Editors' pick

Terminator Salvation

Terminator Salvation movie poster
MPAA rating: PG-13
Genre: Action/Adventure
After the Skynet corporation has destroyed much of humanity, a group of survivors led by John Connor (Christian Bale) struggle to keep the machines from finishing the job.
Starring: Christian Bale, Sam Worthington, Anton Yelchin, Moon Bloodgood, Bryce Dallas Howard
Director: McG

Editorial Review

Ever since Arnold Schwarzenegger came back from the future to kill Linda Hamilton so she couldn't give birth to Edward Furlong, the "Terminator" series has been on a time-illogical crash course with itself. It seems unlikely, though, that audiences will be caring much about the niceties of relativity when "Terminator Salvation" offers so many other outsized distractions: towering mechanical assassins; writhing, chrome-plated centipedes; humans engaged in an epic battle, all in a movie that mixes summer blockbuster hysterics with moody, visual grit.

Ex-music-video maker and "Charlie's Angels" director McG picks up the pre-apocalyptic cue from "T3" and drops us in 2018, with the machines of the malevolent Skynet well into their campaign against humankind. Leader-to-be of the human rebellion John Connor (Christian Bale) is an insubordinate lieutenant but has been prophesied to be the savior of humankind.

The wild card in all this "T"-ness is Marcus (Sam Worthington), a Death Row inmate-turned-cyborg. "You think you're human," Connor tells him, and indeed he does. More important, so do we: Marcus the machine is a far more interesting character than Connor.

The world McG presents to us is scorched and hostile, and the action is startling and visceral. Significantly, "Terminator Salvation" (or, affectionately, "T4") takes itself far more seriously than its predecessors. That might have come off as pretentious but instead seems believable -- as believable as a movie can be, anyway, when it's about besieged humanity, occupational forces, rebel insurgencies, torture, lawlessness and warfare by remote control.

-- John Anderson (May 20, 2009)

Contains vulgarity, intense action and violence.