Terminator Salvation

2 out of 5 stars
METAL ON METAL Bale sneaks up on the future.
METAL ON METAL Bale sneaks up on the future.

Time Out says

2 out of 5 stars

After watching James Cameron’s spunky Terminator—even 25 years later—your mind only sparks with questions. Isn’t it romantic, sending a future soldier back in time to protect the mother of the resistance (and also to fall in love with her)? Could there possibly be a better role for an Austrian bodybuilder than a cyborg? And who was this resourceful chick, basically saving humanity’s ass? The new Terminator Salvation, brought to dour, noisy life by Charlie’s Angels director McG, prompts a different set of questions. When did Christian Bale, playing the grown-up freedom fighter John Connor, become such a humorless pill? Where, exactly, do survivors of the “nuclear fire” grow carrots? And wouldn’t being punched in the face by a steel fist hurt a little?

It’s 2018 and the world lies in ruins—Hollywood, too. But judging from Salvation, certain elements of franchise resuscitation have survived: the most boring ones. Giant robots cut down humans or go kaboom in nonthreatening, digitized heaps. Connor, a barker of orders and dull radio broadcasts, still has to locate teenage Kyle Reese (Yelchin, a winning Chekhov in Star Trek) and—yawn—infiltrate Skynet HQ. And there’s another scruffy-bearded hunk, Marcus (Worthington), who probably shouldn’t be trusted, seeing that he can’t string an entire sentence together. Sadly, people still listen to Guns N’ Roses cassettes in the wasteland; also, a certain real-life California governor has been computerized and revived, complete with his 1984 hair part. But missing is Cameron’s signature action modification, best exploited in Aliens: the strapping female heroine. McG’s testosterone-juiced world feels a little doomed without her.—Joshua Rothkopf

Opens Fri.

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