I don’t remember hearing anything good about Terminator Salvation, but I actually enjoyed the movie last night. Maybe it’s because my expectations were pretty low from the poor reviews or maybe it’s because I’m just not that big of a Terminator fan to begin with, but I took it for what it was: a stylish, action movie with lots of robots kicking ass and getting their asses kicked. Frankly, I liked it a lot better than Transformers 2, for whatever that’s worth.
The story takes place before the events of the first movie, so we see young John Connor and Kyle Reese, Christian Bale and Anton Yelchin respectively, fighting all kinds of Terminators. You’ve got motorcycle ones, plane ones, the first version of the T-800 (more on that in a second) and a big ass one looking to capture people, all of which looked pretty cool to me.
The movie is interesting because there isn’t necessarily a main bad guy. The enemy is the machines. And sometimes humans (not the only George Romero-esque theme in the movie, by the way), but you do get the good ol’ “boss fights” at the end, one of which SPOILER involves a very T1-looking Arnold Schwarzenegger. It’s not actually Arnold, but a stunt man with Arnold’s face composited on his, but I thought it looked awesome.
One other thing I wanted to mention was the camera work/vision that director McG brought to the party. Sure, sometimes basic four-shots seem a little bungled, but there’s this great moment early in the movie where Connor jumps in a helicopter, the camera follows him in, then swirls out to see the action and comes back into the helicopter while it crashes. It’s all one shot and I thought it was great.
Sure it’s a little overblown at times and some of the surprises weren’t all that surprising, though I’m not sure if the whole Marcus reveal was supposed to be TOO surprising (the missus actually guessed it as soon as he popped on screen), but overall I thought it was a pretty fun action movie. Definitely worth the rental and I think I would dug it on the big screen too.