Let me begin by saying that Terminator Salvation is not as bad as you may have been led to believe, nor is it nearly as good as it could have been. The film sports some of the best big screen action of the year but suffers from a screenplay that fails to take off and seems to have had large chunks removed from it to keep the action moving. Taken as just an action film, it plays quite well; however, should you look at it as a Terminator sequel, things begin to get a little dicey. Still, I would be lying if I said I was not entertained.
Terminator Salvation takes us to that future time that fans of the series have been waiting for ever since Arnold first asked that fateful question: "Are you Sarah Connor?" This is the war waged between Skynet and the human resistance in the time immediately following Judgment Day. However, before we get there, there is a very important cog that needs to be put in place from the past, so we begin in the past — 2003 to be exact.
We meet a convicted murderer just before he is to be put to death. His name is Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington) and he is not a nice man. Prior to execution, he is convinced to donate his body to science by Dr. Serena Kogan (Helena Bonham Carter). Jump forward 15 years and the story picks up with John Connor (Christian Bale) heading a team into Terminator territory in search of crucial information needed for their war.
Of course, this mission goes bad and the movie is underway. Skynet sends its Terminators out to, well, terminate. John listens to the tapes his mother made incessantly, searching for clues as to how to defeat Skynet, and Marcus climbs out of the bombed out hole resulting from that initial disastrous meeting.
What follows is a two-pronged story. One side has John, knowing bits and pieces of what is to come, attempting to locate Kyle Reese, who we know to be John's father from the original Terminator. The other has Marcus trying to figure out what happened, who he is, where he is, and how he fits into this world that has left him behind. All of this is going on while Skynet continues its path of destruction of the human race as the artificial intelligence seeks out John Connor.