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Terminator Salvation

Blu-ray Review


Christian Bale

Sam Worthington

Moon Bloodgood

Anton Yelchin

Directed by



The Terminator franchise is an odd one.  There have been four movies now, all with pretty long delays between them, and the franchise has been saddled with financial issues as the backing studios have either gone belly up, or sold the rights in order to maintain cash flow.  About the only thing that's consistent between the four films is the premise: killer machines out to wipe out humanity.

The fourth installment in the series, Terminator Salvation, is better than it has been given credit for.  McG has shown he can put together an action sequence and have it make sense, and he also shown that he understands the history of the franchise and its roots.  Having said that, Salvation is not a classic film like the original or Terminator 2: Judgement Day, but it is certainly stronger than the third outing in the franchise.

Salvation takes place in the future, after judgement day.  John Connor (Christian Bale) is fighting the war against the machines while former death row inmate Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington) tries to help a teenage Kyle Reese(Anton Yelchin) - John Connor's future father - escape from a levelled Los Angeles filled with terminators.  Throughout the course of the story we are introduced to Blair Williams (Moon Bloodgood), an A-10 pilot who is shot down while trying to assist Wright and Reese in their escape.

The plot is essentially an excuse to move from one huge action set piece to the next, but it does a good job of holding the story together and remaining true to the original films. The performances are stellar, especially Worthington's portrayal of Marcus Wright and Anton Yelchin's fully believable performance as a young Kyle Reese (played as an adult by Michael Biehn in the original Terminator film).  Christian Bale does a great job playing a tortured John Connor, who is trying to determine what changes have happened in the timeline as a result of the machines that have come back in time to kill him in the prior films.

The special effects are also spectacular.  There are many scenes that are reminscient of (or lifted directly from) other films, including Aliens, War of the Worlds, The Road Warrior and Transformers, and the film sometimes crosses the line between homage and rip off.  It's also filled with subtle (and a few not so subtle) call backs to previous films.  At one point, John Connor is trying to draw a Terminator's attention, so he plays music from a boom box (Guns 'n Roses "You Could Be Mine", first heard in T2), at an earlier point Kyle Reese says the line he will later famously say to Sarah Connor in the first Terminator, "come with me if you want to live." (and a line which is repeated by Arnold Schwarzneggar's "friendly" Terminator in T2).

As far as the Blu-ray release goes, it's one of the best I've seen.  The silver-retention film process that was used to shoot the film is rendered perfectly on the Blu-ray, giving it a gritty feel with a colour palette that feels just slightly "off" (but in a good way).  The audio is superb, with lots of surround activity, great highs and  beautiful low frequencies.  The special features are also spectacular, including one of Warner Bros "Total Movie Experiences" which allow you to watch the film as director McG walks you through the choices he made and allows you to understand the work that went into some of the scenes in the film.  If you watch the TME, you will completely understand where the money that went into this film was spent; it's all up there on the screen.

Terminator Salvation is not going to become a long term classic like the original or Terminator 2, but it is a very strong action picture, and a good addition to the Terminator franchise.  The story is serviceable, the actors give great performances and the action sequences are spectacular.  Compared to most franchises that reach a fourth film (Lethal Weapon 4, anyone?) Terminator Salvation is high art.