The film opens on death row. A condemned prisoner, Martin Wright (Sam Worthington) is giving a chance to donate his body to science. The scientist is from Cyberdyne Systems. In Terminator 3, John Connor is locked away safely when Skynet launches Judgment Day to emerge as the salvation of mankind-- pre-armed with the foreknowledge of how to fight the machines. Tune in 15 years later: Christian Bale plays John Connor-- the rebel leader / soldier. Humans are well organized against the robots: jets, subs and armed troops. They seem much better equipped than the ragtag fighters seen in the first movie. Michael Ironside commands the resistance from a secret location along with what looks to be remnants of an international force of senior officers. They have developed a way to shut off the machines and John Connor demands to test their new weapon. It also turns out that Skynet publishes a hit list of human targets: John Connor is #2 of the list; Kyle Reese is #1. Kyle Reese as Termintor followers will know is destined to be John Connor's father. Right now he's an anonymous resistance fighter and half of the force fighting in Los Angeles. After the raid on a research lab by Connor and the resistance, Martin Wright comes back from the dead. Confused, he stumbles through the wasteland (think of a super-duper version of the Fallout 3 environment). The wanders into LA defended by Reese and a plucky mute girl-- two people are left in Los Angeles. Outside of town Reese, Wright and the girl find an abandonned 7-11 teaming with survivors: easily 10 times the population of post-nuclear LA. The machines attack in some great action sequences-- scenes coupled with deep audio that rumbles like no home theatre could ever accomplish: it'll really bubble your soda. Reese is targetted for termination, but is taken captive. Wright does not get captured, but instead gets rescued by the sexy fighter pilot, Blair Williams (Moon Bloodgood). After the obligatory fighting-off-the-rapists scene, the two bond. She takes them back to the secret base when Connor is located. Then the big shocker-- the dead guy bought by Cyberdyne at the start of the movie who is impervious to harm and hunger, is.. a robot! Eventually he escapes and goes back to Skynet headquarters to find Reese. Connor follows to bust Reese and other captives out of Skynet headquarters. The big action unfolds and in a poorly guarded secret, Arnie makes a comback. What is majorly cool: it's an all digital Arnie. If your harken back to Mummy II and the sadly plastic Rock, then progress through the technical leaps you get to this movie. He looks freakish like the same Schwarzenegger that busted up a police station in the early 1980s. If this is the face of cinema, I think we'll get to see an all-digital Humphrey Bogart / Harrison Ford movie in five years. It's really impressive. By the wrap-up, the loose ends are tied and up the door is open for many sequences with young Kyle Reese and his son, John Connor fighting the machines.
The action is impressive. There is some terrific tension built into the scenes. McG has a stupid name but a real talent for putting together great action sequences. Christan Bale and the rest of the cast are good in their respective roles. If park your brain at the door, you're in for a great ride. If you think you sink in this movie. The plot holes abound. Connor keeps jumping up and down the Resistance org chart: one minute he's a soldier taking orders; next minute, he just short of being in charge of the whole movement. The robots control this massive sum of technology, but they can't zero in on the pirate broadcast from Connor yet they can tune in on the command headquarters. The robots wanted Reese and Connor dead-- but when given the chance they resort to stupid Bond-villian style exploits including revealing their plans to the only hero who can make a difference. Maybe someone jammed a Roger Moore Bond DVD into Skynet before it went online. Connor is obsessed with saving his eventual father because if he doesn't he won't be born. When WHEN WHEN will Hollywood figure out how time travels works? If someone changes "a" past it doesn't change all pasts-- it just changes the relative past. Besides that-- the crux of the Terminator franchise is that people travel through time to change the past. The resistance has a super weapon that will simple shut off the machines-- when they have the chance to deploy, they do not. Why? Likely because of Terminator Salvation II. Worst of all-- when they find Wright and discover that he's all fleshy on the outside and geary on the inside, Connor goes back to his mother's tapes. He was was never prepared for this. WTF? Didn't Connor hitch a ride with Arnie in Terminator II and III ? How could he not know that Terminator impersonate people? At the end of the movie, there is a stupid plot point introduced and then resolved. It's all sentimental and ridiculous. Go for the thrills, the explosions and super cool robots-- but put your brain in offline mode before seeing Terminator: Salvation.