Starring Christian Bale, Sam Worthington, Anton Yelchin, Moon Bloodgood, Common, Michael Ironside & Helena Bonham Carter.
Written by John Brancato & Michael Ferris.
Directed by McG.
Expectations were high for another Terminator film, finally taking the audience into the future to witness the fabled war between man and machine. The news that a guy who calls himself McG was going to direct the film didn’t leave me with much hope of its success. McG, whose previous films include throwaway numbers such as Charlie’s Angels and We Are Marshall, cannot really expect to be taken seriously with a name that would best suit a hip hop artist or some new burger from McDonalds. Having said that, Terminator Salvation is (for the majority of its’ running time) well made, but somewhere along the line (and I’m not exactly sure where) the movie falters and becomes a messy quagmire of baffling plot developments and mediocre situations. The first forty minutes of this film is extraordinarily good – so much so that I was reaching to take back the grenade I’d thrown at McG and offer a hand of gratitude. But the perfectly realised wasteland atmosphere, combined with the awesome hardware is not enough to sustain the second half of the film. It is almost as if two directors were working on the movie, the first half being so out of synch with the second – which is nothing more than a litany of borrowed concepts and visual ideas (the most blatantly lame being the War Of The Worlds-type ‘collecting’ of humans). The excellent young actor Anton Yelchin (Alpha Dog/Star Trek) seems to summon the spirit of Michael Biehn with his depiction of the young Kyle Reese, and it’s always good to see Michael Ironside on screen (despite his minor role). So what is wrong with this film? Is it a case of the filmmakers simply having a good idea that was not fully developed? Or is it a case of a tired franchise? One of the fun aspects of James Cameron’s Terminator films was the hint of the future war between man and machine. We all wanted to see that shit in detail, but half the joy was just imagining it. Sometimes we just don’t need these things spelt out for us, and I think it’s time to pull the plug on Skynet.
By Wadrick Jones