An undercooked story is made passable by some truly impressive production design and slick effects/animatronics. Fans of the series will be dismayed at how little this weak entry adds to the canon – plot holes the size of California and a troupe of boring characters don’t help its plight – but Terminator Salvation is loud, intense and pompous enough to be a certified blockbuster.
Director McG (of Charlie’s Angels fame) and his team have created a grim, joyless, post-apocalyptic wasteland. It’s a nightmarish vision of cold robotic evil hunting down and killing humans – there’s sort of a Mad Max oil-soaked vibe, all grimy and discoloured. Action keeps coming in a never-ending barrage of chaos, with ear-splitting sound effects cranked up to a brain-exploding intensity.
Without a definitive lead character to follow (Bale’s John Connor is nothing more than a gravelly-voiced douche), the non-story is thrown to the wind. Nothing makes any logical sense in the time travelling world already set up and the ending is the narrative equivalent of a fade-out.
So with no tension, no stakes and no satisfying outcome, what makes this worth seeing? I liked the pace, plus the fact that stuff blows up every 3.5 seconds should be enough for most. There’s clearly a sequel coming, but rather than charge our batteries for further adventures, Terminator Salvation begs for the series to be switched off.