Terminator Salvation (2009)

When you set up a big apocalyptic event, there are only so many ways you can go creatively. There comes a time when you must go beyond after the apocalypse. In 2009, the Terminator franchise finally let us peek behind the curtain of the terrifying war of Skynet and gave us hope of redemption in Terminator Salvation.

Skynet has gotten an update, which doesn’t make sense when you think about it… but who am I to judge.

Set in the far far future of 2018, Salvation follows the group of Resistance fighters, generally resisting the evil Skynet A.I. and its army of merciless machines. They encounter a preserved human from the past, who appears to be more physically able, than the rest of the crew, but clueless to the current events. As the war goes rages on, the survivors learn that some things are better off buried, as they attempt to take the fight to Skynet.

We get a couple call-backs to the first film here. Like this nice cameo from Linda Hamilton here.

Breaking with the three Terminator films before it, there is hardly any, time-bending time travel. But we are given a brief glimpse of life before the war. Instead, we practically focus on John Connor, no longer Nick Stahl from Rise of the Machines, but now Christian Bale, I’ve written in the past how his ace acting skill is playing spoiled rich kids, and he’s good as a freedom fighter too. Bryce Dallas Howard also plays Mrs Connor, another departure that has been replaced with a good substitute. We also get Heather Boham-Carter as Dr Cogan, a big wheel at Cyberdyne, and Michael Ironside as General Ashdown. But newcomers are guided by Marcus Wright, played Sam Worthington, a former death row convict, who has been given a second chance and is new to the chaos of the war. He and the audience are guided by Moon Bloodgood’s character, who I liked in the short-lived, The Journeyman.

The Resistance is given more human faces, and its a nice break from Connor et al.

No Schwarzenegger here, as he is off Governating in California, so we do not get to experience the might of the classic wisecracking T-800. Though the arsenal of Skynet is not diminished, There are drones, automated-Terminator-bike things, battle submarines, among many others. For those who like future killing tech, are in for a treat here. The scorched wasteland of Los Angeles feels a lot more barren, lacking that cool look of the 1997 apocalypse depicted in the films previously. It is a lot more varied though, as we spend a full film’s worth in the future and not just two minutes. Minefields, derelict cities, and pocket of human camps paint a greater picture than those two minutes ever could.

CAPTCHAs are the worst!

By focusing mainly on the consequences of the futuristic robot war, and not how we get there. Salvation offers a surprisingly more straightforward exploration of the Terminator universe and the repercussions of the actions of the first three films. For those who like time-travel conundrums, and man-on-machine combat, they can do a lot worse than 2018’s L.A.

…Don’t have to worry about massive explosions and killer robots for a start…

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