Mixed or average reviews - based on 35 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 35
  2. Negative: 3 out of 35
Watch On
  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: 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Reviewed by: Bob Mondello
    It all contributes to making the story breathless and nerve-jangling.
  10. 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.
  11. It's basically a zombie movie with machines instead of the walking dead.
  12. 67
    Grim, post-apocalyptic, special-effects extravaganza.
  13. 63
    Yet what makes this movie is the digital effects. It's got all the heart of a demolition derby.
  14. 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.)
  15. 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.
  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
    The most timid in the series. There's no invention in it, no sense of discovery. Only the impressively orchestrated action sequences feel fresh.
  20. Reviewed by: Nick Pinkerton
    Among the many things junked in McG's chop-shop is the notion of pleasure.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. 50
    This fourth "Terminator" film is the ultimate heavy-metal parody. Better make that travesty, because there are next to no moments of comedy.
  24. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    The predictable story feels as if it were written by a computer program labeled "sequel."
  25. Reviewed by: Jason Buchanan
    With the exception of one breathtaking sequence in a helicopter, the action in Terminator Salvation is astonishingly dull.
  26. 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.
  27. 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.
  28. 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.
  29. 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.
  30. Reviewed by: Scott Mendelson
    It is occasionally a first-rate action spectacle, but it is only the spectacle that merits recommendation.
  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

Mixed or average reviews- based on 566 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 73 out of 262
  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 isMacG'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. SeanF
    Jan 8, 2010
    Bear with me as I may find it difficult to actually express how appalled by this film I was into words - although I guess that already gives Bear with me as I may find it difficult to actually express how appalled by this film I was into words - although I guess that already gives you a good idea of my opinion of this film. I'll try to keep this short and list just a few of the reasons for loathing this film. First, this film is part of a trend of films that Hollywood is churning out with much more frequency, that have forgotten that the basic principle of any good film is not how much shit you can blow up but actually having a good story and characterisation. However, I Full Review »
  3. DomoR
    Jun 1, 2009
    Dreadful, noisy crap. The only thing, and I mean THE ONLY THING I found engaging in this film were the tiny little hairs around the lower lip Dreadful, noisy crap. The only thing, and I mean THE ONLY THING I found engaging in this film were the tiny little hairs around the lower lip of Sam Worthington. He was the best thing in the film and my eroitic fantasies of doing him 9000 ways to Pittsburg was the only thing that got me to stay. Really. During the first third of the film the continuity was so bad, I swear they were scenes shot for nine other films stitched together like a crazy quilt of celuloid. And that silent little Newt from Aliens clone shows up and I just wanted to yank the hairs on its head (gender-f much?) And then Arnold shows up and he has no genitals! What a disgrace! I mean really. What was the effing point? This had no balls, no dick and no story. I prayed for the machines to blow up the theater and let me tell you, they should have!!! Oh, and BTW, Bryce Dallas Howard should stick to her gig as a local newscaster. Full Review »