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Terminator: Salvation - Rod's take

01/12/2009. Contributed by Rod MacDonald

Buy Terminator: Salvation in the USA - or Buy Terminator: Salvation in the UK

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Region 2 DVD: pub: Sony Pictures CDR 61426. 1 DVD 110 minute film with no extras. Price: 19.99 (UK). Stars: Christian Bale, Sam Washington, Anton Yelchin and Moon Bloodgood.

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'Termination: Salvation' is a desolate movie seemingly without any hope of salvation where bands d110of ragged human survivors cling to existence on a ruined world ruled by machines with one main directive, the extermination of all mankind. Despite this, the spark of humanity still glows and fights back for its right to live.

Although there may be a few robots lurking around out there in the audience, most watchers will be on the side of the humans and will want them to win every encounter. This invokes a bit of a quandary because one of the heroes, Marcus Wright (played by Sam Worthington), appears to be not quite human. The question arises, is he a man or is he a machine and whose side is he on anyway?

This is an action movie full of computerised special effects. It is loud, it is violent but not to the extreme and it is exciting. There's also a story, believe it or not, which leaves you in a human identity dilemma. Lots of movies and stories adopt the same path where initially everything is black and white with the good guys and bad guys clearly segregated. However, the two sides merge leaving you to wonder what it's all about.

This is essentially 'Terminator 4'. A little knowledge of the three previous movies, especially the third, helps in understanding the plot. John Connor (Christian Bale), is the resistance hero destined to save humanity but the strange fact remains that his father or the young man who will one day be his father, is living a precarious existence in post-apocalyptic Earth, a planet devastated by Judgement Day, the day the machines and Skynet turned on the humans and attempted to destroy them all.

Kyle Reese is the young lad who will be John Connor's father. Skynet is knowledgeable of this fact and is out to destroy him. Meanwhile, Marcus finds himself naked and alone in 2018. The last thing he knew some 15 years before was being on death row awaiting execution. However, prior to this he had agreed to be experimented on by the Cyberdyne scientist Dr. Kogan (Helena Bonham Carter). Marcus meets up with Kyle Reese and a small band of followers and attempt to contact the resistance.

John Connor within the resistance headquarters, a nuclear submarine, makes plans for an offensive against Skynet. General Ashdown (Michael Ironside) relates a discovery that radio frequencies can immobilise the machines to make them ineffective. They plan to knock out Skynet in response to a deciphered message which indicated that all the resistance leaders would be liquidated.

Kyle Reese is taken prisoner by Skynet and when Marcus meets up with John Connor, the discovery is made that Marcus is part machine. Whose side is he on? This will be determined when the two men make an assault on the Skynet headquarters in an attempt to free the prisoners. Is Marcus merely a machine controlled by Skynet or does he have a mind of his own?

Saying much more would spoil the plot but you can be assured of plenty of action. It must be said that the traditional Terminator relentless march of destruction, seeking its victim at all costs, appears again in the movie. Whether or not this is a good thing I don't know but it seems to be a mandatory (or robotdatory) part of 'Terminator' movies.

While the movie is great and can certainly be recommended, what about the DVD itself? The disc being reviewed was exactly as the product being sold at the moment. It wasn't a special review copy which sometimes doesn't have any extra material. Unfortunately, the DVD does not have much else apart from the movie. Yes, sub-titles in several languages and audio description as well but apart from a couple of trailers, there was no extra material such as commentary or clips of how the movie was made. This was slightly disappointing and I'm sure there should have been plenty of other material available for inclusion if so desired.

There's no doubt that this DVD is aimed at the Christmas market. Millions of copies will be on sale as you read this review. Supermarkets, department stores and on-line merchandisers will be displaying copies of 'Terminator: Salvation' all ready for the Christmas rush. It will be marketed as filling for Christmas stockings. Despite all this mumbo-jumbo about Yuletide, it's actually quite a good movie and one that can be enjoyed as a part of the 'Terminator' series. There will be more in the future. No doubt Christian Bale will be back. As for Arnold Schwarzenegger, well he's up to other things at the moment but you can never tell what will happen in the future!

Rod MacDonald

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