TERMINATOR SALVATION: A 'Nonquel'
TERMINATOR SALVATION (action thriller)
Cast: Christian Bale, Sam Worthington (pictured), Anton Yelchin, Bryce Dallas Howard, Moon Bloodgood and Common
Director: Joseph McGinty Nichol (McG)
Time: 114 mins
Rating: * * * (out of 4)
PREAMBLE: Terminator Salvation, with its tagline "The End Begins", is set in the year 2018. However, the famous T-franchise has been time-travelling so much that it is difficult to gauge whether this one is a prequel or a sequel. This being so, I would prefer to call it a 'nonquel' just to match its 'reboot' status which has become the trend for recycled movies these days.
By way of rebooting, it is clear that the James Cameron formula has been ditched for a Michael Bay format...
WHAT'S IT ABOUT? A prologue, set in 2003, shows Death Row inmate Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington) being visited by Dr Serena Kogan (Helena Bonham Carter), who wants Marcus' body so that she can turn him into a cyborg. Marcus asks for something in return - and when she gives it, he quips: "So that's what death tastes like!"
Yeah, with this type of opener, T-S is off to a great start. Fast-forward to 2018, we find John Connor (Christian Bale) hot at war against Skynet and its army of killer machines. Using audio-tapes from his late mother Sarah (Linda Hamilton), Connor tries to piece together his future, which, we are told, is tied to his past. But then something weird shows up in this time-travel plot: Connor discovers that his father, Kyle Reese (Anton Yelchin), is a teenager trying to join the Resistance movement that he leads!
Meanwhile, Marcus from 2003 enters the fray, befriends Kyle and his mute sidekick Star (Jadagrace) and teams up with them to look for Connor.
HITS & MISSES: Who bothers about the plot, really? T-flicks are known for their action and director McG has not only 'refreshed' the chase-and-crash sequences, he has also added new machines like 'Robobikes', mechanical centipedes with Wolverine claws, and - best of all - a half-man, half-machine who does not quite know which is which. And with a little love interest (Moon Bloodgood as fighter-pilot Blair) thrown into the Marcus subplot, it is a lot more engaging than the main Man-Vs-Machine war.
Indeed, Worthington's Marcus seems to upstage Bale's Connor as the hero of the piece - just as Heath Ledger's Joker stole the thunder from his Dark Knight. Talk about bad luck! Other cast members who seem to provide cameos include Bryce Dallas Howard as Connor's pregnant wife; Michael Ironside as Connor's boss; and someone who looks like Arnie Schwarzenegger (in the buff) reprising his role as a Terminator.
THE LOWDOWN: This mix of Transformers and Mad Max equals a whole lot of thrills and spills.