Terminator Salvation - Blu-ray Review

'Bale is shouty, Worthington is moody, Moon Bloodgood provides the Megan Fox-esque token eye candy... so far so standard'

Watching Terminator Salvation there were times where you could easily see director 'McG' (or Joseph McGinty Nichol, as his Mother calls him) has watched some quality films in his time. Direct shots have been lifted from, predictably, Blade Runner and the first Terminator film while, more on the oblique side, there's a reconstruction of the bike jumping over the fence from The Great Escape and nods to the contemporary imagining of War Of The Worlds. By the end though, despite McG's obvious knowledge of these films, you couldn't help but feel like he hadn't really paid attention to them.

Mixing the need to develop the long-established Terminator plot arcs and come up with something new, McG splits the narrative in two, focusing fairly equally on John Connor, (this time re-incarnated as Christian Bale) who must lead the resistance in an attempt to wipe out the machines once and for all and Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington), a supposed nobody who has woken up in the dystopic future having apparently been executed a number of years before. Crossover appeal with the other films comes in the form of Terminator 1's Kyle Reese (Anton Yelchin), top of the machines 'hit list' despite being previously unknown to the resistance.

At its core, TS is a wavering attempt at a ginormous science-fiction extravaganza, along the same lines as Transformers or the aforementioned War Of The Worlds, and as far as it goes it does an OK-ish job of pulling that off. Bale is shouty, Worthington is moody, Moon Bloodgood provides the Megan Fox-esque token eye candy with machismo appeal (she's a fighter pilot) and various humans and machines fight each other and blow up/get killed. So far so standard Friday night fare.

But then the wheels start to come off and more specifically, McG's skin-deep knowledge of genre classics starts to show through. His post apocalyptic world for example, just isn't well realised enough and you never get the feeling that we're anywhere other than on a desert shoot for a big action blockbuster, losing any immersiveness that should have been offered. Characters too, are introduced and dispensed with, clunky tropes hinting that we should care about them but McG never doing enough to make sure we really do care about them. There is also a real wastage in the performances that a better director should of been able to tease more from. Bale is reduced to really only being a shouty resistance leader, destroying everything the John Connor character has promised up till now. Worthington too, despite offering a real on-screen presence in the early scenes, becomes nothing more than a plot device and, like the side characters, it's too easy to not care what happens to him in the end.

Anyone coming in to this with high expectations should be reminded that this is the man who gave us the two Charlie's Angels movies and while you could claim that Salvation isn't quite the sum of its parts you could also claim that no matter who made up the cast and what influences were allowed to show through, the end result was always going to be sub-standard mediocrity.

Look further...

'Christian Bale is a dissapointment... basically playing batman in camo' - The Movie Encyclopedia, 'See It'

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