyed it. Explosions with a purpose. makes more sense than Star trek 5 stars
6/06/09 Vince Best movie so far this year 4 stars
6/05/09 sumixam Loved it 5 stars
6/04/09 gc Plot tied in the other movies perfectly, good fx too 4 stars
6/04/09 owen fantastic movie well done mcg loved it 5 stars
5/31/09 K. Sear A serious improvement over part 3. 4 stars
5/29/09 Man Out 6 Bucks Blair Witch and Cloverfield meet the T-600. The future will be very, very loud. 1 stars
5/28/09 D McG is an amateurish hack and this movie falls in line with the rest of his hackwork 1 stars
5/28/09 daisysalter Sam Worthington carries the film, which is not great, but a good summer action film. 4 stars
5/26/09 Kyle Reese Knew we'd be in trouble when it was announced it would rate PG-13 2 stars
5/25/09 Ole Man Bourbon Reminded me of Uve Boll a little bit 1 stars
5/25/09 Lemoine Soundly kicked Wolverine & Star Trek's rear. 5 stars
5/24/09 travis Very disappointing, hell, the series on FOX was far more impressive 2 stars
5/24/09 jon robinson i think the movie just was hollow. it felt like they made this one JUST to make another 3 stars
5/24/09 Brandon Allin Visually spectacular, but lacking elsewhere. 3 stars
5/24/09 g. not terrible but could have been better 3 stars
5/24/09 Matt pretty great, not flawless, but well done. 4 stars
5/23/09 Jeff Teixeira Totally inconsistent with the Terminator series. 1 stars
5/23/09 Darkstar Much better than T3, good action, still think McG sucks donkey balls 4 stars
5/23/09 Greg No way. Terrible. I'm still upset. Not worth the wait (And I even liked T3!) 1 stars
5/21/09 Dan Johnson Good movie 5 stars
5/21/09 luke Ummm.....I thought it was good and not derserving more than 1 star, dont shoot me 5 stars
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  21-May-2009 (PG-13)
  DVD: 01-Dec-2009


  DVD: 01-Dec-2009

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