Terminator Salvation, the fourth (and hopefully the last) instalment in the Terminator franchise was universally panned by movie critics and audiences worldwide when it released (sometime around mid 2009). However, given the fact that I am a big fan of the first 2 movies, and Judgment Day in particular, to me, it was a must-watch movie. That being said, I didn’t have too many expectations from the movie itself, given the considerable amount of criticism surrounding the movie, and the fact that Christian Bale (who plays John Connor in the movie) has pretty much made it his standard modus-operandi to give his trademark ‘Batman drawl’ to all characters that he plays nowadays since ‘Batman begins’. Suffice to say, I wanted to watch this movie only because of my loyalties to the franchise and not necessarily anything else.
The plot itself was nothing remarkable given that the first 2 movies pretty much set the stage for what to expect from the movie. Given that, the character of Marcus Wright (played wonderfully well by Sam Worthington) was quite a revelation, both in terms of the layering of the character within the plot, and in terms of the sheer intensity brought to the role by the actor. It is hard to believe that this movie is his first big screen role, and he displays the panache and intensity of a seasoned actor in this particular role.
The movie begins with Marcus Wright, a prisoner on death row donating his body for medical research to Cyberdyne Systems, and his subsequent execution by lethal injection in 2003. The movie picks up in 2018, where John Connor leading a Resistance attack on a Skynet base. This results in a nuclear explosion out of which Marcus emerges unhurt albeit without any memory of what has happened to him. The movie then takes up two parallel narrations, one in which John’s activities with the Resistance are depicted, and another in which Marcus’ journey to try and figure out what happened to him is shown. The two stories cross paths, courtesy Kyle Reese, who is on a Skynet “kill list” (which happens to contain John Connor’s name as well) and who happens to rescue Marcus from being killed by a T-600 terminator. John, who knows that Kyle ultimately will become his father then sets off on a search and rescue mission with Kyle which puts him in touch with Marcus, who in turn wants to rescue Kyle from Skynet.
What follows it the climax of the movie in which Marcus and John try to rescue Kyle from Skynet, and whether and how they manage to do that makes up for the last action sequence of the movie. Needless to say that like the other movies in this franchise, this one also contains enough terminators, action sequences, chase sequences, gadgets, explosions, guns and the works, in generous quantities. What sets this movie apart from the other ones in this franchise is the absence of Arnold Schwarzenegger in a significant role, and the fact that this movie for a large part contains two stories running in parallel.