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The Curator of Schlock #298 by Jeff Shuster

Terminator Salvation

Okay. I’m bored!

So maybe I was a bit off on my Terminator: Dark Fate box office success predictions. No, it didn’t do as well as the opening weekend for Joker. No, it didn’t do as well as the opening weekend box office for Terminator Genisys. The media is calling Terminator: Dark Fate the franchise killer. And I’m out ten large to a man they call Tiny and believe me, he is not tiny. He is like the exact opposite of tiny. What’s the going rate for a spleen these days?

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Tonight’s movie is 2009’s Terminator Salvation from director McG, and it’s there.

Did I hate it? No.

Did I like it? No.

Did I want to like it? Yes.

Maybe post-apocalyptic scenarios don’t hold the same allure for me that they once did.

Maybe it’s one too many seasons of The Walking Dead. I came for zombie carnage on that show. What I got was hipster communes and artisanal breads.

The same kind of goes for Terminator Salvation. The movie takes place during The War of the Machines. I should be excited for the Robot Apocalypse, but something’s missing. This movie was originally planned as an R-rated feature, but the brass at the studio must have insisted it be toned down to PG-13. Did they want it to be more kid friendly? It’s a Terminator movie! And don’t even get me started on the disaster that was RoboCop 3. Word to the wise, movie studios: pre-teen boys in the 80s found ways to watch these R-rated action extravaganzas. Stop toning things down!

Terminator Salvation - 2009

Christian Bale plays John Conner and Bryce Dallas Howard plays his wife, Kate. If the switch in casting annoys you, don’t worry. Kate is hardly in the movie, and John Connor takes a backseat to a new character, a man by the name of Marcus Wright. Sam Worthington plays him. I guess Armie Hammer wasn’t available.

Marcus Wright was a death row prisoner who donated his body to Cyberdyne Systems. He is executed, but wakes up to find himself in the midst of The War of the Machines with no memory of how he got there. He meets up a young Resistance fighter named Kyle Reese (Anton Yelchin).

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As we know, Kyle Reese, will become the father of John Conner after John sends him to the past to protect his mother from the Terminator. Skynet has marked Kyle Reese for death because it knows he is the father of John Conner. Maybe Skynet should send a Terminator back in time to murder Kyle Reese’s parents preventing him from being born, but this is all getting a bit stupid. John Conner is trying to locate Kyle Reese to protect him so he doesn’t cease to exist, but Skynet’s Terminators capture Kyle Reese and stick him in an internment camp with other human survivors.

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Did I mention that Marcus is a cyborg himself? I think he has a metal skeleton, but has a human heart and a human brain. Whose side is he really on? This was supposed to be part one of a new Terminator trilogy, but plans for future sequels were scrapped. You could argue that the Terminator franchise was doomed starting with this movie, but I will say this for Terminator Salvation: it’s a masterpiece compared to the movie I’ll be covering next week.


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Photo by Leslie Salas.

Jeff Shuster (episode 47episode 102episode 124episode 131, and episode 284) is an MFA graduate from the University of Central Florida.