People V. Bot
Terminator Salvation
Review by Ross Anthony

A quarter of a century ago, the first Terminator film was released. So, no one's going to fault you if you can't remember James Cameron's original storyline and setup. (Actually, I asked Cameron about his thoughts regarding the studios choice to continue the film series without his best wishes - Click here for that). T2 impressed me greatly, but nearly 20 years ago now, I shouldn't be surprised that the specifics of the story are a bit murky in my head. Though, not to the same extent, I did enjoy T3, I unfortunately can't say the same of Salvation.

Here the script feels as murky as my memory. Who is this Marcus Wright? How does he fit into the past or the future? Is he a sort of prototype for the Arnold terminator? Why was he locked away so long? Why does Connor react to him with such contempt, especially after practically being raised by something similar in T2? Why aren't these questions sufficiently addressed in this film, especially for such a crucial character? Fortunately, Sam Worthington brings this mysterious half man/half machine to life with great confidence and charisma, without which T4 would likely be an entire loss. Bale as Connor is likeable, but takes a backseat to Worthington in script and performance.

For humans, things didn't go so well at the end of T3, so T4 starts its story in 2018 after Judgment day. This is a film without civilization, no real world people, just a landscape limited to stark dusty urban ruin. I often feel cloustaphobic in these kinds of films. The massive machines appear from nowhere with a good cinematic scare. But when a few fleshy humans can outrun them, it does start to feel ridiculous. Powerful, innovative action will often work to forgive that. And T4 has some awesome action -- but not quite enough to distract me from my common senses. Lastly, I wanted more interaction between Connor and Kyle. More dramatic meat. But, the film whole heartedly invests in action, leaving the story and character elements a bit slim.

Overall, this is a clear "B" film. However, an out-of-place event in the resolution serves to undermine what was left of dramatic impact. I walked out of the theater with a bad after-taste because of it, so I'm going with a "B-."

-- Books by Author/Illustrator Ross Anthony --


  • Terminator Salvation. Copyright © 2009.
  • Starring Christian Bale, Sam Worthington, Anton Yelchin, Moon Bloodgood, Bryce Dallas Howard, Common, Jane Alexander, Helena Bonham-Carter, Jadagrace Directed by McG. Screenplay by Michael Ferris, John Brancato. Produced by Moritz Borman, Derek Anderson, Victor Kubicek, Jeffrey Silver.

Grade..........................B- (1.5/4)


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Copyright © 1998-2016 Ross Anthony, Author - Speaker - Solo World Circumnavigator In addition to reviewing films and interviewing celebs at HollywoodReportCard.com, traveling the world, composing great music, motivational speaking, Mr. Anthony also runs his own publishing company in the Los Angeles area. While traversing the circumference of the planet writing books and shooting documentaries, Mr. Anthony has taught, presented for, worked &/or played with locals in over 30 countries & 100 cities (Nairobi to Nagasaki). He's bungee-jumped from a bridge near Victoria Falls, wrestled with lions in Zimbabwe, crashed a Vespa off a high mountain road in Taiwan, and ridden a dirt bike across the States (Washington State to Washington DC). To get signed books ("Rodney Appleseed" to "Jinshirou") or schedule Ross to speak check out: www.RossAnthony.com or call 1-800-767-7186. Check out his other sites too: Author*Illustrator*Speaker, Motobookothon 2009, M9, Write Triangle, TwT. Go into the world and inspire the people you meet with your love, kindness, and whatever it is you're really good at. Check out books by Ross Anthony. Rand() functions, Pho chicken soup, rollerblading, and frozen yogurt (w/ blueberries) also rock! (Btw, rand is short for random. It can also stand for "Really Awkward Nutty Dinosaurs" -- which is quite rand, isn't it?) Being alive is the miracle. Special thanks to Ken Kocanda, HAL, Jodie Keszek, Don Haderlein, Mom and Pops, my family, R. Foss, and many others by Ross Anthony. Galati-FE also deserves a shout out. And thanks to all of you for your interest and optimism. Enjoy great films, read stirring novels, grow.


Last Modified: Wednesday, 20-May-2009 10:04:02 PDT