So, the friend I went & saw The Terminator with was scandalized that I hadn’t seen Terminator Salvation, so we hung out at his place and watched it. I have to admit, if I’d remembered it was directed by McG I might have put up a bigger fight about it. But anyway, prior to this, my main exposure to this film (lol) was that epic Christian Bale rant and that amazing re-mix from YouTube. Well, the rant is more entertaining than the movie, I think. I mean, the movie is fine and, if you haven’t seen the first two Terminator movies, it’s probably better than fine. But everything is a lot cleaner and more organized here than the visions of the future war we see in the first two movies; the situation is far from as bleak as it needs to be in my opinion – the resistance has some really amazing equipment in something like peak condition. Bale is treating the movie like its Shakespeare; it’s an intense, serious performance but the character is very underwritten. Worthington’s character is well-written and there’s potential in his “second chance” storyline, but Worthington himself is a little flat. I think McG’s original plan, which was for Bale to play Marcus, would have worked a hell of a lot better. Some of the action works, like an opening raid on a Skynet facility and, most especially, John Connor’s smackdown with a crippled Terminator. But as the film progresses, the action just gets more and more chaotic and uninteresting, until the climax of Bale & Worthington taking on a prototype 101 model is just flashing lights, loud clangs and epic grunts; I honestly couldn’t tell what the hell was going on most of that time. Well, that’s enough about this movie, but let me just mention the female characters. Moon Bloodgood’s character is a real travesty; she loses all allegiance to John Connor because Marcus is ******* handsome. I don’t think Bryce Dallas Howard’s character, John Connor’s wife, could be more thinly written and I don’t think anyone even calls her by name in the entire movie. And the less said about the little black girl that is mute but can use her Magical Negro Powers to “sense” when Terminators are approaching the better. Well, whatever. Recommended against. 2 stars.
tl;dr – lackluster sequel betrays the first two films and some nice action & good special effects can’t save the film from McG’s assaultive direction and the actors’ generally flat performances. 2 stars.