Terminator: Salvation

So I finally got a chance to see Terminator: Salvation when it came to Canadian Netflix. I liked the looks of it, but I very rarely see movies in the theatre and had no real motivation to hunt this down when it came out on DVD. You can guess that my expectations were low.

This should have been a movie that got me excited: it’s got Michael Ironside, Moon Bloodgood, special ops types doing direct action-y stuff, huge killer robots, Christian Bale, and A-mudderfuggin-10s!

But the problem was that while the actors all did respectable jobs (even Sam Worthington, who is not an actor that motivates me to see a movie), they had a mess with which to work. A lot of this movie made no sense to me. Right at the outset, the special ops types undertake a raid and they’re cruising in with helos and A-10s are pulverizing ground targets. It felt really wrong to me. Wasn’t Skynet supposed to be all over the defence network? I mean, didn’t it take over pretty much everything? But here’s a “Resistance” with airbases using radio communications and flying around in helos. I would have expected the Hunter-Killers to track them down.

In the movie it’s kind of intimated that you have to do something like blow something up to gain Skynet’s attention. That also doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. Skynet should be actively seeking out this Resistance, and if it has even half of the satellite force now employed by the US, it shouldn’t have been a problem to find their bases – which are conveniently well-lit at night. It shouldn’t have been a problem to note when these raids launched in their helos and with their A-10s. The H-Ks should have intercepted the raids before they got anywhere near the target, if they didn’t just cruise in when the base was identified and eliminate it.

That’s just one example from numerous WTF? moments in this movie. Characters act in ways that are incomprehensible except in order to move the plot forward. I really don’t think anyone gets outside of their stereotype – which is fine in some ways because I want to see Michael Ironside be gruff! Logic and the laws of physics are generally flexible in a good action movie, but there’s flexibility and then there is being tied into a knot. I really didn’t expect much and I was let down.

This isn’t to say that there isn’t some cool action scenes – though some of those are also filled with WTF moments – and great special effects, but that really doesn’t cut it. It’s not enough.

I give Terminator: Salvation 2.5 killer robots with miniguns out of 5. If you are going to try for style over substance, you better have some amazing style and try to avoid discussion of substance. This science fiction got the science and the fiction wrong.

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