Terminator Salvation (Devil’s Advocate Review)
“It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear, and it absolutely will not stop. Ever. Until you are dead.”
Those words were spoken by Michael Biehn’s character, Kyle Reese, in the original Terminator film and it summed up everything you ever needed to know about the futuristic killer that was on the loose. And now everything we thought we knew is marred by the desire to create all of these extra, unnecessary constructs, simply for the sake of creating them.
Now we’re brought into the future to find skyscraper sized machines (and where the hell are those guys being built) and electric eel robots fighting against the resistance, instead of our beloved cybernetic organism. What drew people like magnets was never the intricacies of the cyborg or the different looks the robots could take on, but rather the reflective human qualities that were present in the killing machine.
The appeal of the Terminator franchise has always been that the cyborg sent from the future looks human and is then thought to have the same vulnerabilities as a human. This of course never turns out to be the case, so then we get people underestimating the machine and having their perception of reality challenged.
At some point in his life, director McG was told that bigger is better and decided to imprint that onto everything he does. That’s why we get larger explosions, more bullets than you could ever count, and many variations on what was already a working concept (the original Terminators). Instead of expanding on certain aspects of the story and showing the audience what the real reprecussions of the computer age were, we get a lot of flash and little substance.
The story is similar to that of the other Terminator installments. Save the parent, Save the world. It makes sense to go down this road, but it seems that with this future already in progress, why go that route? With the infinite resources Skynet seems to have, why not focus on winning the war at hand? It simply seems that if we’re meant to see the war that ensues in the future, why include a subplot that reflects events we’ve already been through?
Without giving anything away, we do get to see the beginnings of the human-like mechanism, played by Sam Worthington, who plays a naive android with a brutal intensity that is only matched by Christian Bale’s performance as John Connor. Otherwise, the rest of the cast is fairly
ho-hum. Bryce Dallas Howard is reduced to scenery, rapper turned actor Common is under used, and Moon Bloodgood is a femme fatale, minus the fatale. And the most disappointing role of all is Anton Yelchin as Kyle Reese. They took the only man capable of bringing down the unstoppable Schwarzenegger model and reduced him to the squeaky voiced teen from The Simpsons. Extremely poor casting choice.
As the Devil’s Advocate I give Terminator: Salvation 2 out of 5 pitchforks. It suffers from the Napoleonic Syndrome, wherein they took a concept that always worked in its self contained module and blew it up to unmanageable proportions.
In reality, I really enjoyed the film and appreciated it for what it is…a summer popcorn flick. The Terminator mythology has always held my attention, and Salvation was no different. I give it 3 out of 5 pitchforks.