Another franchise reboot attempt, this time in the form of a sequel, but alas one that doesn't fully work. I really like the whole Terminator concept, and I think the first two movies were phenomenal, but the third one was lousy. I watched the TV show as well, and I thought they were doing a pretty good job with it, but it's now been canceled.
This was the first movie I ever watched by McG (which I since found out is an abbreviation of his mother's maiden name -- but why he goes by that is anyone's guess) and the impression I always had of his productions was loud and empty. Well, my hunch has been confirmed and now I know I don't need to bother with his past efforts.
Salvation is, first and foremost, incredibly loud - there is a lot of action and the visual effects are great - but there is very little substance. Unfortunately for McG, movies work for me only when they have a compelling story to tell, which this one lacks. Otherwise, they're just a video game.
I have two big issues with the script: it doesn't advance the canon in any constructive or interesting way (the only addition of consequence is the revelation of how John Connor actually becomes the leader of the resistance -- big deal...) and it has very little to say in general.
Both Christian Bale and rising Australian star Sam Worthington (who pretty much steals the show by having a slightly meatier role than Bale's) do a good acting job, but when the script has little to nothing to say, you can only grunt your way through it so much.
A pity, since whether they make a fifth chapter in the saga or not this one dented it remarkably. The movie would probably deserve a 4, but loses a notch because of the budget they had access to and the considerable talent that went into the venture.