Mixed or average reviews - based on 35 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 35
  2. Negative: 3 out of 35
  1. A fast-moving, rock 'em-sock 'em movie that continues the man-vs.-machines series begun 25 years ago.
  2. Reviewed by: Devin Faraci
    McG has sparked a moribund franchise back to life, giving fans the post-apocalyptic action they’ve been craving since they first saw a metal foot crush a human skull two decades ago.
  3. 75
    With its idea of an insurgency striking against an implacable evil empire, there's more than a little "Star Wars" in Terminator: Savlation, although not even at its "Empire Strikes Back" bleakest was Lucas' series this dark.
  4. Reviewed by: Patrick Parker
    Despite some laughably silly plot elements, McG has created an overall entertaining movie experience. It's a great kick-off to the summer explosion season.
  5. A couple of scenes directly reference the Iraq war and the Holocaust (where the humans are herded into cattle cars), and this is taking things much too seriously. This is a big blow-'em-up franchise movie. It should not under any circumstances be confused with a Statement.
  6. Reviewed by: Bob Mondello
    It all contributes to making the story breathless and nerve-jangling.
  7. 70
    It parades neither the egghead aspirations of "Star Trek" nor the thick-skulled pretensions of "X-Men Origins: Wolverine," but instead feels both comfortable with its limitations and justly proud of its accomplishments.
  8. Reviewed by: John Anderson
    Darker, grimmer and more stylistically single-minded than its two relatively giddy predecessors, Terminator Salvation boasts the kind of singular vision that distinguished the James Cameron original, the full-throttle kinetics of "Speed" and an old-fashioned regard for human (and humanoid) heroics.
  9. Reviewed by: John Anderson
    The result is a movie that takes itself far more seriously than the "Hasta la vista, baby" tone of previous installments.
  10. It's basically a zombie movie with machines instead of the walking dead.
  11. 67
    Grim, post-apocalyptic, special-effects extravaganza.
  12. 67
    The way-too-familiar climax feels less like a comment on destiny than like watching a finely crafted but soulless product roll off an assembly line.
  13. 63
    Bale even cedes the juiciest part to Aussie newcomer Sam Worthington, who is star material as a machine with a conscience. T4 is a mixed bag, but it's not f***ing amateur.
  14. 63
    Yet what makes this movie is the digital effects. It's got all the heart of a demolition derby.
  15. A dark-and-stormy sci-fi shoot-'em-up directed by McG, T4 has enough hardware and havoc to satisfy the crowd of action junkies and gamers who sped to "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" on opening weekend. (Terminator Salvation is a couple of liquid metal drops' more satisfying, but only a couple.)
  16. Reviewed by: Betsy Sharkey
    If you're a "Terminator" fan, though, "Salvation" is mostly worth it. The machines are mindless, yes, but there are enough pyrotechnics and heavy artillery to feel like Armageddon squared. And when the story starts to crumble around Bale, Worthington is there to pick up the pieces.
  17. It's a deafening, sometimes boring, occasionally startling and ultimately impressive war movie with a concern for what it is that makes us human.
  18. In Arnold's absence, an important ingredient of the "Terminator" iconography -- namely, the fun factor -- is in short supply.
  19. 50
    Most of the running time is occupied by action sequences, chase sequences, motorcycle sequences, plow-truck sequences, helicopter sequences, fighter-plane sequences, towering android sequences and fistfights. It gives you all the pleasure of a video game without the bother of having to play it.
  20. 50
    The most timid in the series. There's no invention in it, no sense of discovery. Only the impressively orchestrated action sequences feel fresh.
  21. Reviewed by: Jason Buchanan
    With the exception of one breathtaking sequence in a helicopter, the action in Terminator Salvation is astonishingly dull.
  22. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    The predictable story feels as if it were written by a computer program labeled "sequel."
  23. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    The latest installment in the venerable sci-fi action franchise turns out to be a straight-up war film, grim and muscular and thundering and joyless. It's the color of cement, and it weighs as much, too.
  24. Though competent in its B-movie way, Terminator Salvation lacks the humour, heart-tugging moments and visual pleasure that made the first two movies of the series modern pop masterpieces.
  25. 50
    This fourth "Terminator" film is the ultimate heavy-metal parody. Better make that travesty, because there are next to no moments of comedy.
  26. Reviewed by: Staff (Not credited)
    Granted, it's great action. Terrific special effects. Pulse-pounding pacing. But it's a case of diminishing returns. Salvation so keeps its characters at arm's length that after a while it really doesn't matter what happens to them.
  27. Reviewed by: Scott Mendelson
    It is occasionally a first-rate action spectacle, but it is only the spectacle that merits recommendation.
  28. Reviewed by: Nick Pinkerton
    Among the many things junked in McG's chop-shop is the notion of pleasure.
  29. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    A good summer movie isn't just an uninterrupted crescendo of cacophony. You need stuff IN BETWEEN the fireballs and the cyborgs.
  30. 50
    The movie's only unmitigated pleasure is a too-brief fight scene between Connor and a naked combatant made up to look precisely like Arnold Schwarzenegger.
  31. With McG's migraine-inducing jerky-cam and monochromatic palette (livened only by splotches of rust), Terminator Salvation puts the numb in numskull.
  32. 40
    A confused, humorless grind.
  33. 30
    Terrifically dull, full of ear-searing sound design and much yakkity-yakking about the fate of humanity but entirely lacking any sort of soul or sense of good old summer matinee fun.
  34. 30
    Terminator Salvation has no brains and no soul; it's just a mass of stiff, creaking metal joints. Clearly, the machines have won.
  35. When Christian Bale allowed himself to play Bruce Wayne in "Batman Begins," he was slumming - and to good effect. But with Terminator Salvation, this ostensibly serious actor takes up residence in the action ghetto, and it's not a good fit.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 504 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 69 out of 249
  1. Sep 18, 2011
    MacG's "Terminator: Salvation" doesn't offer anything new; just story and action revolving around wars and battles, In the end, the movie is just a CGI bridge in the Terminator series. Full Review »
  2. Apr 10, 2014
    So here we have yet another cynical attempt by Hollywood to make money on old property. T1 and T2 are classics. They raised my standards of what an acceptable action movie is. T2 wrapped up the story so well that T3 should have never existed, but it unfortunately does. After so many years since the unnecessary T3, I was really surprised that this came into fruition. Surely I thought they would have a really solid justification for bringing this back. They didn't. I'm not even going to criticize the movie for being directed by a total hack, or the lack of involvement from Schwarzenegger -- I'm just going to dissect it for what it is, and it still sucks pretty bad on its own. T1 and T2 had this pseudoscience that was fictional, but consistent: in other words it made up it's own rules per say and stuck to them. The fact that judgement day was prevented in T2 means that the post-apocalyptic setting of this movie is a flaw in itself. It just doesn't make sense. The only way this could have some coherence is if it was stated it takes place in some type of hypothetical scenario or another dimension or something of that nature, but this movie is adamant that it is a direct sequel. Due to this, comparisons to the original 2 (or even T3, which is a bad movie, but better than this) are bound to arise. And this is what dooms the movie among various other things. One of those things is the awful casting. Every character (with the exception of Yelchin, who was just OK) seemed out of place, like they belong in a soap opera. My biggest rant in this context is Christian Bale. It's apparent that they needed to snag at least one hugely popular actor for marquee value, but oh god is his performance terrible. His gravelly Batman voice/mannerisms do not translate well to this one. He just comes off like a complete douche bag: in every scene he has this exaggerated sternness, which is obviously meant to convey that this is a very intense and serious movie, but it has an adverse, almost comical effect, not to mention that this one's rated PG-13 anyways. That might seem small, but the fact that they included a PG-13 installment in an R-rated franchise makes me (correctly) assume that the studio ultimately just aimed to make money with this movie, and nothing more. Catching this notion seriously cheapens the "experience." Throughout the movie I was seriously irritated with the sloppy editing and bad dialogue. The whole thing just stank of this made for TV quality that's hard to explain, but also really cheapens the experience. This movie just simply lacks any charm or personality: it's an overproduced mess and should never have been, but studio greed has cemented yet another bad Terminator movie in the series. If you're even slightly interested in this series, watch the first 2 and forget this and 3 even exists... Full Review »
  3. Mar 8, 2014
    It does not have enough character development, but it offers us plenty of exciting action. The first half was dull at times and disappointing, but the second was an improvement. What it needs is more emotional scenes between characters. Full Review »