John Connor is still at it, trying to save the world from pesky robots and a bleak timeline that promises to render the planet a cratered-out wasteland unfit for human life.
In the not-so-distant future, Connor (Christian Bale) is the unofficial leader of The Resistance, the target of machines hell-bent on assassinating him before he grows to wage future war against the cyborgs.
Awakening to find himself among the remains of a smoldering planet, a confused Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington) is a convicted murderer who signed away the rights to his body minutes before his execution. He is out of his element and time. Staggering around, he bumps into would-be Resistance fighter Kyle Reese (Anton Yelchin), whom Connor is eagerly trying to find and protect Reese.
The acting is fine, but “Terminator Salvation” is subpar. What could have been a bleak, atmospheric apocalyptic flick is instead trapped in an action and sci-fi movie limbo, performing neither with stellar results. Bale is believable, if occasionally delivering forced lines and looks, and Yelchin is great; affected, likable and effortless with dialogue and physical scenes.
The special effects are well used and impressive. The machines are sinister and incessant, coming in all shapes, models and makes, from machine-gun wielding humanoids, hovering drones, two-wheeled road-bots and the nasty, squirmy aqua-bots. Some of the most effects-driven scenes are gratuitous, namely a predictable bridge sequence above a ravine.
The only “Terminator” film to receive less than an R rating, “Salvation” offers little. —Joe Wertz