Saturday, May 23, 2009

Terminator Salvation

IThis is Christian Bale's second post apocalyptic movie and both times they are disapointing. Reign of Fire was the first and this movie just assumed the dragons would wipe out military. I, and many others did not buy this. That movie showed a creature, about 30% heavier than a full size African elephant, get blasted with a 50 caliber machine gun without having any affect. This did not make any sense. It does not matter if the beast weights about 8 tons, a 50 caliber round would have an affect and multiple rounds will cause this animal to not maintain lift. A few rounds from a 50 caliber machine gun and a blue whale would probably die and this animals weighs about 80 tons. OK, the dragon has a thick hide, so? Not nearly thick enough to prevent the puncture of a 50 caliber round.

There was a nuclear explosion in the beginning of this movie, in 2018, where did this come from? This electromagnetic pulse is what knocked down Tech Com's helicopter that Connor was flying.

Bale is the up and coming hero named John Connor. This movie does not show the nuclear exchange between Russia and the US which was disappointing. I guess McG thought this was already shown in Terminator II. I do not think so.

This movie only took place in California which was disappointing. I understand many lives were lost but this movie acted like only about 1000 folks were left in that state. A state of 36 million. I am not sure about that. In both terminator one and two, the future fighting scenes show hundreds of men fighting T-800's and Connor is commanding them. This is not the CA we see now. But I know the future can be different based on the results of both of these films. I know the future scenes here were in 2029 which is not that far fetched if it is in Japan or China. This movie acted like humans were just scattered about and 99% of the population was lost which I can not believe. Judgement day killed 3 billion people. Radiation would kill tens of thousands of more. But the USA would still have milions of citizens left. It would take years for Skynet to be able to make T-600's. Ofcourse I could be over thinking this.

This movie never showed how hunter killers (HKs) were made nor developed. Apparently the storyline from Terminator III does count a little. In that weak movie, miniture HKs were revealed and developed by man. How did Skynet further develop these? How far is the reach of Skynet? What are the capabilities of an HK? Star Trek did not explain much either about the USS Enterprise model. Apparently, the HK can run down an A-10 Thunderbolt but it can be shot down by one as well.

Another bone offered to Terminator III is that the T-800 model is powered by nuclear fission. This was not mentioned in the first two Terminator films. What powers the T-800, John Connor uses this knowledge and ability to annihilate Skynet's North American compound at the end of this film. I expected the explosion to be more powerful though after it was supposed to be nuclear.

Sam Worthington plays the tough Marcus Wright which the movie starts off with. He is on death row but before he is about to be executed by lethal injection in Texas he is visited by someone from Cyberdyne Systems. Marcus is on death row for killing two police officers and his borther. They want to use his body for research. This is never really explained. Some pictures are shown by Skynet at the end of this movie but not enough. Skynet also takes the face of this woman. This woman seems to be a nun but this is only a front. The paper that he signs says Cyberdyne systems and her clean shaven head is a scheme to make her appear holy. But apparently his body is going to be used for something more sinister.

Marcus becomes a hybrid and is released or becomes active when a nuclear blast knocks his labratory lose. Or he becomes active when John Connor and his men wake him when finding his labratory. Apparently, Skynet was performing tests on humans. Skynet is successful with Marcus thanks to Cyberdyne Systems. Apparently, Cyberdyne continues it's research despite it's headquarters and top research labratory being blown up by Sarah Connor with the help of the Director-Miles Dyson. Cyberdyne is trying to find a human body to turn into a machine, a hybrid, something with a beating heart that has a computer chip and powerful metal frame. They are successful with the unique Marcus. Marcus does not know the year and does not seem to have aged after 14 years have passed. The movie begins in 2003, but most of it occurs in 2018. So he was just in passive captivity for about 15 years in some resting state. Not explained.

Moon Bloodgood plays an A-10 pilot named Blair Williams. She falls for Marcus and allows him to escape capture from Connor's command. This is an action packed scene, pretty much both ways. The command is hidden and protected by magnetic mines and gun towers. Funny or scary, Skynet has terminator fish in the nearby river. I am not sure if Skynet is trying to pick away humans from Connor's command or if every river on the west coast is stocked with terminator fish.

Michael Ironside from Top Gun is back and plays the stubborn General Ashdown. He and Connor are both tricked by Skynet in thinking this hidden frequency can shut down Skynet and the machines it controls. Or just the machines. In fact, it is just a tracing message which will lead Skynet right to their location. Ashdown and his commanders are in a submarine off the coast of California and they remain hidden. Their location is on a need to know basis only for obvious reasons. Ashdown and his top officers are killed by a HK when they turn on that frequency. Connor's humanity saves many tech com resistant fighers though. Ashdown is OK with bombing Skynet's North American headquarters based in San Fransisco. Connor informs everyone listening to his call to stand down since there are many humans being held prisonor at this station.

Connor never realizes Skynet's trick but Marcus does. Connor infiltrates Skynet to find Anton Yelchin who plays Kyle Reese. Connor does not want tech com to bomb Skynet since Kyle would be killed and Kyle is his father. The problem I have with this is Anton is a good actor and proved this in Star Trek but he is small. He is not nearly as big as Michael Biehn is who plays Kyle in the original Terminator. Whatever. Kyle Reese, the new version, is a capable leader though and has some methods to killed Terminators. He kills a T-600 with the help of a little friend by dropped a truck frame on him. Kyle also saves Marcus or helps him atleast. Ofcourse Marcus helps Kyle by fixing his radio.

The movie copies some road action from Mad Max. The writers copied an idea from Transformers in having a large machine spit off a smaller, more mobile machine or a machine more suitable for that mission. The movie had some decent music and did show that human compassion can still exist in this depravity. But man's evil also persists when some men are going to rape Blair but Marcus helps her out. It is hard to believe that some humans do not want to fight back when the T-600 is pretty slow and can be defeated. I understand they are demoralized.

Kyle, Marcus, and the small girl stop at a gas station and meet some bad ass humans being managed by an old woman. Out of no where, a massive robot appears and grabs the old woman. Where did this robot come from? Implausible. Then this human transport works in coordination with an HK, fills a blown out section of a bridge to capture Kyle, Marcus, and the little girl. This is a pretty good scene and the terminator motorcycles are excellent road clearers. Though this is copied from last years spectacular batman movie.

Marcus is able to redeem himself at the end of the movie. Not only does he save Connor's life he has a significan impact in helping destroy Skynet's North American command. In fact, he uses his computer access and ability to infiltrate to shut down Skynet's powerful defenses surrounding the compound. Ironically, Skynet created Marcus to be the ultimate infiltrator but this backfired on Skynet. Connor is critically maimed in a fight against a T-800 which is described in the next paragraph. The final scene has Marcus willing to offer his heart to save Connor's life. Marcus always wanted a second chance and he was able to earn it. This is what drove him. He wanted to make things right. Perhaps the resistance can use Marcus's frame to create a machine to fight on their behalf.

This movie, like others, proposes the powerful idea on when human free will begins and ends. If Marcus commits terrible acts after Cyberdyne transformed his body into a machine, are these considered sins? This is a discussion theological professors and church hierarchy to have.

Arnold Schwarzenegger is shown at the end but it is not really him. It is was obvious CGI special effects. So this was disappointing. OK, I know Arnold is older but why make him 20% larger than he really is. He is like a hulking monster. Ridiculous. Then Connor uses his ingenuity and spills molten steel on Arnold/T-800, by shooting a hole with a shotgun in the molten steel container. This molten steel pores out on top of the T-800. This should have been an end to the fight. Ofcourse the fight should have ended right in the beginning if the T-800 picked up Connor and snapped his neck. The movie already had many flaws up and to this point, but this scene is just icing on the poorly tasting cake.

The T-800 is a powerful machine, much more than a human being. But it is susceptible to shot gun rounds and certainly a grenade launcher at point blank range. The T-800 most likely could not be killed by shot gun rounds, perhaps 100 of them, but it would repel its advance. How do I know this? I have seen Terminator 1 and watch the show. This final scene is over the top and outlandish. In fact, a homemade bomb like grenade is what blew up the T-800 in the first movie. It did not kill it, but it cut it in half. The T-800 here, just takes the grenade round like I would a poke with a finger. I do not think so.

This fight occurs near the assembly line on where Skynet is developing the new T-800's. The T-800 is the new version of Skynet's T-600 to roam the earth killing humans. An upgrade from the current T-600 which is slower and more noticeable. This molten steel does not have any affect on the metal frame of the T-800. It recovers with full capability. I do not think so. That is not conceivable.

If this movie was not hyped up and part of this awesome franchise, it would be impressive. But it did not fulfill its mission. It fell through. Wolverine is better and so is Star Trek. The new version of Batman, James Bond, and Star Trek all work. They all came through. What happened here? Well, it could not be four out four. Terminator II was blatantly and substantially better than this movie. I guess we have to wait for Transformer II. There will be another terminator. It appears it will occur in another part of the world. This movie takes place in CA. The only hint that the rest of the world exists is that one of Ashdown's commanders is Russian. Another massive disappointment. I hate it when movies of this caliber only exist in a certain section of the world. What is happening in the rest of the world? How are native Americans coping? How about Nigerians? How about Iraqis? To many questions left opened. They did mention Bakersfield and Reno though as having a tech com presence. Outstanding.

OK, this movie finally showed Skynet. After all this talk. Wow. But iRobot and Eagle Eye, and perhaps some other films, already has beat the Terminator artificial writers to the punch. Sad but true. Skynet has been revealed in other movies. And iRobot is more credible since it occurs in 2035. Skynet and human technology of HTs are still decades off. Americans made Skynet but never typed in an ethics code and apparently have not given the ability to launch nuclear weapons a biological security step. This would prevent Skynet from ever having the ability to create this massive holocaust. OK, but this occured and fans of the storyline accept this. But iRobot occuring little further in the future adds credibility to its plot. iRobot would have been better as well if it showed some scenes on what was occuring in Tokyo, Prague, and Mexico City for instance.

When Skynet is finally defeated, perhaps with iRobots solution with nanobytes, T-800s should be reprogrammed to do all of the labor and heavy work and give humanity a break for decades to repopulate the land and the USA. This would be a strategic and calculated idea. After this war, humanity may need to take a forty year brea-atleast from physical labor.

I allocate this movie three stars.***

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