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Saturday, 2 November 2013

Straight Up Reviews #11: Terminator Salvation

This movie I'm indifferent to.  There are some things I despise about it, while there are some things I liked about it.  For those that don't know, Salvation is the fourth installment of the Terminator Franchise a series all about Mankind's war against the machines.  In this case the war just started and John Connor has to work up to the ranks in order to be the future's only hope.  In this one, Connor himself replaced Nick Stahl and Edward Furlong with Christian Bale.  That's where things went downhill.   Bale is not a bad actor and he does try his best to pick up where Stahl left off, but I fail to see him as Connor if anything he would have been more fit to be Reese who is now played by new great actor Anton Yeclhin.  While Yelchin's performence and added bonus of looking like a young Michael Biehn is questionable to say the least.  He doesn't do a bad job, but this Reese seems to take being in an apocalypse as equal to getting a paper cut.  I mean I watched the original films, Reese hated the future, but he was used to it to a point where he couldn't handle being in the past.  A deleted scene showed him admiring but at the same time, retroactively missing the beauty Earth had to offer because by his time it's all gone.  The story itself had some good and bad moments and one of the best moments, Marcus Wright is underrated.  The guy starts out in the past, as a man on death row atoning for people he's killed and trying to be useful in life.  He donates his body to Cyberdine Systems and somehow ends up in the future.  Upon getting wounded he is taken to Connor's compound for medical treatment and they discover something horrible.  Connor himself interrogates Marcus, while keeping him chained.  Much to both their confusion Marcus insists he is human.  Then Connor has him look for himself.  Much to Marcus' horror, he has become a Terminator Prototype.  This scene is one of my favorites because it brings some horror elements that 3 never had and that 2's action scenes overlapped.  It was as if James Cameron took over for one scene before leaving saying "Good luck with your crappy sequel. When you're done with Sam, I'm gonna need him for Avatar."  I mean it's not just horrifying it's 1960s Twilight Zone Twist horrifying.  This guy who has another chance at life becomes a literal killing machine.  If anything they should have ended it there, left it ambiguous and used the rest of the movie to make Terminator 5.  Now before I continue, I would like to take a moment and blaspheme among Terminator fans.  While it has it's flaws I liked the third that I have checked to make sure there's no angry mob of Arnold look-alikes let me explain:  I can take that it's too actionized and craps on Cameron's first two movies, but I can also justify the Terminator's existence despite them destroying all potential reverse engineers.  I can justify this movie with two scenes: In the climax of 2, while fighting the T-1000, The T-800 has an arm stuck in a set of gears and has to rip it off to keep fighting. Said arm is still in the gears waiting to be discovered by cops and Cyberdyne's military investors The U.S. Airforce Cyber Research Facility.  Or CRS for short.  The other scene, when they blew up Cyberdine.  Aside from what they were working on we are never told of Cyberdyne's reputation.  For all we know they only blew up it's L.A. Branch and it could be a worldwide originization.  While in the early 90s, you couldn't use the internet to transfer files from one world to another, you could still keep them stored on discs, journals and the like.  Someone could easily make back ups even if they aren't qualified to continue Mile's Dyson's work.  Long story short, there is at least two plausible ways for T-3 to happen.   Anywho, my one major problem with this story was the ending.  Connor gets stabbed and Marcus gives him his heart, which is human but very poweful.  Before you guys say it, yes, blood types and transplanting are known factors to consider to avoid rejection, however one could say that Marcus' heart is both organic and mechanical.  Think an artificial heart with half a real heart on it. Medical mumbo jumbo aside, this whole movie would have been a lot better if the ending had Reese been stabbed instead of Connor.  How do I know that? Reese himself said it himself.

Kyle Reese: Taking out Connor then would make no difference. Skynet had to wipe out his entire existence.

Reese is Kyle's father, he hasn't been sent back yet and only knew John as an urban legend at the time.  One of the people Marcus was atoning for, was his younger brother and he clearly sees Kyle and Star as surrogate siblings, teaching them survival tricks that Kyle later picks up in Terminator 1. And he was more than willing to kill Connor, if he got in his way.  So in away he'd save his brother by saving Kyle.

Now aside from the teeter totter story there is some plus sides to it.  This was the last movie to feature effects supervised by the late Stan Winston, who created the titular machines.  The classics are all there, T-800s, HK Kites and a few T-1s and HK Tanks.   However there are new ones in the playing field.   We got the T-600.  A more bulky version of the 800, with Rubber skin partially over parts of it.  But as Kyle noted, they are easy to spot and easier to destroy.  We also got Hydrobots, which help bring the series back their original horror elements.  The MotoTerminators, If Christine could breed they would be the babies.  Last but not least my personal favorite,  The HK Harvester.  This machine was hinted at throughout the first movie, as the thing that captures humans and put them in camps for orderly disposal.  And it didn't disappoint, this thing does what it takes to capture them.

All and all the movie has it's peaks and valleys, but if you want some kind of satisfaction, it at least kept the franchise alive long enough for Arnold to step out of office and reclaim his role.  However it doesn't deserve all the flack that's been thrown at as they at least tried.

As usual debate, argue and let me know what I missed.  Stay Tuned For More. I'll be back

Oh and in case you are wondering. Straight Up means no bullshit.

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