Terminator: Salvation: ** (out of 4)
Terminator 2: Judgement Day was the first R-rated movie I got to see in the theatre. My Dad took me and my younger brother (and a couple of family friends) out to see City Slickers in Kansas City, and balked at the last minute; and so he grabbed me and went to the movie he wanted to see, which Mom never would have approved of if she'd known. I was 13; I was psyched. And, more important, it was actually a good - nay, great - movie. It set the standard by which I would see all future action movies, and that standard turned out to be pretty high.
You would think that this would bias me horribly against this Terminator 4 - how can it match up? Well, there are three mitigating factors. First of all, I hated Terminator 3 with a passion it does not, perhaps, truly deserve - my fury at it not being T2 was thus sated years ago. Second, I actually liked the TV series, and was thus ready for more Terminator goodness. And third, I did manage to see this movie (and T3) with my father as well, so the familial connection held up.
And so... well, it was better than the third one.
Terminator: Salvation is a modern action movie - which is to say, senseless and illogical but very loud and explode-y. It starts with a military raid on an apparently important enemy base; but everyone dies instead, and for some reason it's still "mission accomplished". That summarizes the whole movie: there's plenty of action and death and robot action, but none of it actually makes a lick of sense in any tactical or strategic sense - not from a human perspective, and not from a machine perspective either.
For all that it was lame, though, it was at least workmanlike. John Connor (Christian Bale, who I was perfectly content with) at least seemed to have the loyalty of this fellow soldiers, even if we don't know why; the CGI was pretty; the main plot twist of the movie came pre-ruined by the trailers, but wouldn't have been much of a surprise anyway. The PG-13 rating didn't seem to be a problem. And the Big Cameo was fun, if pointless. Sure, it would have been nice if the writers had comprehended their own concepts of time travel, or had had a basic understanding of geography (LA and San Francisco are not near to each other [oh, and did I mention that Skynet is based in our fine city? Go us!]) and/or tactics, and...
...you know, writing about it, I think that this movie should make me angrier than it actually did. But I came out only disappointed, and not angry; and I did get to see it with Dad. Those are worth a few points. But only a few.
I wouldn't bother with seeing it. But I'll go see T5 when/if it comes out, so I'm clearly a bit hypocritical on these fronts.