Starring Christin Bale, Sam Worthington, and Anton Yelchin
Directed by McG (Charlie’s Angels)
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence, and language
Appropriate for ages 13+
This fourth installment of the Terminator franchise (unless you count the TV show) follows the infamous John Connor (Bale) in the year 2018, commanding the human resistance during what could be their possible extinction. As he is looking for Kyle Reese (Yelchin), the man he sends back in time to become his father, he finds another man named Marcus Wright (Worthington) that informs him that Reese has been captured by the machines. The only problem is that Wright himself is a terminator that thinks he is a human, and Connor and gang do not know if they can trust him. The one thing that John does know is that Kyle must live if there is to be any hope for the human race.
Before I rip into this one, I will sing a few of its praises. First off, the special effects are off the charts. While they aren’t as groundbreaking as what we saw in T2, they are still hugely impressive. The new machines are equally terrific, although I would have rather waited to see the gigantic killer robots during the movie rather than having the trailer spoiling them, but oh well.
My first gripe is that this is a lousy script full of fuzzy logic and plot holes galore. I’ll try not to give too much away here, but it seemed way too easy for Wright to find Reese (guess it was destiny) and if Reese truly was enemy number one to the machines – either Wright would have been programed to kill Reese when discovered, or at least the machines would have killed Reese when captured rather than trying to use him as bait for Connor. After all, if Connor’s thought process was correct (if Reese was killed, Connor would cease to exist and the resistance would die) then killing him as soon as he is captured would have made the most sense, and subsequently got us out of the theater an hour faster. But let’s put logic problems aside, the dialogue is what really stinks here. All the silly banter and clichéd rebels were just annoying. I wish Bale had lashed out against the writers rather than the cinematographer.
I also have a huge problem with the direction here. McG has lots of style, but his scene work is not strong, and he is not good at compelling storytelling. What looks like an acting problem is really just bad directing. While the film will make a lot of money, giving McG $200 million when he is largely untested was kind of a dumb idea of Warner Brothers. After its advertising campaign, I predict that this pic will be a big money loser for the studio.
Finally, Terminator is an R-rated franchise, and this teeny bopper, toned-down version doesn’t help the film at all. I think a real director, with the same budget and a better-written R-rated script, could have really done something with this story, and possibly turned it into another classic. C-