Terminator Salvation Review


It’s been nearly three years since I first saw this film and it was cool to see that I am still giving it the same score that I gave it all those years ago. It just goes to show that while some films may vary as the years go by, Salvation has managed to hold its place for quite a while. It’s certainly not as thrilling as the first three films and is mainly an information film.

Judgment Day occurred and John simply couldn’t stop it. He is now one of the pivotal figures in the war against the machines, but he is more of a figure head than a leader. He finds out that Skynet is preparing something big so the resistance decides to destroy it once and for all. As both sides get ready, he realizes that Kyle has been kidnapped. If Kyle is destroyed, John may cease to exist and everything will be wrecked. It’s time to get back onto the front lines to save the world and a new character is also running around.

First of all, I still have to question parts of the time loop. Since it seems like time moves linearly in this universe, Kyle’s death shouldn’t really matter. Just like how Skynet can see that its past Terminators fail because they failed in real time, Kyle’s death wouldn’t stop the fact that he already went to the past. How I see it, John would not cease to exist through Sarah’s death because of Kyle’s death. Of course, this is time travel so there are many ways for this to play out.

The main drawback for Salvation is the fact that the plot moves at a very slow pace. It’s simply not as action packed as the other three films and there is never a sense of danger. The heroes are just moving across a world that has essentially been terminated already. They aren’t trying to save the world, they are just trying to end the war once and for all. The film seems to mostly just be trying to emphasize just how tricky this new world is and you’re meant to ponder why humanity lost so easily. It’s not about explosions and epic action like the first three films and it’s just about taking in all of the information.

If you walk into the film assuming that you are going to get an action blockbuster, it will definitely be a disappointment. If you walk in thinking that it will be a slice of futuristic life film, then this will be up your ally. There is really only one action scene and that occurs at the very end of the film as John fights against the T-800. That was a cool fight even if it was a little short and there was not as much actual fighting as you would expect. The film didn’t have the budget to pull off the incredible action scenes that the third film had and it’s safe to say that the T-800 should be able to crush Marcus with ease.

The soundtrack is also rather bare bones next to the other films and there isn’t much of an antagonist. A few bullies appear at one point and Marcus gets to beat them up, proving that he is the ultimate main character. At least, that was the intention. He’s not bad, but he’s not very good either. I liked him more than John Conner, but Marcus never did a good job of explaining his intentions and just seemed to want to fight Skynet. There are some twists about this, but Marcus never really got to develop as a great main character. He was fairly generic and while he did beat John from T2 and T3 and Sarah Conner from film 1, he wasn’t great.

I quickly have to pause and praise one of the things that Salvation did right. As in T3, where we find out that Skynet outsmarted the humans, she does the same thing in this film. Everything that happened was part of her plan and it makes the ending that much more satisfying. It’s safe to say that Skynet is constantly toying with the humans and they shall never be able to defeat her. Machines will always trump man and our arrogance is what created Godzilla according to a trailer for that Kaiju’s film. It was still awesome and the opening of the film felt like a scene out of Resident Evil as there as Terminators everywhere. It is certainly the beginning of the end for the resistance.

Back to the characters, I didn’t care for John Conner all that much. I’m glad that he made the hero call to rescue everyone, but he just came off as a little mean at various points and he seemed to have even less of a recollection as to what happened in T2 and T3. I wanted more references to those films and I feel like he didn’t deliver in that aspect. One of his lines when he told Marcus to get him inside the base also came off very awkwardly and just didn’t work. That was supposed to be one of his big lines as well since it even came again during the climax of the film in a flashback. John simply couldn’t pull this off.

Finally, we have the main heroine. Blair was a decent fighter and she always talked tough even when she was in a tough situation. She was a good character even if she did appear to be trying to start up a romance. Marcus was too tough for that and luckily the plot never went anywhere. She still made the hero call when she helped Marcus out of a jam and proved that she was more loyal than just about anyone else. Kyle is a decently important character I suppose, but he’s unlikable and the actor didn’t do a good job of looking like the guy from the first/5th films. His partner wasn’t great either and that subplot really wasn’t needed in the film at all. It was just there to buy some time.

One of the big positives about this film is that they finally went ahead and toned down the violence a lot. I believe that they did the same for language and all other areas of the film as they finally bumped it down to a PG-13 from the start. That was a really great move on the film’s part and helps to make it a safer experience. If not for a few scenes, it could easily have gotten close to a PG as well, but some of the themes alone would prevent that. As it is, it’s one of the tamer PG-13’s. If we had some more action and good fight scenes, then it could have gone far, that just didn’t happen.

As a Terminator film, this title is fairly bad as it has nothing to do with the franchise. Technically, we are seeing the resistance a little, but you can see why it can basically be discarded and nothing would change. The only thing of importance that we saw is how John got his scar. It reminds me of the Chimera Arc from Hunter X Hunter, which was essentially 7 years of filler or a good chunk of the war arc in Naruto, but at least it still felt like Naruto. This Terminator film didn’t really have any time travel and you can’t really have a film in this series without the T-800.

As a normal film, it is still decently interesting. Who doesn’t like to see a future that has been taken over by robots? If you watch this as a stand alone film, then it may pique your interest a lot more. It just didn’t last too long as a Terminator film and I’m confident that the upcoming one will defeat it unless there is some animal violence to stop it. Salvation is a good film, but it can just be a little dull.

Overall, Terminator Salvation wasn’t very exciting. It has some of the worst camera that I have ever seen in a film as everything looked uninteresting and the pacing was very slow. Marcus was a decent lead though and the concept of robots taking over the world is still fairly fun. I’m glad that Skynet continues to have the last laugh and the humans can never stop her. This film does drastically cut down on the violence and other unnecessary content which also helps it. Technically, it does still beat the first film for me although the first one was more exciting. If you want to watch a good sci-fi film, I recommend checking this one out. Just don’t expect a whole lot of action.

Overall 6/10

Advertisements

Terminator 3 Rise of The Machines Review

This is of the edited TV-14 version of the film and all thoughts below should be read as such. A review of the uncut version would likely be more negative as edited versions help to address my complaints for a product…typically.
5466024ef63646dc4a0b8663
It’s time to take a look at the third Terminator film! The second one was very enjoyable and really captured the feel of what a Terminator film should be like. The villain was impressive and the time travel aspects were handled well even if I had some questions on it. The third film wasn’t quite as big as the second film and certainly not as legendary, but it actually holds up to the second film. They’re very close and while I may give the second film the slight edge….it’s very close. Both of them outdo each other in various ways and I’ll compare them again towards the end of the review.

Sarah Conner is gone and John must now fend for himself. The problem is that John wasn’t prepared to attack the world on his own. He has managed to scrape by somehow, but now Skynet has sent another Terminator after him. The original Terminator is around to help John against the TX, but can the older model really prove to be effective at this point? Judgment day is at hand and the humans will have to get ready for what is about to happen. Only John can save the world, but can he even save himself?

As with the last film, John makes for a very poor protagonist. It’s hard to root for him when you consider the fact that one of his very first scenes is him getting locked up in a cage and swallowing some intriguing pills. He doesn’t get much better than that as his personality is simply unlikable. It’s like he was only half listening to Sarah’s warnings and he barely even seems to remember the Terminator from the second film. Granted, it’s another version of the character, but I expected more of a reaction although he clearly does remember the cyborg since he references the second film several times. I don’t know, he just didn’t feel consistent in that area and he never became likable.

Kate is the main heroine and she probably gets the saddest role in the film. The TX naturally takes down her fiance so that she essentially has no choice but to hook up with the main guy. She moves on from the Fiance in about 5 minutes so I don’t think that the relationship was that serious anyway, but it still makes her look bad. She really had no reason to like John since they hadn’t seen each other in years and the Hollywood effect (As I like to call it anyway) should have just let her off the hook here. As just friends, it would have worked out a little better.

Enough about the humans though. John and Kate are really the only two important ones. Kate’s father does have a role involving Skynet though and the fan favorite Dr.Peter also makes a quick guest star appearance for another fun scene. Beyond that, the Terminators really take on most of the important scenes so let’s talk about them. The classic T-800 is still a very likable character. He remembers what happened in the second film thanks to a sort of unified mind or something like that.

The fight is certainly tough for the Terminator since he’s really outgunned at this point. The TX is supposed to be superior in every way so only plot hax can protect the T-800. He’s still the best character in the film, but I have to admit that the fight scenes were really stretching logic at times although I’ll go into that more in a second. If you liked The Terminator in the first two films, you’ll likely enjoy him here. He gets more than one great burn and most of his scenes have him doing something cool like “Talk to the hand!” or “You’re Terminated” There was definitely a lot of memorable material here.

The TX is the first female cyborg to be shown and she makes for a merciless villain. Technically, she is easily the strongest Terminator that we have seen at this point and her weapons are very impressive. A single hit from her energy gun can destroy most Terminators and her instant regeneration is about as good as the T-1000’s. She can take over other pieces of technology and just acts more like a modern robot villain in general. She was certainly an imposing figure and made for a good enemy to the T-800. Even if she was a little overpowered to be honest.

Unfortunately, this film has more plot hax than the first two by a long shot. As mentioned, the TX is supposed to be superior to the T-800 in every way and she proves that in several scenes. Yet, the T-800 is able to physically overpower her during the big showdown and he actually lands a number of hits. It’s like watching a Mario player in Super Smash fight someone who doesn’t know how to DI. The Terminator simply keeps hitting and flipping her and she doesn’t really try to fight back. Eventually, she just seems to realize that she’s in a fight and disposes of him rather quickly. Perhaps she was toying with him since the Terminators do have a little personality at times, but the film didn’t play it off that way. She also had many opportunities to destroy John, but didn’t. One example is when she was on the car that he was in. Simply firing her energy blast would easily destroy him along with the vehicle. Such a minor explosion would barely harm her after all, but instead she tried throwing some punches and got knocked off of the car. Rookie mistake TX….

While the plot hax was around, the fight scenes were still the best in the franchise. The film producers/directors must have realized that CGI is the way of the future as the battles are like watching the Man of Steel if it was made a few years ago. The characters are really landing heavy blows on each other and they even have some decent speed feats. The action scenes are certainly ahead of their time and while you won’t enjoy them if you don’t care for CGI, CGI fans like myself (Only for live action) will definitely get a kick out of the bout. The TX should have won without much of a fight, but it’s more entertaining this way I suppose. Their battle was certainly the highlight of the film.

I found this film to be less violent than the second one and it feels like the series is getting a little tamer with each installment, which is always good. Of course, keep in mind that I am reviewing the edited version. The film can also still be intense at times like when the TX impales someone and drives while in that position. That scene was definitely pretty gruesome and the body count does get rather large at times. The implied violence can also get to you so naturally, you should know that you are about to watch a pretty intense film when you start this one. The soundtrack is also great and I have to say that it might even be better than the second’s. It’s very fast paced and the classic theme also shows up to increase the intensity. Most of the tracks really fit the scenes and while you won’t remember them for long, they are enjoyable while present.

In the end, how does this film stack up against the second one? Well, T2 has the edge with the main protagonist as Sarah is much better than John. T2 has less plot hax in the fight scenes and it was also a lot more epic as the stakes felt more real and theatrical. T3 was really epic as well, but in a way, you could tell that it was the sequel that was meant to be more comic bookey. Not a real word, but that’s a good way to describe it. While T2 was more of a thriller, T3 felt like a comic book film with super villains fighting the main lead. Even just looking at how the Terminators teleport onto the scene. T2 had the much cooler entrance as the Cyborgs just appear while T3 has a black bubble that appears first, which looked decently interesting, but it wasn’t quite as epic. T3 easily had the best action scenes of the trilogy and I dare say that it had better one liners for Arnold although most of his lines tend to be really cool. As such, it’s a close battle and both films are neck and neck, but I’ve got to give T3 the slight edge here. It’s hard to say whether T3 will always have the lead or not as one may age better than the other, but it’ll be interesting to see.

I’ve also got to give T3 props for the ending as it was fairly incredible and the kind of ending that you don’t see very often anymore. At least, not without a “Part II” or a direct sequel. While Salvation would end up rolling along, this was still an ending to a complete film and one that was fairly surprising. I was expecting more plot hax to be honest like the bomb plan actually working, but I loved every bit of the ending. It was all part of the plan and the heroes were just being led along. I’d love to see another ending like that sometimes, but it’s hard to handle correctly. We’ll just have to see if anymore films have it in them.

Overall, Terminator 3 was better than I ever could have anticipated. The fights were a lot of fun and the humor was handled well. It felt like a complete film and a very interesting one that used time travel to its fullest. Skynet never gives up and the quick pacing of the film keeps the audience guessing. The pacing isn’t quite as good as T2 as it slows down sometimes, but it’s typically fast enough. If John had been a better main character, the film would have been that much better. I definitely recommend this film to Terminator fans and you may be pleasantly surprised upon watching it. I wonder if the upcoming Terminator film will manage to have a stronger Terminator than the TX. Somehow, I doubt it, but that would be interesting to see.

Overall 7/10

The Terminator Review

This is of the edited TV-14 version of the film and all thoughts below should be read as such. A review of the uncut version would likely be more negative as edited versions help to address my complaints for a product…typically.
Terminator1984movieposter
All right, it’s time to take a look at one of the cinematic legends! The Terminator is a film that many people grew up with and it has quite the reputation. I’ve now seen most if not all of the great film classics like Jaws, Alien, and Twister. Most of the iconic legends were fun to watch, but still crumpled when it came down to the overall rating. Whether it was through animal violence, excessive violence, or just an unimpressive climax, they couldn’t match up to today’s films like Avengers, Man of Steel, and Tron. I’m happy to say that The Terminator was more fun than most if not all of the other classics. Twister gives it a decent fight. The Terminator still makes enough mistakes to keep me from giving it a truly solid rating, but I can see why this title is a classic.

Sarah was living her life as usual when things suddenly changed. A mysterious cyborg from the future was sent to destroy her so that the human resistance in the future would never come to be. The humans sent back one of their own to her time and his name is Kyle Rayner Reese. He has to destroy the cyborg and keep Sarah safe, but that will be tough since The Terminator is just about invincible. Destroying him will take a lot of guts and determination. Sarah is also not helping matters since she doesn’t trust Kyle and goes to the Police. Can the cops help out or will they add to the body count!?

Let’s start off with the positives of the film. I have always loved time travel as the main focus. There are so many things that you can do with it so long as you head to the future or the future comes to the present. As long as you completely disregard the past, then I’m all set. We’ve seen great time travel adventures in shows like DBZ and Justice League in the past. Just about every big franchise has dealt with this plot and Terminator was probably the first to really popularize this. The concept of a machine coming to destroy you from the future is a good one. It’s hard to say who had handled it the best, but I’m tempted to say that Sonic The Hedgehog 2006 did.

The film also had a really fun soundtrack. This was during the time when it was okay to add quick techno themes to films in theaters. The battle themes are a lot of fun and the beats are catchy. Nowadays, it’s a little harder to picture a big film doing that, but some gems are still hidden among the others like with the Tron film. Having a nice soundtrack definitely helps to rise this film even higher among the classic titles.

I was also pleasantly surprised to see some more glimpses of the future after the initial scenes in the film. The blasters were fun to watch and the humans were managing to hold their own. Personally, I don’t think that they stand a chance against the powerful forces of Skynet, but it was still fun to watch. The future was definitely a grim place and it reminds us why robots shouldn’t be given too much power too quickly.

Finally, the film is just very interesting. There’s a constant sense of danger as Sarah runs away from the Terminator and the backdrops hold up fairly well. Something is always happening and the action rarely lets up to give you a breather. Unfortunately, that’s when things tend to get a little dicey, but the film’s tempo was another one of its strong points. Once you stop moving, it’s game over.

For time travel, there are many different theories on how it would work and I tend to like them all except for the one which claims that you can never alter the future. DC tried that in the Booster Gold comics and I definitely disagreed with that. As long as you can go to the past, you can certainly alter it. Whether you experience the changes in real time or not (Like in DBZ, where it just affects another timeline) you will still have changed things. This series is essentially using a closed loop system. The instant that The Terminator and Kyle went in the time portal, everything began to happen infinitely. Everyone would keep on doing the same things over and over again. The future would always go on and the past would always happen time and time again. It’s fun to wrap your head around that and it sort of starts the Chicken and Egg story.

Time for the negatives. Well, let’s start off with Kyle and his relationship with Sarah. Only in the movies will a character be running from deadly machines and the notion of time travel take time to quickly have a baby before doing some more running. Kyle and Sarah getting together did not make any sense and the whole thing happened way too quickly. They only knew each other for like a day and they were still willing to go all the way like that. Kyle claims that he loved her ever since he saw a picture of her and that also proves that he’s very shallow and just liked her for her looks. Possibly her reputation, but falling in love with someone because of a picture is pretty bad. Kyle ended up being my least favorite character in the film.

It was cool that he had a similar voice to Silver (Sonic) and Trunks (DBZ) but that was really his best quality. He was quick to threaten Sarah and he was constantly panicking when he showed up. It was pretty funny to see him take the conversation with the cops so seriously when they were clearly making fun of him. I guess that there is less time for sarcasm in the future eh? Kyle means well as he tries to save the future, but he should have stayed in the friend zone.

As for Sarah, she’s a decent lead. Of course, she also panics a lot and does allow herself to be with Kyle. So, I wouldn’t say that she’s a great character, but she’s not too bad and she does keep the dog in the end. That was a good move on her part and it does lead into one of the big positives of the film. I also enjoyed the police officers as they did a pretty good job of securing the perimeter. Did you think that the Terminator would scare these guys? Not a chance! The chief had it all figured out and he had about 30 men at his disposal for the fight. The officers were outgunned, but they had a lot of the best moments in the film. You can’t forget how one of them took pokes at Kyle’s story and showed why it could make a good novel..or film.

One of the big positives that I noticed in the film was a distinct aversion to animal violence. Just about all films nowadays could learn a thing or two from this one. At one point, The Terminator comes face to face with a dog and decides not to shoot him. That one moment had more depth than the entirety of the Jurassic Park trilogy and the writing was stellar. I feel like the film could have won an Oscar for that moment alone. There were several other dogs who appeared in the film and all of them lived. Even the two police dogs who went up against the Terminator came away from the battle unscathed. I was quite worried during those moments and I was mentally jotting notes on it. It’s safe to say that a scene of animal violence would have certainly pushed the overall score into the red.

Naturally, this film was originally in the mature rating so the film is excessively violent at different points. The scene where the Terminator shows his true eye is particularly gruesome and he impales quite a few people for the lolz. As far as the violence goes, it could have certainly been worse or better. It’s still a little more than there should be so I added it to this section. Again, due to the rating, it’s to be expected and it’s why most of the legendary films never get to have a great rating. Compare these to something like The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and that film will almost always have the edge as it had an incredible fight scene with many epic things happening. The film dragged on a little though and still had its issues as well.

It also needs to be mentioned that there is an abundance of plot hax in this film. Again…it’s to be expected since the film is about humans trying to fight a super powered cyborg. They never stood a chance of defeating such a villain. So, I could name a few scenes in particular, but you get the jist of it. Terminator missing gunshots at point blank range many, many times. The army not coming to help the town (Welll….a bit of a nitpick there) and others. Mainly, it’s just the Terminator not destroying Sarah parts since he really had a chance to do so in just about every scene. His intelligence also seemed to greatly vary as he would make plans in one scene and just seem to walk around aimlessly in others.

As for the actual Terminator, he made for a good villain. Robots/Cyborgs are great when they’re played straight. The fact that he has no emotions is what makes him a very intriguing villain and he did a good job of hunting the heroes. He doesn’t have his iconic shotgun yet, but I mostly know him from the latter films. Seeing him as the antagonist was definitely interesting and I actually forgot that he used to be the bad guy. I’m just too used to him being the hero at this point.

As you can see, the film had many good and bad points. I’d say that they roughly cancel out into a decent film. Decent sounds more positive than negative and you can make that case. On a technical level though, the negatives were numerous enough to slow the film down. The film was still fun to watch though and I’d say that it’s similar to Alien. An engaging plot even though the score was certainly doomed at times. Terminator is a big step up from Alien and I still to consider it to be one of the best classics.

Overall, Terminator was a very interesting sci-fi film and handled the time travel aspect well. I’m not sure if I’m crazy about the loop, but I suppose that it was inevitable as soon as we found out why Sarah was being targeted. How will the sequels work? Well, in the future, Skynet will likely just put their next plan to work and that’s how things will get started. I’m definitely hyped for the sequel and the Terminator is definitely a fun franchise. I became a fan of it through the games so it’s nice to see what they were based off of. As far as the concepts go, the only classic film to really be about on par with this one is Men in Black, which was pretty incredible. I definitely recommend checking this film out if you’re a big Sci-Fi fan and know what you’re getting yourself into. The film can be a little intense, but you are likely aware of that. Take away the scene with Kyle and Sarah and I’m confident that the score would have been higher and more like what you would have expected for a review of this title. It’s neat that the film did so well with critics across the board and it was definitely something new and innovative for the time that still works well today. That’s why I’m hoping that the new film coming out soon ends up being really good. I’ll be checking out the sequel soon so definitely keep your eyes open for that!

Overall 5/10