Terminator Salvation Review, or Why You Should Never Get Into a Helicopter With John Connor

 good Terminator Salvation poster: the one without the giant metal face

Six years after the rather lackluster Terminator 3 came out and one year into the canon-bending Terminator: the Sarah Connor Chronicles improbably named director McG got the go-ahead for a fourth film in the Terminator series: Terminator Salvation.

Terminator Salvation picks up the “John Connor is the hero of humanity” story from the first three Terminator films, but in the future, then the machines rule. Instead of following John this time, our hero is Marcus Wright a convicted murderer who wakes up in post Judgment Day Los Angeles fifteen years after his own execution to find himself in the middle of an all out war between the last remaining humans and the machines controlled by Skynet.

Sounds cool right? Unfortunately some people, even some people who are Sam Worthington have criticized Terminator Salvation for being plot-holey and a little unfocused. (FYI Sam Worthington played Marcus Wright, in case you were wondering why anyone cares what he says).

Click below to read more about that these mythical “some people” say, and what I say back to them.

Popular targets with the “some people” are John “Mean and Yelly” Connor (Christian Bale)…

instance #447 of John yelling at someone
“We are all dead!… and all the cake is gone!”

Kate “let’s transplant this random organ into my husband” Connor (Bryce Dallas Howard)…

tell Marcus to keep his heart, the audience likes him better anyway
“Guys… aren’t you going to blood type that or wash the scalpel or anything? Guys?”

… the super-smashy giant killer robot that no one heard coming at the gas station…

a very not stealth robot
known as “twinkletoes” to his friends

… the retarded robots who keep saving Kyle Reese (Anton Yelchin) as a trap for John instead of just killing him and preventing John from existing in the first place…

Kyle and the dependents he puts on his T4
“It’s okay. When they find out who I am I’ll just get a private room.”

…and Blair “let’s start a fire when the Terminators have infrared” Williams (Moon Bloodgood).

bullet to testicle ratio now 1:1
who thoughtfully shoots dudes in the balls so her screwdriver-bearing ex-con crushes don’t have to go through the trouble

Actually, there were a lot of reality-bending things that happened around that lady: her improbably long hair (for a fighter pilot); her inexplicable misuse of parachutes and parachute release buttons…

a little help here
“Yooo hooo, oh manly stranger, helpless damsel in distress here!”

… which should have been attached to the seat and not her back anyway; why she didn’t just move closer to the fire when she was cold instead of pasting herself to Marcus; and how her skin-tight jacket fit on Marcus when they pulled their genius “let’s switch coats” escape plan.

the unnoticed part 2 of the coat swap plan
“Yeah, I’m wearing a girl jacket. Got a problem with that Conner?”

But I could mostly explain them away to myself by assuming Blair was just really really desperate to get her hands on Marcus (I guess the pickings are pretty slim in Post-Apocalypseland if you’re jonesing after a filthy stranger you met two seconds ago)

oooh, sexual tension
“Yes yes, the face grabbing is all very nice, but can we skip to the part where you take off my pants?”

Anyway, it’s not a perfect movie, is the point they’re making. And they are, of course, right. But I love it anyway, in the kind of way you love your relatives who occasionally do things that annoy you.

I don’t know if it endeared itself to me because of how relatable and sympathetic Marcus was…

Marcus Wright/Sam Worthington aka the best part of the film
adorable murderous half-robot Marcus

…how unutterably awesome the A-10s were, especially when they were blowing stuff up…

the A-10 Thunderbolt II, aka Warthog to its friends

…or because it’s finally a whole movie of the tanks running over skulls bit that I liked from the first Terminator

in the future, your skull is a speed bump

But a lot of it probably has to do with the helicopters. As I stated in my A Perfect Getaway review, I really fucking love helicopters, and their presence in a movie automatically makes it not a waste of time.

it’s a mathematically provable factor

Unfortunately, John Connor doesn’t share my love of the awesome whirly floaty war machines, judging by his unconscionable misuse of them. Every time that man gets in a helicopter it ends up bursting into its component parts about two minutes later. It’s actually kind of hilarious.

Like in the assault on the development complex in the beginning (where dear old J.C.’s helo is taken down not once but TWICE)…

just before crash #1
“Hang on, let me drop you guys off before I get blown out of the sky…”

just after crash #2
“Working helicopter count = zero. My work here is done.”

…and the great Marcus chase after robo-boy escaped from the resistance compound…

just after crash #3
“Kate, put another ad for a helicopter pilot on Monster.com, will you?”

… and of course at the end, where the helicopter they escaped on SHOULD have been taken down by an EMP like the helicopters in the first sequence were, because the bomb they set off was nuclear (as John took pains to point out when he was rigging it)…

ooooh glowey
“Don’t touch that, little mute girl, or we’ll be collecting your little mute particles from the ionosphere.”

…so it counts too. Why any of John’s resistance comrades even let him into a helicopter with them is beyond me, given his track record.

John gets on their last nerve
“With all due respect, sir, get the fuck out of my helicopter.”

Maybe in the next movie, John will have to overcome opposition not from the resistance command but from the SPCH, or Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Helicopters, who are running a “just say no” campaign against him in their monthly newsletter.

ChopChopChop - by helicopters, for helicopters

**Special Note: The SPCH is now accepting donations of gasoline, motor oil, and money to help with their spay/neuter program.

Buy Terminator Salvation on DVD

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