Movie Review: Terminator Salvation (English) 94

Mess is what one creates when an extremely successful franchise is striped off its core elements and goes high on firepower. The fourth installment thus comes to you, sans its icon, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Disappointing from the word go, you are left waiting for a coherent story to evolve. Probably, the lack of imagination has something to do with the absence of James Cameron, who it seems neither blessed nor cursed this film.

2003, Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington), a convict on a death row agrees to give up his body to medical research. Cut to 2018, John Connor (Christian Bale), is leading his men against a Skynet base where finds the machines developing a Terminator with a human tissue exterior. The mission ends in a blast leaving him the sole survivor. Command tells Connor that that his name is No.2 on the Skynet hit list with No.1 being Kyle Reese.

Connor initially doesn’t realize the importance of Reese but, from his mother’s tapes, he soon learns that the now teenager Reese is the one that Connor would send into the past to protect his mother and to father him. Marcus meanwhile makes contact with a downed pilot who brings him to the Resistance base. While treating an injured Marcus, the men realize that he a Cyborg with a metal endoskeleton sneaking into their base.

Now, John is faced with either distrusting Marcus as he is a machine, and on other, to trust him, as he could be his only chance to rescue Reese from the clutches of Skynet. The climax of the story, not revealed here, is replete with humanoid Terminators, Hunter-Killer hovercrafts, giant human collectors and eel-like Hydrobots with the highlight being the cameo of the CGI of a youngish Schwarzenegger as the freshly developed T-800.

For a fact, most moviegoers have been fans of this franchise for the role portrayed by Arnold and to Cameron’s imagination of bringing together the concepts of a holocaust, robots taking over, time travel, etc as far back as 1984 when the first Terminator hit the screens and when it was reprised in 1992. The third, released in 2003 sorely missed Cameron but somehow managed decent business with Schwarzenegger’s presence.

Differing from its predecessors, the narrative is not set in the present day but nearly a decade into the future. The neat special effects in shades of grey amplify the hollowness of the future where people eat stale coyote to survive. Also notable are the rich tributes to its predecessors, including a duel with a severed Terminator, grabbing of shotgun and quotes such as “I’ll be back” and “come with me if you want to live” among others.

Comparisons aside, fast paced action is the forte of Terminator Salvation. If mindless firepower, robots, high speed bike chases suit your taste, you probably won’t regret watching it. However, all of its two hours sum up into nothing more than a video game set in the future. As much as I wanted to deride this disappointing movie, I have still given it a chance with 4 on 10 for its legacy value, among the ‘just average’ flicks.

Rating 4/10: High on octane and also on boredom