2 hours, 10 minutes
Second Run Seats
It's 2003 and Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington, Hart's War) wishes Dr. Serena Kogan (Helena Bonham Carter, Planet of the Apes) would just leave so he can be lethally injected in peace. Fast forward to 2018 and a troop of resistance fighters raid a Skynet research facility, discovering a slew of dissected humans. When their raid goes awry, the only surviving soldier, John Connor (Christian Bale, Equilibrium) is airlifted back to base, but not before meeting with Resistance leaders who reveal to him a new weapon which may cripple the machines.
Let's revisit the Marcus Wright introduction. Thanks to the ten thousand adverts, we all know that Marcus ain't quite "Wright." Instead of saving his revealing history for the second act, director McG (Charlie's Angels) whips out the goods and starts shaking it, killing nearly all mystery surrounding this character. Following that flaccid reveal is nearly two hours of tedium. Things go boom, characters stare a lot, but little of consequence occurs. Don't believe me, ask them:
'Sup. I'm Common (Wanted) and I play Barnes, the brother soldier who stands next to John Connor. I stand around and stare like this in about five scenes. I can't believe I got my SAG card for this?!
You damn well better know me, I'm Michael F'n Ironside (Highlander II)! As Resistance Leader General Ashdown, I give Connor shit for his hella lame ideas. Who cast me as a leader? Everyone knows I get hired to wreck shit or hunt down Douglas Quaid; I don't do talky savior of humanity.
Can you believe I used to date Spider-Man? Now I, Bryce Dallas Howard (The Village), fell for Connor's "I'm the future savior of humanity" line. As his wife Kate, I mostly give advice and look concerned while wearing a belt way above my impregnated belly. Though the world is overrun by machines, one must sport a fashionably high waistline at all times.
Anton Yelchin (Star Trek) here. Am I the only person taking this film seriously? As Kyle Reese I'm the bomb-diggity...if I do say so myself. I just wish my elaborate desert car chase wasn't edited so poorly.
Hi everyone. My name is Jadagrace. I play Kyle Reese's friend Star and I am this many years old. I don't speak, but I go stiff and look scared when a machine draws near. The director told me that there's nothing cuter than a child in peril in post-apocalyptic movies. Don't you agree?
Hey folks, I'm Sam Worthington. I get to play it rough and tough while being confused as to how I have survived lethal injection AND Judgment Day. As more and more is revealed about Marcus, I allow my Australian accent to return. By the climax, I was ready to slip a Terminator on the barbie.
The name's not Boobgood, it's Moon Bloodgood (Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li). I play Blair, the hot one in Connor's ragtag bunch. I may seem hard on the outside, but I yearn for companionship. Marcus looks like a major upgrade to my sybian.
My job as John Connor is difficult. I worry a lot about whether this new weapon will work and if the Resistance leaders' plan is what's best for humanity. Screw the Resistance leaders and screw Skynet! I have my own plan. Now if you'll excuse me, I must reassure the huddled masses of soldiers that they will all be dead unless they believe.
Bring on the Terminators, bitches!
You hire Moon Boobgood and don't even let the twins peak from behind the jacket? Meanwhile, Sam Worthington runs around naked with CGI mud covering his junk to keep the censors happy. A lot of people supposedly die, but we don't see too much of it. There's lots of big robots crafted like Matryoshka dolls that make lots of noise and blow up lots of shit, but they mostly look pretty bad doing it.
Connor versus the machines is an ongoing theme in the Terminator franchise, but you wouldn't know it since he only gets to throw down at the film's beginning and end. The big final battle took Salvation to new heights, not difficult to do since it'd been stinking up the screen until that moment.
The Money Shot
I needed my Terminator spirits lifted after FOX castrated my hopes for a Sarah Connor Chronicles, Season 3. Instead I got two hours and three minutes of actors staring at less than spectacular effects erupt against the dreary, washed out aesthetic. McG delivered a jumbled mess of storytelling and loud stunts that has done little to revitalize the franchise.