The 2nd best and 2nd most awaited blockbuster of the year is here (the first is reserved for the bigger and better Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen one would suppose). Well the movie is neither the beginning nor the ending and this premise I’m sure is well known to every fan of the Terminator series. The director McG (from the Charlie’s Angels series) has his work cut out in such a scenario and predictably relies heavily on CG (Computer Graphics) to keep the audience entertained and interested. This does mean the story takes a backseat. Now the original creator and director of the series James Cameron relied on cutting edge CG himself to create the first two parts of the Terminator series (The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day). This however took a backseat with the third installment under director Jonathan Mostow with Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. While there was lots of big action there was very little in terms of cutting edge CG and one could feel the series beginning to lose its way from what James Cameron originally intended. The fourth installment Terminator Salvation is sort of stuck in the middle as it has to take the events forward from Judgment Day but yet keep the series alive for future installments. In this regard Terminator Salvation fails, it has lots of big action and explosions going off most of the time, but the movie has no soul to speak of and bears little or no resemblance to the original vision envisioned by James Cameron. Sadly, it has become more of a big bang action flick that Hollywood churns out every summer, just another big blockbuster.
Well the story (there is not much of it) begins with death row inmate Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington) donating his body to medical science. Next we move to the year 2018 when Judgment Day has taken place and man and machine are at war. Skynet has taken over the world and the Terminator machines and bots are out to destroy every last human being alive on earth, not that many humans are left but there are a few (very few) scattered all over and John Connor (Christian Bale) is leading one such small unit in the resistance. Into this bleak future arrives Sam Worthington and he does not remember anything except his past. He runs into a young Kyle Reese (Anton Yelchin) whom he rescues from Terminators running amok and also a little while later he rescues Blair Williams (Moon Bloodgood) from both Terminators and humans running amok. Moon Bloodgood is a resistance fighter along with Christian Bale and intends for Sam Worthington to meet with Christian Bale. Along the way Sam Worthington steps on a landmine and realizes that he is an android which puts him at loggerheads with Christian Bale and Co. who refuse to believe that he is human. The resistance also has a weapon in their hands which they believe will defeat Skynet and end the war and how Christian Bale and Sam Worthington join hands in defeating their common enemy forms the rest of the story.
Christian Bale just sleepwalks through his role and there is none of the charisma or charm that’s so much evident in him as Batman. Sam Worthington is better as the human out for revenge on those who have turned him into a machine. The rest of the cast is passable. Anton Yelchin playing the young Kyle Reese stands out. Arnold Schwarzenegger (well rather his CG) puts in a cameo towards the end out to destroy Christian Bale and this was rather surprising on how the two played out. The terminator Arnold Schwarzenegger obviously does not recognize John Connor (Christian Bale), but Christian Bale should recognize the Terminator Arnold Schwarzenegger which he surprisingly does not. He should given he has spent so much time with the terminator Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator 2: Judgment Day as a young kid and in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines as a young man. Well at least seeing the Terminator Arnold Schwarzenegger on the big screen brought out a lot of whistles from the fans of the Terminator series. Above all else CG is the hero here and stands head and shoulders above anything else in the movie, but alas lots of FX without a coherent story is like a body without a soul and that’s what is missing in Terminator Salvation. In the end Terminator Salvation is passable popcorn fare with big budget action on the big screen. Let’s hope the next installment returns to roots!