To preface this article, I must mention the conditions I saw the movie in first, which may have affected my experience. I don’t know if it was just the 12:03 am screening late Wednesday at the Edwards Irvine Spectrum 21, but damn, the audio played distractingly and painfully loud. I was not the only person covering my ears during many of the action sequences. Earplugs are likely going to be an accessory for future screenings.
A prologue set in 2003 introduces death row prisoner Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington) as he grants his body be used for research. A brief rundown of the current situation in 2018 during the opening credits tells of Skynet having humanity on the brink of extinction, but a resistance is fighting back. One of its leaders is a familiar character to those following the Terminator franchise, grown-up John Connor (Christian Bale) who resides in war-ravaged Southern California.
After a botched operation that John alone escapes from, Marcus awakes and tries to make his way in the world. In Los Angeles, he stumbles across a young Kyle Reese (Anton Yelchin), who in 2029 John will send to the past to save his mother from a Terminator-800 as chronicled in The Terminator. Kyle wants to find members of the resistance and join them while Marcus is determined to head to San Francisco. After an attack by a multitude of Terminators of different shapes and size, their plans gets crisscrossed and Kyle is taken prisoner with a bunch of humans to the Skynet facility in Frisco, while Marcus ends up meeting the resistance.
Marcus informs John about Kyle’s predicament. John doesn’t trust Marcus, but if Marcus were telling the truth, the ramifications would literally be life-altering for John and everyone still alive. What complicates the matter even further is a plan by the resistance leaders to bomb the Frisco facility, regardless of the human life it will cost.
With Salvation director McG delivers an over-the-top, frenetic, action-packed movie. Most of the effects looked great, particularly stunning were the humanoid terminator models. John wrestling with a damaged terminator in the opening sequence and another one during the climatic scene will likely lead to the late Stan Winston honored at the Academy Awards next year.