User Score
6.1

Generally favorable reviews- based on 531 Ratings

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  1. Jul 1, 2011
    2
    This was a dissappointment and the worst, by a long shot, of the series. Terrible, poorly written screenplay. Cheesy characters, and one of silliest endings I've seen. This one is loser in what had been one of my favorite sci-fi movies series. I hope the people involved in this never make another movie.
  2. May 15, 2011
    3
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Don't be back! This movie had a cool effects bit, but the main character is a terminator himself! You'd figure he'd be under skynet control! And you'd think that the not being hungry or not felling anything would give something away! Expand
  3. Jun 7, 2012
    4
    Terminator Salvation promised to finally let us loose in the nightmarish dystopian future we've only seen glimpses of so far in the series. Yes, the entire film is set after the machines have risen up and destroyed the vast majority of human civilisation, but does this make for a tense and exciting film? No, not really. In all the other installments (including the underwhelming TerminatorTerminator Salvation promised to finally let us loose in the nightmarish dystopian future we've only seen glimpses of so far in the series. Yes, the entire film is set after the machines have risen up and destroyed the vast majority of human civilisation, but does this make for a tense and exciting film? No, not really. In all the other installments (including the underwhelming Terminator 3) you have the constant sense of jeopardy, that judgement day is coming, and that made for some brilliant tension. In Salvation, however, all that doom has already occurred, and all that remains is the gloom. The storytelling is pedestrian, McG's action direction is competent but uninspiring, the new models of terminator we see look like rejected designs from the Transformers art department and most of the actors look like they're in it for the money alone. Christian Bale shouts and Batman growls his way through the film playing an older John Connor, Bryce Dallas Howard is wooden as John's pregnant wife Kate, Moon Bloodgood's pilot is just the typical warrior woman with truly ridiculous tousled hair and Michael Ironside really stretches himself playing yet another stern military leader. At least Anton Yelchin is decent as a young Kyle Reese and Helena Bonham Carter is good as always when she's briefly on screen as a terminally ill Cyberdyne scientist whose actions instigate many of the film's key events. The real highlight of the film, though, is Sam Worthington - his character Marcus is an incredibly tortured soul, and a fascinating tribute to numerous icons of film and literature - everyone from Frankenstein's Monster to Jason Bourne is in there somewhere. He makes for an utterly compelling protagonist in the hands of Worthington who manages to make Marcus tough and gruff, but also incredibly sympathetic. It does annoy me that the original idea for the film had Marcus as the central character, until Christian Bale was cast as John Connor, prompting the script to be re-written to focus on him instead. The original film concept would have certainly resulted in a more satisfying final product, as though John Connor is undeniably at the centre of the Terminator saga, he's not a particularly interesting character in himself. Aside from showing Sam Worthington at his very best, and having quite an entertaining finale that has some crowd-pleasing callbacks to earlier Terminator installments, Salvation offers very little apart from grey visuals, moody pessimism and a predictable plot. You only have to re-watch James Cameron's masterful first two installments, and even the flawed third film in the series (which still offered the odd thrill and plentiful camp humour) to see how much the glowing cybernetic eye has dulled over the years. Perhaps it's because of the absence of Mr Schwarzenegger, perhaps it's because there's no time travel, or that all the interesting stuff has already happened by the time film begins, or maybe it's because Christian Bale threw a tantrum and McG has very limited talent. Whatever the reason, Terminator Salvation is a rather dull film, which is almost worse than being a bad one. Is this the death of the Terminator franchise? I almost hope so. Expand
  4. Dec 27, 2011
    1
    "Terminator: Salvation" One Line Review! "D"

    This has to be one of the worst movies I've ever seen. Despite having a decent cast and ok acting, the plot was horrible, the dialogue was atrocious and for a movie chock full of machine guns and robots, it was boring as heck. D.
  5. Aug 2, 2011
    3
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. A Schwarzenegger-less disappointment. Terminate it, because really, it makes most sense that RISE OF THE MACHINES would be the final movie (making it a trilogy)--especially with the ending it has. Expand
  6. Sep 28, 2011
    4
    I thought it was... okay. Felt like an average summer blockbuster, which is exactly what all the reviews prepared me for. McG is definitely no James Cameron, as if we needed further evidence.

    The second half is quite a bit of an improvement over the first half, which felt very limp. A lot of that's the fault of the editing, which is pretty choppy and not... good. I mean, maybe this is
    I thought it was... okay. Felt like an average summer blockbuster, which is exactly what all the reviews prepared me for. McG is definitely no James Cameron, as if we needed further evidence.

    The second half is quite a bit of an improvement over the first half, which felt very limp. A lot of that's the fault of the editing, which is pretty choppy and not... good. I mean, maybe this is nostalgia talking, but you look at Cameron's Terminator, Aliens, T2... (not gonna talk about Titanic cause I don't remember it much) and his storytelling is very natural, it all just flows from one scene to another. The edits are smooth and logically guide you through the plot.

    The editing in this film felt like the studio was mandating something close to 2 hours or something. Lots of scenes that just end and you're immediately jerked into another.

    And I just remembered that there's this great line Kate Connor gives in some of the trailers, something close to "If you saved us all in another future, you can save us in this one." I always really loved that line, it felt poetic and dramatic and was delivered well. But uh... I don't think it's in the film at all. Must've gotten cut, along with a lot of other things. She didn't say much of anything, I don't think. And she was pregnant, but they don't mention that at all.

    And oh yea, it definitely feels like a PG-13 film. One scene in particular has this guy trying to crawl out of a giant pen, where a T-600 immediately guns him down with a giant arm-mounted gatling gun. Except we don't see him get shot at all, it's a complete cutaway. We see a shot of the T-600 tracking him, hear some gunshots, and see him slumping and falling. It's just pathetic.

    The T-600s in this film must've gone to the stormtrooper school of shooting, because it's almost comical how lousy they are. Instead of squads of stormtroopers missing with sporadic firing though, you've just got one T-600 walking menacingly while firing his huge gatling, completely spraying everything but the side of the barn, it seems. It's a nitpick I suppose, but you'd think SkyNET would arm them all with smaller guns if their gatlings meant their aiming accuracy effectively went to nil.

    Oh, and Danny Elfman apparently just took the gig for a paycheck. Because his score is terrible. At some random points, you'll hear the classic Terminator score, but it's much too little. Elfman's own work is completely forgettable. I was hoping they were going to just play the classic Terminator score for the credits, but no dice.

    Acting's pretty much just competent. The standout's probably young Kyle Reese, who also played Chekov in Star Trek. While his Chekov wasn't to my liking, here he's channeling some serious Michael Biehn, and it was very impressive.

    Okay, let's talk visuals... the CGI in two scenes were pretty awful. First one's Marcus falling from the Transport and skipping across the river. Lots of laughter from my audience, because the CGI of his body skipping was just so fake looking and ridiculous. And of course, the second one's my Governator and yours, Arnold. Uh... it was kinda maybe sorta convincing, if you squinted your eyes a lot? Maybe if you'd been crying and your vision was all blurry from the tears? I dunno... I suppose it's the best we can do with state of the art CGI these days. But it still looked very unconvincing. And of course, you've gotta wonder why SkyNET just stuck the T-800 in that cell without a gun to shoot Connor. That would've saved a lot of chasing and punching and clawing, right? Meh... the script may have been looked at by Jonah Nolan at some point in time, but it doesn't seem like a Nolan script. Not by a long shot.

    So yea, right now... it's way below the brilliance of T1 and T2. Not sure about T3, it's been a while since I've watched it. Better then or equal to, I suppose? Somewhere in there.
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  7. Dec 13, 2011
    0
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. This movie was not good. At all. Open heart surgery in the desert? Who? Who does that? Killing off the ONLY human (he wasn't actually human) character in the movie? Why? He was the only one with redeeming qualities. YOU DON'T GIVE ARNOLD A GUN to kill your primary targetg!? Instead you ask him to throw the herald of your demise around as softly as possible so that he doesn't die from internal bleeding, a severe concussion, etc etc.

    Terminator:Salvation was a reminder that the future cannot be changed, John Connor cannot die until his time, and everything else in between doesn't matter. That is how this movie was treated. The Skynet A.I. lays such a bad plan to capture or eliminate John Conner, that I almost passed out from anguish. John Connor, time and time again, uses his "protected child" mentality to wade into the line of fire and get everyone but himself killed. He will stop at nothing, including alerting Skynet to the location of his base of operations. He wants Sam Worthington dead the half Terminator (...). No amount of precious resources or valuable logic will get in HIS way. Once thought of as a brilliant strategist, Chistian Bale's portrayal of John Conner leaves him as nothing more than a screaming child trying to get their parents attention.
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  8. Mar 30, 2012
    2
    This movie needs to be terminated. Without Arnold this series has no point in watching. A truly ugly film with a setting that doesn't even look like earth. The whole movie was just a bunch of dreadful noisy crap with terrible acting all around.
  9. Feb 5, 2013
    4
    Good looking and boosted by kinetic action, but the script is life-threatening stupid. Any machine with such a muddled, non-functional master-plan has to fail against even a completely unorganised human race. Characters are underdeveloped and the dialogue is barely okay. Christian Bale roars more than he speaks, which becomes quite annoying after some time. But as you expect it fromGood looking and boosted by kinetic action, but the script is life-threatening stupid. Any machine with such a muddled, non-functional master-plan has to fail against even a completely unorganised human race. Characters are underdeveloped and the dialogue is barely okay. Christian Bale roars more than he speaks, which becomes quite annoying after some time. But as you expect it from director McG, the untalented cousin of Michael Bay, this is flashy, stupid fun. Expand
  10. Nov 12, 2012
    4
    Apparently, Christian Bale hasn't been told he's one of the great actors of his time. I'm sure if he had been, he wouldn't be wasting his time and energy with this incoherent swill.
  11. Jun 7, 2013
    2
    A very disappointing mess of a film. I am a big Christian Bale fan but not even he can save this loud, pointless, and just dumb film. The visuals aren't bad, but everything else is.
  12. Feb 8, 2014
    4
    A quite unfortunate attempt to be a revamp of the gone franchise. Without Arnold returning they relied on a CG cameo of his muscled form as well a convoluted amount of characters and effects. Sam Worthington was the only selling point of this film.
  13. Dec 12, 2013
    3
    A CG Arnie goes to show how this film lacks the heart of the originals, and covers it up with special effects. The problem is it gives the unique atmosphere that worked in the earlier ones a blockbuster twist, losing it completely.
  14. Jun 3, 2014
    4
    A huge disappointment for Terminator fans like me. The story was week and the acting was poor (with the exception of Christian Bale). However, the action was exhilarating and the special effects were stunning but that isn't enough to balance with the movies poor story. Terminator Salvation was OK at best. It felt like a generic action movie.
  15. Jan 7, 2014
    3
    I am wondering why actors like Bale and Worthington confirm to such a film with bad screenplay that is apparently not at all action packed but instead laughable. Without Arnold Schwarzenegger the obvious ridiculousness is missing which is not a matter to replace that with usually good actors who make a complete fool of themselves in "Terminator Salvation". Part four was an opportunity toI am wondering why actors like Bale and Worthington confirm to such a film with bad screenplay that is apparently not at all action packed but instead laughable. Without Arnold Schwarzenegger the obvious ridiculousness is missing which is not a matter to replace that with usually good actors who make a complete fool of themselves in "Terminator Salvation". Part four was an opportunity to get rid of the trifle that Schwarzenegger caused in previous parts. But no, that would have been too shrewd. Instead of that a Schwarzenegger copy appears and fights with Connor...
    I ween that Bale alias Connor didn't mean it literally as he quotes Schwarzenegger pretty much at the end of the movie: "I'll be back." So hopefully "Genesis" will not come out as soon as I fear. Although with Schwarzenegger back again it will certainly be a laughable matter again. Who knows, at least that is my point of view.
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  16. Feb 23, 2014
    0
    McG just killed the Terminator franchise, **** him, nothing that made the first great is here, the action is just like Transformers, **** is all over your face, there is no Arnold, or even a menacing villain like the T-1000 from T2, no just get an endless **** storm of lame CGI “terminators", the script couldn't be more cliched, the characters are bland, Christian Bale doesn't have any ofMcG just killed the Terminator franchise, **** him, nothing that made the first great is here, the action is just like Transformers, **** is all over your face, there is no Arnold, or even a menacing villain like the T-1000 from T2, no just get an endless **** storm of lame CGI “terminators", the script couldn't be more cliched, the characters are bland, Christian Bale doesn't have any of the charm that John Connor had in T2 instead he just becomes a clichéd character, who has no chemistry with anybody, the same goes for Sam Worthington, the whole movie just felt pointless, and a shameless attempt to cash in the Terminator franchise without putting any effort, which at least Terminator 3 had some effort this piece of **** however didn't. Expand
  17. Jan 24, 2014
    4
    This series has finally managed to terminate itself. Why the casting directors chose Christian Bale, I will never understand. He's basically Bruce Wayne in a post-apocalyptic world, somewhere he doesn't belong. The plot is too long and drawn out, with way too many explosions and not enough Arnold. The only redeeming quality about this film is the performance from Sam Worthington, which isThis series has finally managed to terminate itself. Why the casting directors chose Christian Bale, I will never understand. He's basically Bruce Wayne in a post-apocalyptic world, somewhere he doesn't belong. The plot is too long and drawn out, with way too many explosions and not enough Arnold. The only redeeming quality about this film is the performance from Sam Worthington, which is the only thing about this flick "worth" watching. He is the reason why this movie recieves a 4, because everything else is a rotten sandwich in a dirty toilet. Expand
  18. Apr 10, 2014
    3
    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 theySo 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... Expand
  19. Apr 29, 2014
    4
    could have been so much better, this film is watchable but nothing more, plot is weak and not enough violence that you would expect for a terminator film. and WTF were they thinking? NO ARNIE!!!!!!
Metascore
52

Mixed or average reviews - based on 35 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 35
  2. Negative: 3 out of 35
  1. With McG's migraine-inducing jerky-cam and monochromatic palette (livened only by splotches of rust), Terminator Salvation puts the numb in numskull.
  2. In Arnold's absence, an important ingredient of the "Terminator" iconography -- namely, the fun factor -- is in short supply.
  3. Reviewed by: John Anderson
    70
    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.