Terminator Salvation (2009), directed by McG, stars Christian Bale as John Connor, Sam Worthington as Marcus Wright, Moon Bloodgood as Blair Williams, Anton Yelchin as Kyle Reese, and Helena Bonham Carter as Dr. Serena Kogan.
Let me just start by saying that the first Terminator movie was a pretty big piece of the puzzle for me as a younger animal. It was one of the first times I started thinking about the structure of movies and not just their ability to entertain me. I honestly don't know how many times I've seen it, but it's lots. So I have no intention of pretending that I am in any way impartial in my opinions.
It was always about two things for me: the apocalyptic future (I like a good dystopia) and the relationship between man and machine. The first movie might still have been better if they had cast Lance Henriksen as the Terminator, which was being considered at the time. He would have played it like a praying mantis, which would have been wicked awesome, but we have Arnold, and that's another take on it.
T2 had lots of things going for it, particularly Linda Hamilton's portrayal of a woman with a badly fractured psyche and a young Edward Furlong caught in what may very well just be his mother's psychosis. I had a hard time forgiving the last two or three minutes — the thumbs up thing just made me cringe.
We will not speak of T3. The less said about that embarrassment, the better.
All the previous movies have given us the events in sequence, but there has always been a liquid quality to the passage of time in this narrative and there has been lots of discussion about that. So this feels like a prequel as well as a sequel, which is actually kind of cool if you think about it. Here we get into the narrative before John Connor sends Kyle Reese back in time. Kyle is in his teens and in danger and if he doesn't make it then the future is reset again and you really can break your brain thinking about stuff like that.
Bale plays John Connor as a soldier and a good one at that. He still has people to answer to and the chain of command goes all the way up to General Ashdown (Michael Ironside). He is spare and intense and not pleasant, but that is what can be expected.