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listen, mr. backseat driver, if you don't like me driving through explosions, you can get out whenever you want!

PG-13

Christian Bale, Sam Worthington, Anton Yelchin, Moon Bloodgood, Bryce Dallas Howard

Marcus: What is that?
Kyle: Two day old coyote.  …Better than three day old coyote.

Skynet has launched its attack on the humans and only isolated pockets of human resistance remain.  Their leader, John Connor (Bale), knows that he must find Kyle Reese, the man that he apparently will send back in time to help his own mother survive against the Terminator sent to kill her.  But, he’ll need the help of Marcus Wright (Worthington), a murderer who was subjected to bizarre experiments years before and is now as much machine as man.

I had certainly heard a lot of bad buzz about this movie back when it came out in theaters, so I was ready for the worst going in.  As it turns out, I was pleasantly surprised.  Not that it was all that good, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as most reviews would have me believe.  Sure some of the characters, especially John Connor, could have been more interesting, but Marcus’ story was compelling enough to make up for at least some of that.

The movie really does belong to Sam Worthington as Marcus.  His character goes through more of an arc than anybody, and even though I wouldn’t call it a stellar performance, Worthington shows a pretty decent range.  One thing that did bother me, though, was that they have Anton Yelchin, a decidedly annoying actor, playing the young Kyle Reese, a character I loved as a kid.  Yelchin is no Michael Biehn.

My first post in this blog, back before it was just movie reviews, included something about this movie.  I mentioned that the trailer seemed to indicate that it had a more serious tone than some other big action movies, like Transformers.  Now having watched it, I can see that I was right, thankfully.  While it does have some quick references to the earlier movies in the series (e.g. Bale delivering the “I’ll be back” line), it doesn’t stoop to the goofy levels that most big blockbusters do.  Of course, it does have plenty of things exploding, with little rest between action sequences.

I have to wonder if maybe the weak ending is what really left people with a bad taste in their mouth.  The actions by the humans and Skynet both seem a little uninspired and hard to buy.  The whole final 4th of the movie doesn’t feel like it was very well thought out.  I don’t want to say much more about it, but even though it’s executed well, it just doesn’t have much kick to it.  And it’s not particularly believable.

I’d say the movie, for the most part, delivers on what you go in hoping to see.  Robots, big and small, battling it out with humans for control of the world.  It’s just less bloody than you’d expect.  Why the PG-13?  First Die Hard, now Terminator.  What’s happening to all my childhood favorite super-violent movie series!?

Don’t underestimate the machines.

10 – 1.2 for an uninspiring ending – 1.5 for lacking in much character development – .6 for a couple dull, unimaginative action sequences that go on way too long = 6.7