The fourth installment in the Terminator franchise takes place post-Judgement Day from Terminator 3 but before John Connor (Christian Bale) has to send his father Kyle Reese (Anton Yelchin) back in time so the events of the first Terminator could occur. The world is desolate and the humans are fighting as hard as they can to push back the tide. Connor is just an eager resistance soldier at this point but he isn't the only player in this puzzle. Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington) just wakes up one day to find out that he is alive and the world has gone to shit. In case the twenty previews running on the television didn't reveal this to you- Marcus is a terminator but he doesn't have any knowledge of it, making him the first human/terminator hybrid. He is still second fiddle to John in the scope of all things which makes me question why the film is called Salvation. The war is still continuing after the film has ended and the only character that experiences salvation is Marcus, and yet John is the one who needs it. Then again, Salvation sounds a lot cooler than Terminator 4: Revenge of the Robots.
McG, the director of the film, was hoping that this would make people take him seriously. Well the whole thing is shot in a bit of a messy manner so that won't be happening anytime soon. The grainy look of the environment should somehow work with the story and yet this could've taken place just as well in a forrest with unicorns. The cinematography allows for some pleasures but even then the film is too energetic to really benefit anyone who is looking for some everlasting eye candy (I didn't even get to admire a robot before the camera cut away to look at John's grin). Even "da original terminata" Arnold Schwarzenegger is on screen for only a few shots and the rest of the time we just see his bicep. For all of the black-and-white junkyard battles that don't amount to much, one would hope that this stellar cast would at least keep skeptics at bay. But unfortunately Bale feels the need to play himself as Bruce Wayne as John Connor (just watch the scene where Marcus goes off to Skynet, John is very calm before suddenly yelling "WHO ARE YOU?" leaving us to yell back "WHAT THE FUCK IS HIS PROBLEM?"). The rest of the talent that includes Common, Bryce Dallas Howard, Jane Alexander, and Michael Ironside all feel underused with limited screen time during the "John and Marcus Show." The only character that we get even a bit extra glimpse into the mind of is Blair (Moon Bloodgood) a girl that predictably begins to feel for Marcus (of course there has to be a love story). And even then, none of the main players are distinctive. I find it insulting that Edward Furlong and Nick Stahl were more unique as John Connor than an actor with a pedigree like Bale's.
The movie also raised some questions about the Terminator franchise in general. I mean, the time loop doesn't make sense because to kick start the timeline, John has to send Kyle back so Kyle can have sex with Sara to be sure that John exists but John already exists because he is sending Kyle back to protect his mother.... you can go in a circle all day with this stuff. Terminator: Salvation just amounts to a bunch of noise with eye candy. I'm really surprised that Bale's only problem with the film was the "fucking lighting."