Sunday, March 31, 2013

All That is Wrong with Terminator: Salvation

McG was rather clear that he wanted to stay away from T3 and honor the first two movies, yet somehow he managed to come up with an even less Terminatoresque movie than the previous one was. Its like another sequel for Nemesis or Cyborg. Maybe its good, because its easier to disassociate it with the Terminator franchise. They even changed the signature font and Carolco's gone from the picture, with Vanja and Kassar only serving as executive producers since they sold the rights. The movie sure doesnt feel or look like anything related to a Terminator movie and its portrayal of the world and machines (which it personified). While TS fixes problems that T3 had, like the correct T-800 name, no goofiness and parodying humor, it creates many new ones.
What Brancato and Ferris delivered this time was so awful that it took numerous writers to make something off of it, and even such great writers as Jonathan Nolan couldn't fix this mess, but at least they got rid of the stupid mutants, terminator-hybrids golf fields and the idiotic twist of Connor becoming a Terminator. A lot of those pathetic ideas from B&F were first used in the kiddie comic books of the 80s, were we had human-cyborg hybrids, Terminator town and Skynet Zordon-style changing appearances

The Intro

Is not bad in itself aside from the fact that it's nothing but a straight up homage to the intro of the first movie. The music throughout sounds like something that would easily fit a Marvel superhero movie.

The crucifix imagery is over the top and too much on the nose. While a number of lethal injection tables have separate "arms" that the condemned inmate's arms are strapped to, they almost never stick straight out like that, and so far I can't find any that are designed to stand the inmate vertically for the viewing gallery. All things considered, this is a debatable flaw, but considering the way the rest of the movie goes, the imagery doesn't feel appropriate.

It's so profound and subtle. let's make sure all the 13 year olds get it

They also got a bit too creative with their lethal injection system. The way they're using it, over ten feet of tubing would be needed for the injections, greatly complicating the effort needed to get the chemicals into Marcus' body. And they seem to be using too many chemicals. I'd be tempted to write that off as a special requirement for prepping the body for donation to Cyberdyne, but the system they're using is wall-mounted, so it's definitely not something brought in by Cyberdyne for the purpose.

There's no reason why they couldn't just use the computer font used in the first two movies

Assault on Skynet R&D Facility
The very first shot shows the camera view of a missile streaking toward its target, which turns out to be a dish at the Skynet R&D facility. Annoyingly, the missile actually gets hit by a sentry turret, yet manages to continue its flight and hit its target. The VLA at the location doesn't even make sense for Skynet to have, as an array of dishes like that is intended for deep space observation and would be useless in the effort to exterminate humanity. And there's definitely nothing like that in California.

Let's talk about shots of A-10's and helicopters. What happened to the desperate plight of humanity? The Resistance seems to be kicking ass? Wasn't Connor suppose to turn things around...for better??? The original movies, even the third one, made it clear that the machines rule the world, and people are like scavenger guerrilla army, like cockroaches hiding in the cracks of the ground, attacking from hideouts and between the ruins.

"We were this close to going out forever. But there was one man.He brought us back from the brink". Really??? He turned the tides alright..

He sure did.....

Also stupid is having helicopters dropping off troops right in the middle of a bombing run. Talk about trying to cause friendly-fire incidents!
As we listen to General Olsen explaining why they're there, we see the first sign of recklessness from John Connor. He just tosses his rope into the pit and jumps in without the slightest pause, despite not having any idea what's waiting. Only after he jumps in does he decide to pause and light a flare. We see that he's in some gigantic pit that would have been right at home in the Matrix. He then continues to descend into the pit with no backup whatsoever.

Great way to check if there are traps or army of machines in there

He waits for his backup off-screen, as the next scene has other Resistance members right behind him. They're tromping around in what seem to be some sort of sewers.
For some odd reason the sewers actually seem to be flooded corridors full of cabling. It's not clear why they should be encountering this in the first place.

--Director's Cut Scene
A T-1 pops up out of waist-high water, even though it shouldn't have been able to crouch that low, and Resistance members probably would have tripped over it. And it doesn't make sense to have an underwater elevator just for it. Despite having the advantage of surprise, it doesn't shoot at all, even though we see the miniguns spinning. John Connor's team spends a few seconds shooting at it, and it lamely sinks back into the pocket dimension from whence it came.

They emerge from the water and waste explosives on a door that doesn't seem to have a lock. Even assuming the door did need to be breached, they enter at too slow a rate, and we also see that the facility makes less and less sense. What possible reason could there be for having the human research section connected directly to a sewer?

As John Connor and his team skulks along, John notices something and tosses a flare. Ultimately, we find out there are caged jammed full of human prisoners. For whatever reason, the prisoners all pretended to be extras in a zombie movie, instead of begging and pleading for help.
John Connor just stares at the prisoners the whole time. General Olsen makes it into the facility, and John Connor still has done nothing to liberate the prisoners. Inexplicably, nice, shiny computers are in the same room, facing the crowded cells. The facility just keeps making less and less sense. The only thing John Connor does to interact with the prisoners is to nod at one of them, an elderly woman. What was the point in that?
John Connor hears mention of a new Terminator and decides to see what's going on.
We learn that Skynet is developing the T-800, although in the original movies its a relatively new thing in 2029 (first appearing in '27), but that could be explained by the changed future. Based on dialogue from one of the Resistance fighters, we see the first bit of evidence that he had already been telling people about the future. Didn't he learn a thing from his mother about not blabbing about prophecies and the future and possibly being branded a lunatic? Anyway, General Olsen interrupts John Connor and it is General Olsen who makes the decision to release the prisoners. Based on events soon to come, we learn that John Connor's inaction denied the prisoners any hope of escape.
General Olsen orders John Connor to go topside to determine why there's no response from the surface. John Connor can barely be bothered to notice his commands.
Once John reaches the surface, he hears a radio message from General Olsen demanding him to get the other troops to respond. All John Connor says is that something is wrong, and doesn't elaborate. One would expect him to maybe mention the dead bodies and the fact that the topside forces were clearly ambushed. Speaking of an ambush, after the rather successful assault on a facility surrounded by open desert, how the hell did the machines manage to sneak up on the above-ground forces, much less kill them so quickly that nobody had an opportunity to radio for help?

When Olsen radios again for topside to respond, John Connor just ignores him. John Connor's next radio message isn't to respond to General Olsen, but to chase after a Transporter. What in the world does John Connor expect to do to a Transporter with a helicopter, especially considering that Transporters are known to carry Harvesters and HK's, as we see later in the film? He tries to tell a helicopter pilot to chase the Transporter, but it turns out the pilot has been killed. Conveniently for John, the pilot unbuckled its seatbelt before being killed, so there was no difficulty in commandeering the helicopter, making the pursuit even more absurd. With John Connor acting as pilot, the helicopter is effectively unarmed now. But that doesn't stop John Connor from recklessly charging into action without backup. And of course, John Connor still can't be bothered to warn everyone below about what happened to the topside troops.

Ok, so the plan is, get to the little helicopter and destroy two HKs, transporters and a harvester...

John Connor gets out of the crashed helicopter and sees the aftermath of the explosion that killed his team. As he reflects on his stupidity in allowing them all to die without warning them of a major problem...
He's attacked by half a T-600. Somehow, the T-600 managed to drag itself right up to John Connor without him noticing, stand up to almost John Connor's height--without any legs, and inexplicably throw John Connor aside instead of trying to kill him. During the battle, the T-600 throws him again instead of trying to cause any real damage, forcing John to crawl to the nearest weapon--a helicopter-mouned M-60. As he attempts to do so, the T-600 manages to tear off a boot that should have been tightly laced to John Connor's foot. John Connor gets to the M-60 and opens fire, causing the T-600's head to act like a bobble-head doll right before finally being destroyed.
Right after killing the T-600, John falls onto his back and rests for a moment. For whatever reason, it hasn't occurred to him that there might be other threats in the area. How does he know this is the only machine he should worry about?
Finally, John Connor gets up to respond to the radio, and makes it a point to complete the radio conversation in three words

Despite being in almost the same exact spot as the Resistance fighters who died in the attack, Marcus emerges from the pit hours later with not so much as a scratch, although he does look like he fell into an outhouse. In what is probably the one regrettable scene for Sam Worthington in this movie, he acts almost as if he's about to transform into the Incredible Hulk.

En route to Resistance Command
McG made pretty much every mistake that could be made during the trip to the command submarine. Weather conditions are terrible, with very low visibility caused by heavy rain and large waves on the ocean surface. Despite this, the pilot is flying just above sea level. He seems to be trying very hard to crash the plane. Also, what the hell is he doing flying over the ocean in the first place? The Skynet R&D facility was land-based, and John Connor's base is land-based, both in California, so there's absolutely no reason to be flying over water. Maybe John Connor already told him where to go, right? Nope. That's established in the next scene.
The pilot asks John Connor if they're to return to base. He's asking that just now? They've been flying for possibly hundreds of miles and the pilot is just now asking what the destination is? Why didn't John Connor say something a long time ago? On top of that, when John Connor finally does tell him to go to Command, the pilot simply accepts and reroutes. Why does the pilot have such critical information? Resistance Command isn't likely to announce its location except on a need-to-know basis. It's not as if a submarine can be visited on a whim, anyway. Even worse, the pilot doesn't immediately call Resistance Command to ask permission for a rendezvous. It's not likely that Resistance Command is going to welcome unannounced visitors. Also, it's real smart of the pilot to turn his head away from the windshield to look at John Connor when talking to him while flying in such hazardous conditions. On the checklist for reckless flying, this pilot hasn't missed a single step. Granted, he has a co-pilot, but if the co-pilot is expecting the pilot to be in control, it could already be too late by the time something bad happens at such a low altitude.

The pilot finally requests permission to drop John Connor off, which has been denied. Stupidly, the pilot waits until he's right above the submarine before asking permission. The pilot says that Command doesn't want to give up its position. Too bad a radar-trackable aircraft decided to fly way out in the middle of the ocean and hover in one spot for no apparent reason. This is exactly why Command wouldn't want to give out its location to every random yahoo with a red armband. Lucky for the Resistance, Skynet isn't using any form of tracking at the moment.
John Connor asks if the submarine is down there. The pilot refuses to provide a definitive answer to that question, so John Connor stupidly assumes that it is down there. He orders the pilot to open the ramp and to tell Command to prepare to receive John Connor. John Connor makes absolutely no effort whatsoever to improve his odds of survival. He jumps while wearing full combat gear, including his rifle! And then he falls around 100 feet before hitting the water. Weighted down with gear, John Connor would have a hell of a time staying afloat in calm waters--let alone on rough seas that look to have 50-foot waves. And all that's assuming he didn't get severely injured the moment he hit the water at high speed while wearing heavy, loosely-attached gear. By rights John Connor should have been dead several times over due to that stunt.


Resistance Command Headquarters

Magically, the divers managed to get John into the submarine without him drowning in the process. It's lucky for him that a merciless commander like Ashdown decided to be a good Samaritan on a night when it's raining cats and dogs--and retarded Resistance fighters. As Ashdown addresses John Connor, he sarcastically refers to him as "prophesied leader of the Resistance". Why is John Connor this stupid? Ranting and raving about the future didn't help his mother any, so why is he making the same mistake when he's seen the consequences of doing so?
John Connor uses the deaths of his men as justification for getting more information out of Ashdown, conveniently forgetting that he was the one who blew the opportunity to warn his men of impending doom.
Losenko starts talking about the information they uncovered, and we learn that there's a hidden signal that can be used to directly control the machines. The signal can conceivably be exploited to shut the machines down. John Connor demands to be given the chance to test the shutdown signal. At Losenko's recommendation, Ashdown allows John Connor the opportunity...
...and gives the order to have John Connor prepared for lockout. Did they forget about the incredibly bad storm conditions outside? There's no way he's getting back in the Osprey, and with waves that nasty, a ship is not going to be able to rendezvous with the submarine either. About the only way John Connor is getting off that sub tonight is if they sail to shore and rendezvous with a waiting aircraft. Command sure is being accommodating of the loose cannon they have on their hands.

Ashdown announces the attack will commence in four days. Once he leaves the room, Losenko gives John Connor the relevant information and they have a brief conversation. For no apparent reason, John Connor asks why the attack will be in four days. Then again, everything he does seems to be done spur-of-the-moment, so scheduling an attack must be a foreign concept to him.
We learn that a kill list was intercepted from Skynet, and that everyone that was in that command room will be dead by the end of the week and that John Connor is #2 on the list. What possible reason could Skynet possibly have for transmitting a kill list? Isn't it enough that Skynet knows? The machines don't need a ranked kill list with estimated dates of execution. Isn't it a given that high-ranking targets would be an ongoing priority for Skynet? Considering that Skynet doesn't need to distribute such a list, Resistance Command should have been instantly suspicious.
John Connor asks who is #1 on the list, and we learn that it is Kyle Reese. This is pure stupidity on the part of the writers. If Skynet knows about Kyle, any subsequent time travel is doomed to suffer from serious logic problems, because now Skynet has another critical person in the past that it can target.
Amazingly, John Connor gets back that same night, and we see that his base is a heavily illuminated facility with large numbers of aircraft out in the open. What ever happened to humanity being on the brink? How can they afford to have a large, easy-to-spot base? And why is there a smoke flare burning on the runway for no apparent reason? Is that the only means they have for designating parking spots?

John Connor stumbles into the base, and hours after the fact decides to start being shell-shocked over the day's events. In his head he hears the ghostly voice of a leader who was actually capable of giving orders and delegating tasks.


The intent behind having John Connor listening to the tapes was a nice touch but it sounds like Linda Hamilton phoned-in her performance. The tone of her voice is off, and unfortunately, the message is an obvious retcon of the message recorded in the first movie. The scene is necessary for expository purposes, but it feels forced. This is another reason why I think having having Skynet know about Kyle was a mistake. It forces the movie to explain why he's important to people who haven't met him yet. If Kyle had been just another soldier of no special significance to Skynet, his story could have been left out. For people familiar with the previous movies, no explanation is necessary, and for those who are not familiar with the previous movies, sending back Kyle at the end could be something of a plot twist. In addition to all that, if the writers would have done just a little research they would find out from deleted scene and script of T2 that T-1000 found John's tapes and belongings while searching his room and took them with him for detective work, thanks to which he eventually tracked down Salceda ranch.

Listening to the tapes..
...that the T-1000 confiscated from his house and took with him

I'm also not impressed with any of the conversation between John and Kate regarding Kyle Reese. As with the cassette recording, it's forced exposition, and his dialogue at the end makes it sound as if he just figured something out that should have been patently obvious.

Marcus in the ruins of Los Angeles
Marcus walks south into Los Angeles, and sees a shadowy figure in the distance. He shouts to the figure, which we soon learn is a T-600.
This T-600 is by far the worst shot I've ever seen in a movie. Shots are randomly spraying everywhere, which is essentially impossible for a minigun, and the T-600 is hitting so much dirt that it is obscuring its view of the target. I also can't believe that Marcus just stood there. It was almost four seconds before Kyle tackled him, and Marcus didn't even try to move. After spraying hundreds of rounds to little effect, Kyle ensnares the T-600. Fortunately for Marcus, he happened to stand in exactly the right spot so that Kyle could rescue him and have ready access to the trigger for the snare.
As they run into the factory, we see more of the T-600's terrible shooting. It's hard to feel that the characters are in real danger when it seems as if the bullets aren't really intended for them.

The T-600 gets to the collapsed entrance and... shoots at it with a grenade launcher?! The T-600 had a grenade launcher and it never used it on Marcus or Kyle?! That would have been very useful when they were hiding behind the forklift or when they were running for the building entrance. Anyway, Kyle has Star cut the rope holding up the railcar bogie, which crushes the T-600. I'm not too thrilled about the boobytraps, and I have to wonder where they found a railcar bogie, let alone figure out how to hoist it to where they had it.

For someone who probably suspected that Marcus had robbed or killed a Resistance fighter, Kyle seems awfully indulgent of Marcus' odd questions and is being a little too helpful. Kyle doesn't even ask Marcus how come he doesn't know what year it is or what Skynet is. Odd..

The HK comes in much lower than it should have. It should have come in higher, forcing the characters to take cover inside the building and then zip through nearby ruined structures to lose the HK. It's a missed opportunity for some additional action.

Resistance base, testing the signal
After Marcus, Kyle, and Star avoid being detected by a Hunter Killer, we cut to John's base, where we see a Hydrobot for the first time. Hydrobots. It doesn't make sense for Skynet to waste its time with aquatic machines, considering that humans are generally land-based. Also, this Hydrobot is fighting way too hard. Sure, it's a machine designed to kill humans, but it's acting more like a wild animal fighting for its life. It also bothers me that humans can restrain it in the first place, considering what we see them do later. Furthermore, why hasn't the Hydrobot already been restrained? With the way that thing bucks, I can't imagine them capturing it, destroying its transmitter, and hauling it all the way back to base with it bucking like a bronco. If anything, I would have expected them to disable a few of them and use the remains to build one functional Hydrobot that can be restrained before they power it back on. The hydrobots are an homage of sort to Silverfish machines from T2 which were designed but ultimately didn't make the film for budgetary reasons. However, the Silverfish were small machines whose purpose was to enter smaller cracks or holes that other machines couldn't, where people would hide and explode.

Hydrobots! They growl and bite!...Jesus...
Cameron's Silverfish: crawl into any space and explode ensuring multiple casualties

Also, there's something inherently annoying about "turning up" the signal. There's generally not a whole lot of incentive for deliberately broadcasting at low power, and there definitely is no incentive for broadcasting at such a low power that a unit less than 10 feet away does not receive the signal. In fact, when we see the tech turn up the power, she actually turns a frequency tuning knob...

This looks extremely smart...

Another thing is how neat and clean everyone is. Everyone has new and shiny laptops, expensive glasses and clean clothes, as oppose to ragged and worn out survivors and fighters from the original movies. In T2, even in the main base everyone wore dirty clothes and worked in crumbled facility.It seems the problems of living in a post-apocalyptic world isn't much of a problem for the humans in general course of things. In Cameron's movies the future is played for all its worth as a terrible third world place almost, the kids hunting the rat, the oppressive doomy atmosphere, the wreckage all over the place, and yet the future is depicted as brightly lit with almost designer like casual clothes for the characters in T:S with none of the oppression that was portrayed in the first two movies. Another thing is that when Connor surfaced, things supposedly turned better. Well, look at the clean and sterile world of T:S and then on the nightmarish 2029. T:S makes it look like its the other way around
It's hard to believe that McG forgot to fill the movie with Terminators, and it's also pretty bad that the Resistance was more aggressive than the machines.

That must be a hellish future
Good that John turned things around...

Some amusing technical errors: Not only does the USB drive disappear after the tech plugs it in, but the port it plugs into disappears as well. Also, when the tech turns the power up, the camera moves over to look at an oscilloscope, which disappears from all later shots.
It is very irresponsible and dumb of the tech to turn the signal off without at least warning everyone to get ready. And I think John Connor should be a little bit more careful when hanging around the business end of a Hydrobot.

Kyle's hideout
We immediately hear Kyle say that going out at night is riskier than travel by day, which directly contradicts what Kyle said in the first film. If there's a reason for the difference, it should have been explained. The infrared capability doesn't cut it, because Kyle even acknowledged that risk in the original film when stating that people can move around at night.
Also, Kyle's hideout seems awfully exposed to both the elements and potential detection by aerial units.
There are some missed opportunities for exposition about Kyle's family, but then again with Ferris & Brancato maybe this is a blessing in disguise. I don't care for the idea of Los Angeles being almost completely abandoned. I'm ok with all the humans being gone, but it should be due to a large machine presence. The idea of just Kyle and Star "resisting" the machines is pretty laughable.

Griffith Observatory
Marcus attempts to get a Jeep running. If there are any cars that would definitely have been destroyed in a nuclear attack, the cars at Griffith Observatory are the ones. It's not that Griffith Observatory would be a nuclear target, but rather that nuclear warheads are used as airburst weapons in order to maximize damage. Considering the bombardment Los Angeles would receive in a nuclear attack, there's no way those cars would be protected from the blast effects. Amazingly, these cars even have hefty charges in their batteries, despite sitting around for a decade. I'd rather have seen Marcus have to get a manual transmission vehicle working, then have to do a rolling start to get it running.
We're beginning to see Star's role as the Swiss Army Girl, pulling out useful items the moment they're needed.
As Kyle motions to Star, we see that she freezes up. Immediately afterward, an Aerostat is spotted. Great, she's a Terminator detector, and she doesn't even have to see them to detect them.
Kyle continues his trend of identifying every machine type they encounter, but the real problem is that when everyone piles into the Jeep, it is Kyle who drives. Very bad idea, since as he will soon point out, he doesn't know how to drive. He does a lot better than I think he should have considering his inexperience, the extremely rough terrain, and fact that they're in a pursuit.
We also learn that the Aerostat heard the music. It's hard to believe that these things don't seem to notice movement or other sounds too well, but they sure detect music just fine. With the characters exposed on a top of a hill, they should have been easy to spot by airborne units without having to rely on loud music. The Aerostats are another type of machines that are riffs of other machines that weren't that widely known in Cameron's universe, in this instance, they're based on Mini Hunters from T2 3D. But here again is the difference between the two - one is practical, the other one is not. Aersotat isn't much good if he can only hear silent music, and all it can do is follow it's target, while Minihunters were actually also equipped with plasma cannons.

Aerostat - it growls and looks at you!

Cameron's Mini-Hunter: Follows you wherever you go and blasts you open with plasma cannons

The idea is to make machines logical and functional. Sure, the main characters cant be killed, but then write the sequence in such way that it wont allow them to get killed, as oppose to making the machines illogical useless mess 

The Aerostat catches up to the Jeep, identifies Kyle, and uploads the information to Skynet. Kyle has Marcus take the wheel and starts kicking at the Aerostat. For someone who's never driven before, he sure has no problem stunt driving. As the Aerostat departs, Marcus looks for something to throw at it. Star pulls her Swiss Army Girl act again and produces a tire iron.
Marcus throws the tire iron with enough force and accuracy to disable the Aerostat. Since he's part-Terminator, this superhuman feat can be forgiven.

Resistance base
The increased machine activity is noticed, which is odd since we've only seen one HK and Aerostats would have a tiny radar signature in the rare occasions they fly high enough to be picked up by radar.
We learn that two A-10's are in the air, apparently on patrol. This seems like a waste of resources, not to mention a bad idea when we see how easily a small number of HK's can down two A-10's.

Increased machine activity! Harvester and two HKs LOL

The characters stop at a ruined 7-11 in search of fuel.
The characters completely ignore some telltale signs of life, such as the penned goats we see during the Harvester attack. Just as Kyle notices a bottle of milk and realizes that people are present, they all jump out and hold Kyle, Star, and Marcus at gunpoint. I'm not too impressed with the costumes, particularly the slinky dress that one woman is wearing. One guy seems to have no trouble shaving part of his head and braiding the hair that remains....

They arrived from a rap music video to the future...

During the confrontation, Kyle doesn't help the situation by repeating what Marcus said to him before: "You point that gun at somebody, you'd better be ready to pull the trigger." Great thing to say when you are outmanned and outgunned.
An elderly woman comes out and insists that Marcus and Kyle can't leave until Star has had something to eat. The man who was acting as leader prior to the woman's entrance gets very angry with the woman for giving away some of their resources.
Before the conflict can get any more interesting, Star's Terminator detector goes off... Five seconds afterward a Harvester is reaching into the building. How the hell does a six-story-tall robot riding on a massive VTOL aircraft with four jet engines manage to sneak up on a gas station?

The Harvester is a marvel of inefficiency. It's method of capture is almost guaranteed to maim or kill just about anyone it grabs, and it's awfully convenient that it knew exactly where to punch through the roof to grab people. The secondary "T-Rex" arms look to be nearly useless, and even if they do work, that only allows the Harvester to capture up to four people before having to deposit them in a Transporter, giving everyone else ample opportunity to run and hide. Furthermore, by making the Harvester a single, large unit, people can more easily avoid capture by splitting up. A Harvester can only go in one direction at a time, so scattering will reduce its effectiveness significantly. Strangely, with that huge cannon, the Harvester seems much better at killing humans than capturing them. A squad of T-600's would have been a much stealthier and cost-effective means of capturing humans, as they can surround a facility and group together or split up as necessary to deal with an evolving situation.

Transformers attack!

Kyle wisely points out that they can' just run from the Harvester and expect to live. Marcus agrees and tries to come up with a plan. He rams a trailer full of fuel into the Harvester, knocking it over. Amazingly, despite falling onto the trailer, the Harvester does very little damage to it. Kyle tries to ignite the fuel by shooting the trailer with his shotgun, gratuitously yelling "Go, go, go!" even though that's what Marcus was already doing. Shooting the trailer fails to ignite the fuel, causing Marcus to hit the brakes and try to figure out what to do next.
Star to the rescue! Swiss Army Girl has produced a flare and is patiently waiting for Marcus to notice.
Marcus uses the flare to light the gasoline, engulfing the Harvester in an improbably large fireball. Kyle cheers at their success, and they race down the highway, only to see a plasma shot streak past them.
The Harvester decides to shoot at them while engulfed in flame, ensuring a rather severe miss. When it steps out of the fire, instead of shooting at the truck again, it puts its cannon away! No sense in killing the protagonists, of course. Even worse, it sends two Mototerminators out, which Kyle dutifully refers to by their name. Another impractical unit by Skynet that as we will soon see are indeed susceptible to being knocked over. They also are not remotely suited for off-road use, so Marcus considerately stays on paved roads as much as possible.

As Marcus drives, the Mototerminators quickly catch up and...
...don't shoot?! In fact, they spend most of the chase not shooting.

Kyle disables one Mototerminator by knocking an oil can off the truck and shooting it, causing an oil slick that destabilizes the Mototerminator, causing it to lose control and slam into the side of a ruined bus. One down, one to go...
Just as Kyle is wondering where the other Mototerminator is, it comes flying off an overpass and lands in front of them. There's no room for it to accelerate up there and it would have taken more effort to get up there than to just follow the tow truck. Even better, despite the Mototerminator coming from behind, the concrete manages to get ahead of the tow truck, but then slow down quickly enough that the tow truck can hit the rubble and shatter the windshield. We even see the rubble approach from the wrong direction.
Now that the Mototerminator is in front of them, it fires for the first time, and shoots at the most heavily armored part of the truck, which of course does no damage. Meanwhile, a third Mototerminator mysteriously arrives and shoots from the rear

Having narrowly escaped death, Kyle uses a conveniently-located grenade launcher to get off a conveniently accurate shot at the Mototerminator in front of them. The mysterious third Mototerminator shoots at the tow truck accounting for the third and final plasma shot fired by Mototerminators during the chase. That's it. Three. Why are Mototerminators even armed if they're not going to bother using their weapons most of the time?

While dramatic, having the HK overtake them and turn around was pointless. The HK could have easily shot the bridge without having to pass over them and turn around. But of course, if it had done something sensible like that, then the Mototerminator being dragged couldn't have been launched up an overturned car acting as a convenient ramp, only to wrap itself around one engine of the HK, which allows the HK to pull the truck enough that Kyle and Star fall out into the waiting arms of a Harvester on a Transporter Insultingly bad movie physics and contrived situations at their finest, folks.
The HK waits entirely too long before shooting the tow truck, giving Marcus ample time to jump. He does so and manages to land on the Transporter, which has decided to descend into the canyon instead of increasing altitude and accelerating to cruising speed.
Marcus attempts to free Kyle and Star, even though there's nowhere they could go even if they got out. The Harvester grabs Marcus and pins him down. Two A-10's arrive on scene and destroy the HK escort, then shoot at the Harvester, causing it to lose its grip on Marcus. The Transporter detaches an HK that was stowed on the underside, and the HK pursues the A-10's.
In a brief shot of Connor's base, he announces that the machines have never come that deep before. That's odd, because Kyle seems awfully familiar with many Terminator models. How is it that the machine presence in Los Angeles doesn't seem to be worth noting, but movement farther north is suddenly the deepest the machines have come?

The A-10's are aware of the HK, but instead of splitting up to maximize the chance of getting a shot at the HK, they stay together, allowing the HK an easy shot with no fear of return fire. One A-10 is destroyed, and John Connor utters the cringe-worthy, "Evasive maneuvers, now!" Duh! You think? And then Blair's idea of evasive maneuvers consists of emulating the Trench Run from Star Wars. Staying in a narrow canyon with nowhere to go is not a great way to avoid getting shot. John Connor offers more armchair piloting, and finally Blair is forced to eject, but not before having turned around and headed back for Marcus so that the wreckage of her A-10 can almost hit him. It's amazing just how much real-time tracking John's base is capable of, considering that most of the dogfight was in a canyon and thus out of radar range. And finally, while I'm not a big stickler for accuracy when depicting locations in a movie, where the hell would one find a deep canyon in southern California, much less one with a long bridge over it? If they wanted something like that so bad, they should have chosen a different setting for the movie.

Having dealt with both A-10's, the Transporter and its remaining escort make way for Skynet Central. Meanwhile, back at the base, John resolves to test the signal out in the field.
Minor quibble, actually. Kate announces that the Transporter is heading northwest, bearing 289 toward San Francisco. For that to be the case, the fight would have to have taken place hundreds of miles north of Los Angeles--somewhat north of Fresno, actually. Not a big detail, but it's an inconsistency nonetheless.

Marcus meets Blair
After washing ashore, Marcus stumbles across Blair, who is hanging from an electrical tower by her parachute. Blair wastes a surprising amount of time hanging horizontally before Marcus walks up. As Marcus approaches, Blair hits one of the parachute releases and she falls to a vertical position. Rather than attempt to toggle the other release, she asks Marcus to grab her knife, which she says is in her left boot.
I'm not sure why she couldn't be bothered to swing over to the tower for some better footing, but I guess it makes more sense to fall 12 feet while holding a knife over one's own head. Good thing she took that helmet off.Marcus and Blair talk, and it is revealed that Marcus wants to follow the Transporter, which Blair points out is a bad idea.

Blair also demonstrates a lack of observation skills, as she fails to notice the Resistance armband that Kyle got so worked up over. She's so prepared to accept Marcus as a stranger that it doesn't occur to her to wonder why Marcus seems so clueless for a Resistance fighter. Wearing a Resistance armband, one might already expect him to be familiar with the base and the activities of the machines.
Also, Blair looks like a supermodel, with sleek and shiny hair and pearl white teeth. What a hellish future that must be

Really good John turned things around. Who needs supermodels with pearl teeth
When you can have anorexic, dirty and haggard fighters

Racetrack ruins
Marcus and Blair arrive at an abandoned racetrack, and because it's a post-apocalyptic movie, there are multiple fires burning for no reason whatsoever. I suppose it's meant to establish that post-apocalyptic atmosphere, but come on! It's raining like crazy, and nothing is on fire except dirt! Just show us wet ruins! We don't need to believe that crazed pyromaniacs run around setting dirt on fire.

Blair spots some shelter, and both she and Marcus take cover. Blair asks Marcus to find something that can burn. Might I suggest flaming freaking dirt? After questioning Blair about her injury, Marcus ignores the flaming dirt to find a more realistic combustible material. Naturally, he looks inside a race car?! Too bad Star isn't here to hand him a Presto Log or some firewood.
Here we briefly return to director's cut territory, for the infamous topless scene, a fine study in how to compose a thoroughly awkward scene. Anyway, Blair steps back outside to take advantage of the natural shower going on, and decides that the only way to clean her wound is to get naked from the waist up. $50 says that in the script, this scene is written in McG's handwriting. Anyway, the moment Blair brings her hands to her breasts, it occurs to her that she's supposed to be self-conscious or something. She looks around to find Marcus, who is STILL rooting around in the race car for firewood! Did this guy land on his head when he fell off the Transporter? Anyway, Blair pulls this kinda sorta self-conscious stunt for 25 seconds straight. She waits until Marcus notices, then slowly turns to face directly at him, cupping her breasts with her hands the whole time. It takes several seconds for Marcus to notice what's going on. As she first turns, he wonders what the hell she's doing.
When Marcus fails to take the bait, Blair turns back around, and Marcus decides to get as far away from her as possible for as long as possible.
Later, it has stopped raining, and Marcus is still MIA. He's been gone long enough that a few rats decide it's safe to come out of the woodwork. They confront Blair and are clearly looking for a good time at her expense. Blair attempts to resist, but three of them are too much for her to handle. Unfortunately for them, they forgot that noise is, well, noisy. All of a sudden, Marcus ruins his firewood by smashing it into one thug's back.

The bad guy Marcus attacks is unfazed, despite being hit with a board hard enough to splinter it. The guy then tries to stab Marcus with the HANDLE of a screwdriver! The whole time, screwdriver guy holds it so that Marcus can easily grab it and run it straight into his shoulder.
The shotgun guy gets involved and Marcus is alternating between two thugs, but oddly the shotgun guy does not try to use his shotgun yet. Also, both of this guy's testicles must have popped, because he sure took his sweet time getting involved.
Screwdriver guy pulls the screwdriver out of his shoulder and this time thinks to hold the correct end. Stupidly, he uses the arm that was stabbed in the shoulder to hold it

Now there's no danger of a friendly fire incident, so rather than chamber another shell and take advantage of a clear shot, the guy decides to enter melee combat, because obviously that's Marcus' weakness.
Instead of getting involved sooner, the leader guy waits until both his buddies are down before jumping back into the fight with a pole.

Later that evening
Magically, the rain is all gone, and Marcus must have found a glove compartment loaded with wood somewhere, because now there's dry dirt and a roaring fire. After dealing with cold, wet rain, the characters naturally decide to sit at least 15 feet away from the fire. Blair's announces that she's a little cold. Of course you are! You're sitting fifteen feet away from the fire! When trying to warm up, it helps to be in the same time zone as the heat source. That was of course another try to get some action from Marcus. Damn, that supermodel chick sure is horny for strangers. Didn't Kyle hint there wasn't even time for getting naughty, at least among fighters? He didn't even think of women as anything else than soldiers at first

Valley of Death, not to be confused with Death Valley
As the scene starts, the day-for-night shooting is looking way too obvious, and gets worse as the scene progresses.

Night? Lol

Blatant exposition alert! Despite the fact that they've been there probably for a good 20 minutes at least, Barnes waits until the camera starts rolling to announce, "This is it. Skynet's valley of death. We've never been this deep before." Is this information John Connor--who is leading this expedition--doesn't already know? But John Connor is not about to be outdone. "We gotta be sure the signal works in their territory, on the bigger machines." Well, duh! Isn't this exactly why the two of you planned this stupid hike? A title card announcing all this would have been less insulting than watching these guys play tag-team narrating.
John Connor blows up a pile of cars that's stacked in the middle of nowhere for no particular reason. Or maybe they brought the pile of cars with them. Either way, when John Connor detonates the car pile, neither Connor nor Barnes bothers to prep a weapon, even though they specifically intend to get the attention of the machines. John Connor in particular just leaves the rocket launcher laying right on the ground.
HK's must be really dense if they'll investigate a pile of junked cars that explode out in the middle of nowhere, but don't bother to look around to figure out what made them blow up. It's only when Barnes activates the radio that the HK notices them.
The whole point in the shutdown signal is to shutdown the machines. So if the machine can hear it well enough to get a fix on it, it should be hearing it well enough to shutdown. But of course, that's not how movies work. We soon learn that Barnes isn't broadcasting at max power, since John Connor tells Barnes to turn it up. Why is this necessary? Don't they want these things to be effective? Quietly broadcasting the signal isn't going to do much good. Crank the signal in the first place, and skip the contrived drama!
More stupidity from both the HK and from the humans. Skynet blows another chance to identify and kill John Connor. It could have killed John Connor, then let Barnes "disable" it with the shutdown signal, allowing it to kill John Connor and to continue it's plan to destroy the Resistance leadership. But we'll pretend Skynet had no way of identifying John Connor. That's where the stupidity of John and Barnes come in. They're sitting in plain sight, make no attempt to move as the unit gets close, and don't grab their weapons. Didn't it occur to them at all that something could go wrong. As far as they know the signal worked, but the HK still came close to killing them when it lost power and crashed.
Barnes' next line must be the reason Common had very few lines. The line is delivered as poorly as it was written.
As John Connor and Barnes evacuate, Barnes uselessly announces that Ashdown is on the radio, as if John Connor couldn't just listen for him on his own radio. John Connor tells Ashdown that the signal works, and Ashdown announces that the attack commences tomorrow. When John Connor asks about the extraction plan for the prisoners, Ashdown replies that there is no extraction plan. John Connor tries to argue, but Ashdown terminates the conversation.
Somehow John Connor magically knows that Ashdown has terminated the conversation and attempts to reestablish contact three times in such rapid succession that Ashdown wouldn't have been able to get a word in edgewise even if he had still been holding the mike. What John Connor should have done is continue to argue on behalf of the prisoners, only to realize once there's no response that Ashdown is no longer on the line. That would have made John Connor seem much less impotent than his rapid attempts to get permission to talk made him out to be.

Prisoners arrive at Skynet Central
The Transporter carrying Kyle and Star arrives at Skynet Central. People are apparently so eager to march to their doom that they're literally tripping over each other to get out of the Transporter.
As everyone exits the Transporter, we see a rubber-skinned T-600 on a catwalk. Why is the rubber skin reserved for a prison sentry that doesn't need it. The T-600 patrolling the ruins would have had more use for camouflage than a guard at Skynet Central.
Anyway, the prisoners are being forced down the line by a moving, spiked barrier, and one of the more annoying survivors panics and attempts to escape. He tries to climb out of the pen, only to be mowed down by a T-600, with its incredible 3% accuracy rate. At least there's a bit of consistency, as it seems every single T-600 produces wide, random spreads when firing.
The set is ridiculous. Why the spontaneous flamethrowers and the theatrical red light?

The Minefield
As Blair and Marcus approach the Resistance base, they approach the minefield.
Again, Blair doesn't find it the slightest bit odd that a Resistance fighter is completely unfamiliar with Resistance markings or the presence of the minefield.
After Blair reassures Marcus, they walk through the minefield. Marcus gets a little too close to a mine, and BOOM!!! I also have to wonder what point there is to these mines if they can't actually damage a machine. Only Marcus' flesh was damaged. Skynet makes its front-line battle machines out of materials that small-caliber rifle rounds can penetrate, but its low-key infiltrator is built to be virtually invincible? Does Skynet do everything backward? Perhaps the mines are meant to be noisemakers.

After the mine sends Marcus airborne without causing any visible damage, we have an amazingly fast cut to him being carried through the base in rather sorry shape. He's placed on a stretcher, and Kate prepares to administer medical treatment.
When Kate's shock turns to hatred,  she all too calmly summons Barnes to deal with the problem. What ever happened to screaming, "Terminator!" and madly dashing for cover and weaponry? Even worse, Barnes whacks Marcus in the face with the butt of his gun. What the hell is that supposed to do to a Terminator?! Do they really expect to be able to knock one silly? This is about the stupidest reaction to dealing with a Terminator I can think of. And the stupidity doesn't end there. Whacking Marcus in the face actually succeeds in knocking him cold, despite the incredible events he handles before and after this scene without losing consciousness, like falling hundreds of feet, getting caught by explosions, and getting whacked into an I-beam with enough force to cause it to buckle.

Missile Silo, interrogating Marcus
When Marcus regains consciousness, John and Kate are standing before Marcus, discussing Marcus. Kate rattles of some gratuitous tech specs, and then John Connor starts asking questions.
"Who built you?" What?! Did John Connor really ask this? Not only is there the inherent stupidity of asking a question that will not receive an honest answer, but does he honestly expect Marcus to be the product of anything other than Skynet?
"You think you're human?" Where is this line of questioning going? The answer is irrelevant either way. If John Connor is going to interrogate the thing to figure out their infiltration techniques or something, he should get straight to the point, instead of asking questions that reveal that he already knows Marcus is a machine.
Marcus is awfully indulgent of these stupid questions, but I'll forgive him, since he was just subjected to an explosion and some questionable plot elements.
When John Connor moves forward to free Marcus' head, he looks way too entranced. He should be acting a lot more cautious, and certainly a lot more lucid.
 What a stupid way to restrain a Terminator! It seems that John Connor has forgotten just how strong Terminators can be. He's not the slightest bit concerned that the Terminator might be able to pull its hands right out of those chains. You'd think they'd want to chain/strap him down more securely like they did with the Hydrobot. I don't even want to think about how long it would have taken to restrain Marcus like that. If they wanted to chain up Marcus, they should have wrapped chains all the way around him and his arms. That would have been better than all the effort needed to drag him to an old axle, chain him to it, and then hoist him out over the pit.

LOL. Road Warrior all the way

"Where were you manufactured?" This question isn't quite as stupid, but again, does he really expect an honest answer? He's interrogating a Terminator, not a person! (As far as he knows, anyway.) I guess he's way too used to Terminators that are more than willing to provide answers to every question thrown their way.
Marcus realizes that he recognizes John Connor's voice, and the conversation starts to make sense for a moment. Finally, John Connor asks a useful question.
 John Connor gets in a Terminator's face, and starts saying some stupid things. He explicitly states the full names of both of his parents to a Terminator! How stupid is that? Aren't these the kinds of details he might want to keep secret? Is John Connor *trying* to lose the war?

Don't tell him! Don't tell him! Ah sh*t

And then Marcus gets really stupid. Does he really think the young kid he met is somehow John Connor's father? His reaction just gives John Connor the perfect reason to believe that Marcus is indeed a Terminator.

Resistance Base
Blair is awfully stupid. Marcus is obviously a machine, and there's really only one source for something like Marcus. A real Terminator might very well have done the things Marcus did, for the reasons claimed by John and Kate. With that Resistance coat, a person could logically assume that he killed a Resistance fighter to get it. If they really wanted Blair's actions to make sense, they really needed to show Marcus doing things a Terminator would never have done. The only reason Blair's actions are even remotely acceptable to the audience is because it was already established at the beginning of the movie that Marcus was human. He mightve been shielding her from gunfire just so she can help him get away. Dialogue throughout the movie even confirms it, so we have no reason to assume that "Marcus" is a machine patterned after a death-row inmate.

Skynet Central
Prisoners are lined up for processing, while various machines watch. Again, the gratuitous use of flame jets and spark showers. There's no reason for them to be there, except to make up for the lack of anything bad actually happening to the humans.

Yeah! Rock of Ages!

Kyle looks around, and spots a metal bar that he conceals in his sleeve. Then he's identified by the machines, and brutally yanked out of line like a prize in a crane game machine.

Missile Silo
Barnes is guarding a Terminator. Alone. With a pistol. Loaded with hollow-points. About the only way Barnes could have been any less equipped to handle Marcus is if he had been unarmed and sleeping. words

Unaccustomed to machines that show some semblance of personality, Barnes takes the loss of his brother out on Marcus. I could have done without the "NOOOOOoooooo.......!!!!" that Marcus cries out in response.
Blair enters the room, and we discover that the door is unlocked! I guess they didn't want anything to get in the Terminator's way if it escaped and decided to go on a rampage.

Blair tells Barnes that John Connor wants to see him. In a surprising display of intelligence, Blair borrows Barnes' gun and shoots at Marcus to establish her negative opinion of him. Barnes takes the bait, and leaves to find out what John Connor wants.
Barnes walked off without his pistol! He just lets Blair hold on to his pistol while he leaves the room. Maybe it's a realization of just how useless the pistol would be.
As others mentioned, when Blair releases Marcus, she causes a great deal of noise that nobody notices, despite Barnes having been gone for only a few seconds. And if nobody's going to notice gunfire or hundreds of pounds of metal slamming into the base of the silo, what was Barnes going to do to get help? He sure wasn't going to call John Connor on his radio.
Not only did Blair make a careless amount of noise, but she seems to have no concern about what kind of pain Marcus might be experiencing. She knows significant parts of Marcus are human, and that he seems to be really good at appearing to be in pain. For someone who is trying to rescue Marcus, she seems all too willing to torture him and risk causing harm to him. Not only that, but dropping him to the bottom of the silo only complicates efforts to escape.
Blair gets to the bottom of the silo and prepares to torch through Marcus' restraints.

John Connor's Quarters
John Connor is listening to tapes of his mother, looking for passages that might explain a machine like Marcus. After listening to the tapes from his mother, he concludes that there's nothing about machines with organs. He acts as if this is a major problem, even though realistically the T-800's would have needed organs in order to keep the tissue alive.
We see that John Connor really believes Marcus about Kyle's whereabouts. Why would John Connor believe anything a machine has to say, especially if he has reason to believe that a machine would do anything possible to get him killed? Marcus could just as easily have been lying, and in fact, Kyle did not actually need to be present at Skynet Central in order to lure John Connor to Skynet Central.

Missile Silo
Blair and Marcus react to the sudden activation of the alarm. To get out of the missile silo, Blair places her blowtorch in the center of one of the gratings of the blast pit, then shoots the blowtorch to blow up the vent grating. Turning on the gas valve for the blowtorch was annoying, but is nothing compared to the following points. Those gratings were designed to withstand the intense thrust from ICBM's. There's no way the gas content of that tiny blowtorch is going to dislodge the vent. Second, if there's any destructive potential there, she's awfully close to the blast. And having had the opportunity in the past to shoot propane canisters with tracer ammunition, I can conclusively state that shooting a container full of pressurized flammable gas does not result in an impressive explosion. A container that size could produce a nice fireball, but there's very little destructive potential.
Barnes & Co. rush into the silo and naturally assume that descending into a dead end is the only logical place for Marcus and Blair to have gone. Blair has already crawled into the vent, but inexplicably Marcus does not dive in after her. He uses a PERFORATED GRATING to absorb gunfire from above, even though bullets can go through holes, Blair is already to relative safety, and Marcus has already learned that he's impervious to gunfire. And if he jumped into the vent in the first place, he wouldn't need a bullet shield.

Hey, look! Barnes magically got his gun back!
Instead of shooting the RPG at Marcus to start with, the Resistance fighter with the RPG hands it to Marcus. Barnes wastes time flipping up the sights, even though the shot he makes wouldn't have required them. He wastes more time answering the other Resistance fighter's question before bothering to shoot, giving Marcus and Blair more time to get to safety.
The RPG round misses of course, and instead of producing a proper explosion, it produces annoying gouts of flame. And what's with ventilation fans in the blast pit of a missile silo? Tons of rocket exhaust can can circulate plenty well on its own, and probably would do a real number to those fans.
Marcus and Blair manage to climb up the vent system to get back to the surface, where they end up back in the minefield.
The Resistance is making a hell of a lot of noise. Flares for illumination, explosives, spotlights, and an incredible cacophony of gunfire ensure that nobody within 100 miles is going to miss the light show.

At one point, Marcus and Blair stop right in the open and talk for a moment, even though they're in line-of-sight of some Resistance fighters.
The sudden switch from Marcus and Blair running for their lives to Blair acting as a decoy is questionable at best. Where did they find time to establish this ploy? And with all the smoke and dust, how does the Resistance even know there's anyone there?

After crashing in the aftermath of a jump, Marcus decides to ditch the motorcycle even though it survived the first crash just fine. There better have been something wrong with the motorcycle at that point, because being on foot is not ideal. There's a dramatic moment where Marcus sees that Blair has been captured. Oddly enough, Blair seems to be paying more attention to what's going on than Scott Bakula and his buddy there.

As Marcus flees, John Connor demonstrates that he's not much better as a door gunner than as a pilot. At least he scores some hits though.
John Connor initiates a massive napalm strike, and misses! How did he miss? He saw Marcus when he fell.
They decide to check the river. Two pilots, one gunner, zero brains. They go into a near-ground level hover right over a river chock-full of Hydrobots! Of course, I'm sure they didn't know there were Hydrobots in the river, even though this is probably exactly where the Resistance acquired the Hydrobot used for testing the shutdown signal earlier. They have to know that hovering just above the water is stupid, but they do it anyway. And what good is a flare going to do for searching a river. Did the gunner really expect to find Marcus in that exact spot? They could spend hours searching like that and come up empty. And then the gunner drops the flare into the water, as if that's going to help at all.
Stupidity is punished here, as 2/3's of the crew get what they deserve. The gunner has his face eaten by a leaping Hydrobot as he falls into the water. Two more Hydrobots attack the helicopter.

How did the hydrobot that went through the cockpit glass fail to grab John Connor?! And on top of that, if Hydrobots are powerful enough to bore their way right through a metal fuselage and instrument panel, how is it possible for anyone to wrestle them?
Somehow the helicopter loses hydraulic power, even though the Hydrobots never went anywhere near the hydraulic system, which would have been back with the engine, not up front in the instrument panel. We'll just assume that somehow the Hydrobots took out the flight controls or something.
The other pilot pays the price for stupidity, as a Hydrobot drags him under after the crash. John Connor climbs on top of the sinking helicopter where the Hydrobots leave him alone for the most part. They could approach from anywhere, but instead of attacking him from all directions, they keep their distance and wait for him to jump into the water. When John Connor finally does so, the Hydrobots insist on approaching along the surface of the water, giving John Connor the best chance possible to shoot them as they approach.

He won't see us if we'll stay close to the surface!

John Connor tries his best to fend off the Hydrobots, but just as one is about to pounce him he is saved by Marcus?! John Connor just had a whole army attempt to kill Marcus. John Connor treated Marcus like dirt, and was a complete asshole to him. Marcus should have been running for his life. Why did he A: stop to see what was going on with John Connor, and B: try to save him? Considering the reason Marcus was on death row and what he did to the thugs at the racetrack, why would he have any patience for someone with the means and motivation to kill him? I think Marcus was completely justified in leaving John Connor to fend for himself. He should have been far enough away anyway that he wouldn't have been able to witness the fight with the Hydrobots.

With the Hydrobots neutralized, Marcus and John have the opportunity for some tense conversation.
There are plenty of bad lines of dialogue. Again Marcus seems to think that the Kyle Reese in Skynet is the same one John Connor calls father.
Aside from that, Marcus makes a reasonable offer, claiming he can get John Connor into Skynet Central but John Connor is stupid for not insisting that Marcus gets Kyle out of Skynet Central instead. Having Marcus rescue Kyle involves a lot less personal risk, since that way there's no risk of John Connor walking into a trap. Instead, John Connor decides he can run a one-man rescue operation by relying on a machine he just admitted he doesn't trust. How could he possibly think that letting one of Skynet's machines get him into Skynet Central is going to be a good idea? If this is the best the Resistance has to offer, humanity is screwed.

I'm not to impressed with the CG used on Marcus. They went too far to make sure it wasn't too bloody looking, it doesn't look like actual damage so much as two photos blended together.

Bad photoshop alert!

John Connor agrees to the deal and tosses Marcus a portable computer to contact him with. Good thing it's waterproof, despite being a consumer-grade piece of hardware.
As John Connor's parting comment to Marcus, he suddenly advances on him and yells, "What are you?" Marcus, genuinely confused by John Connor's erratic nature, says that he doesn't know, then swims away. It's a very strange way to end the encounter, and it feels like a remnant of something else. One might argue that it's some sort of ploy to conceal that John Connor just made a deal with a machine, but that's outweighed by the idiocy of attracting attention to Marcus.
Fortunately for Marcus, nobody noticed John's outburst, and the Resistance troops take John at his word when he says Marcus is gone.

Blair's cell
John gets back to base and decides to "interrogate" Blair. He asks her why she did it and when she responds with, "I saw a man, not a machine," that's good enough for him. We also learn that the Resistance isn't as careless with human prisoners as with the machines.
Resistance hangar
John's forces are preparing for the attack. Ashdown calls Connor for a readiness check.
Why do they have a massive comm station right in the middle of the hangar, where it can get in the way of everyone else and maximize the potential trip hazards? Good move too, having all the monitors facing the door, to maximize glare from the light outside. At least put everything against a wall or something.
All that US equipment. There are flags from various countries draped from the ceiling, but otherwise no evidence of the international cooperation touted by McG, and of course no trace of the no-country-all-men-united approach from the original two movies.

When Ashdown ask if John Connor's men are ready, he replies that nobody is ready and then attempts to have Ashdown abort the attack. When that doesn't work, he asks for a delay. He announces that he has an opportunity to rescue the prisoners. Ashdown refuses, of course. At this point, John reports that Skynet has Kyle Reese.
John Connor starts to babble about Kyle being the key to the past and the future. He ought to know by now that stuff like that just makes him sound like a crackpot.

Ashdown knows a looney when he hears one, and relieves John Connor of his command. Barnes and the comm operator pretend they didn't hear anything. John Connor goes elsewhere to deliver a radio address.
As John Connor delivers his address, we see people who either are not equipped to fight in a war, or who are so many time zones away that they could not possibly participate in the attack on Skynet Central. This scene would have been a lot better if we had seen people who were actually in a position to participate in the assault have second thoughts, particularly if they were people who could make the decision to attack or hold back.
Connor starts babbling about his mother and her predictions. The worst part of it is that he mentions his mother's full name on the radio. John Connor seems determined to make sure Skynet knows who to target once it develops time displacement. Is he trying to get his mother killed?

Are the machines really so attuned to music that yelling, gunfire, movement, or other forms of attracting attention just aren't adequate? A portable boombox isn't all that loud--certainly not enough to attract a machine a quarter-mile away.
John Connor doesn't start preparing his trap until after alerting the Mototerminator. You'd think he'd want to be prepared before getting a machine's attention.
How did the Mototerminator not see the rope? I could understand if it couldn't stop in time, but it didn't react at all.
We've seen four Mototerminators get disabled in the movie with little difficulty. We've also seen that Mototerminators have plasma weapons. SO WHY DOESN'T THE RESISTANCE HAVE PLASMA WEAPONS SALVAGED FROM MOTOTERMINATORS? Wouldn't those be somewhat useful weapons to have, considering the durability of some of the machines?

John Connor runs to the downed Mototerminator, which miraculously is undamaged, despite a high-speed collision. After seeing the kinds of crashes Mototerminators can survive, why are T-600's so weak?
To reprogram the Mototerminator, John Connor plugs his pocket computer into an honest-to-God USB Type-B port! It's the exact type of port a person would find on the back of a USB printer! And there's an RCA jack right next to it! I bet the Mototerminator runs on Windows Vista and can record your favorite TV shows.


A brand new category for John Connor prying out the optics of a Mototerminator for no apparent reason. This will turn BAD later, of course.
Connor races for Skynet Central on a motorcycle that was never intended to accommodate a human rider.

Skynet Perimeter: North Gate
Marcus makes his way to Skynet Central with amazing speed, considering he was on foot last time we saw him. With some trepidation, he emerges from cover and makes his presence known to a security turret.
It takes an annoyingly long time for the turret to identify Marcus, and it appears to rely on identifying him by scanning him. I think it would have been better if the machines had already identified his identity and position via network link as soon as he got within range and just ignored him.

Marcus charges up the barrier and begins to enter Skynet Central.
Meanwhile, John has arrived and is riding a Mototerminator onto the ruins of the Golden Gate bridge. Considering the extensive damage and the steep drop, it doesn't seem like the best place for John Connor to drive.

Marcus continues to infiltrate Skynet Central.
 More gratuitous flames and sparks with no reason behind them. And seeing modern day construction vehicles driving around is quite jarring. It doesn't feel like a Skynet stronghold at all. If it were a Michael Bay movie, at least I could have suspected that the bulldozer and scraper were Constructicons.
Getting back to John Connor, we see just how badly damaged the Golden Gate Bridge is. He would have had to have risked his life several times just to climb to the point where we see him. Is this really the best place to be? He's dangerously exposed on a structurally unsound bridge. I wonder if Marcus was this crazy? Good thing for him none of the HK's buzzing around can be bothered to look his way.

Marcus is inside Skynet Central, where we see the first of many remnants of the hybrid plot. Bright human-compatible facilities, with consoles and large monitors fill the room, and the computer has already identified Marcus.
Marcus places his hand just above a convenient hand-print on the console, causing a surreal light show, and initiating some sort of link with Skynet. Either Marcus has to plug in or he doesn't. Taking a "mystical" approach doesn't help anything. The scene could easily have been made to work by having Skynet initiate a connection without Marcus having to pull off some pseudo-biometric nonsense.
We see Marcus disable Skynet's defenses, which would be ok if it was just a ploy to fool John Connor, but later we learn it's not!
Marcus transmits Kyle's location to John Connor, who now has to figure out how to get off the bridge without killing himself. Afterward, he starts looking up information relevant to his past.
Marcus finally encounters information about Judgement Day, and then blacks out.

Meanwhile, John Connor has infiltrated the base, and is skulking around. He finds a Transporter and prepares to reprogram it. Conveniently, like with the Mototerminator, electronics are easier to access on Skynet's machines than they are on modern electronic devices. John Connor doesn't even need a screwdriver! John Connor performs some weird voodoo involving the guts of the Mototerminator from earlier, and opens the doors to the Transporter. As the doors are opening, John Connor notices something to his left and casually gets up to step inside the Transporter.
We see what is quite possibly the most retarded T-600 in the entire movie! The patrolling T-600 fails to notice the ramps open on the Transporter, fails to notice John Connor standing there, fails to notice him step into the Transporter, and fails to notice the wiring dangling from an open access panel! What's worse is that the T-600 was maybe 10 feet away when John Connor ducked into the Transporter, and the way John Connor went in, he wouldn't have been hidden from the T-600! Forrest Gump would have made a more credible Terminator than these machines! Let me guess--cocky ol' Skynet wants to save the fun for the CG nightmare coming up later. If all the machines are this stupid, it's no wonder Skynet loses.

Nothing wrong here, move along!

Resistance Command
We learn that the submarine is broadcasting the shutdown signal at full strength. Not only should that not be possible while submerged, but there's no reason for them to do so. They shouldn't be involved in the attack at all!
We learn that the other Resistance outposts have decided to listen to John Connor and are standing down, much to Ashdown's annoyance.

Skynet Central
John Connor rappels into a prison block, and prepares to free the prisoners.
He uses the Mototerminator optic salvaged from before to pass some sort of retinal scan! That is stupid on so many levels. Not only are there lots of better ways for machines to identify each other, but why would a Mototerminator ever be granted access to a cell block?! How would it even get its optic that high up? The whole point of access control is to control access. If every random machine can go wherever--even machines that are physically incapable of getting there--then there's no point in access control. I'll love to see a Mototerminator try to use that touch screen interface John Connor uses to unlock the cells.

It sure doesnt feel or look like anything related to a Terminator movie and its portrayal of the world and machines (which it personified) is as far from Cameron's world as possible. Gone are alien , dark techno pyramids and terminators who are just hardware, corridors with no lights, door knowbs or any human features, replaced with Office buildings and machines who perfectly understand human beings and even act like them

That's machines' neat office!

What happened to the darkened, sleek steel, monumental pyramids without any human features
From T2 script

This place was designed by machines for machines. The
architecture is alien, without aesthetics, without even
such human basics as doorknobs and lights.

This place is one of Skynet's toys.
A machine built by machines.It is
like nothing which has ever existed
  before. Before today, no human had
seen this place

(Screenshots from James Cameron's T2 3D)

The fact that John Connor is able to unlock the cells is dumb. John Connor is already inside the trap. Just throw the machines at him right now. Don't allow him to cause a whole bunch of havoc. After all, Skynet was trying to bait the Resistance into attacking. Shouldn't there be a gigantic army of machines ready to kill John Connor and anyone else who approaches the base?

Oh, no! Talking monitors! The only thing worse than having Skynet talk to people is having Skynet talk to people with the attitude exhibited by Serena's image. The unique and great thing about the first two movies were that machines were actually machines in every meaning of this word. All other cyborg movies depicted them as just artificial people. With personalities. Cameron's vision of Skynet was just a power core, a being which did not understand human feelings and simply calculated, wasn't malicious or greedy. It was a system that wrongly calculated that the biggest threat for men are the men themselves, so they needed to be eradicated. It became self aware, so it wanted to "survive" and continue it's programming. It was never some artificial, cocky and bitchy computer person who gained feelings

Skynet finally revealed!
Thank god it can't be the emotionless core that was presented by Cameron

We get some obligatory exposition explaining what Marcus is, as if that wasn't clear six months before the movie released. We also get a brief graphic of a Skynet Control Chip so that Marcus' act of defiance makes sense later. And we also see some clips from Marcus' POV that make it clear that Skynet knows plenty about John Connor and Kyle Reese. How smart to show Marcus how is he controlled and where his chip is located.

Meanwhile, John Connor is still looking for Kyle Reese, who is still locked in his cell. He encounters Star, whose sole purpose in this scene is to rack up a few more seconds of screen time. She doesn't do anything except run when John Connor tells her to.
Cutting back to Marcus, we get more exposition that reveals the shutdown signal was a trap. We see that Skynet is going after Resistance Command, which according to Skynet is west of the state of Washingon and south of Alaska. With more annoying attitude, "Serena" essentially claims that humans are gullible and that the war will end tonight--just with a different outcome than what the humans planned.

Pacific Ocean, either hundreds of miles west of Washington, or just off the coast of San Francisco, California
An HK is streaking toward the command submarine that is foolishly broadcasting the signal despite being nowhere near the combat area. As Ashdown tries to get the assault on Skynet back on track, the radar system the submarine shouldn't be able to use picks up an HK heading for their position. Losenko figures out a bit too late that they screwed themselves over. The HK waits for Losenko to explain what they did wrong, then blasts the submarine from above
Back at Skynet Central, "Serena" just won't shut up. Not only is she maintaining her annoying attitude, but she adds a liberal dose of cockiness to the mix. Not only does she call Marcus the perfect infiltrator, conveniently ignoring some serious drawbacks like the ones about to manifest themselves, but she has the nerve to talk as if John Connor is already dead when he is very much alive. If this Skynet knows so much about the past, why doesn't it seem to know that John Connor and his mother are frickin' hard to kill?

Skynet Central
John Connor is still searching for Kyle Reese.
How does John's little computer manage to pull off real-time tracking? Did Skynet offer a line of USB GPS receivers that John could plug into his Sony VAIO to use Skynet's satellite network? Did the Resistance make their own ultra-sensitive receivers that overcome the limitations of the real-world GPS system? Is a GPS system even functioning post-Judgement Day? It's amazing that Skynet has no defense against consumer-grade electronics developed at the turn of the millennium. I suppose we'll just assume that Skynet provided the technology to the Resistance to make sure John Connor gets where he's supposed to.
John slowly approaches the cell that Kyle is supposed to be in and cautiously peers into the window. He makes no effort to open the door or check out the large status panel which actually shows who's inside!.

He's inside a Skynet base and time is ticking away. Why is he wasting all this time when the cell block is almost deserted now? Does he think Skynet isn't going to notice a mob of fleeing prisoners and wonder what's going on? Shouldn't he be in a hurry to check the cell and either open it or move on?
As John Connor dumbly stares at a hulking silhouette standing in the smoke, the Terminator shares its favorite knock-knock joke with John Connor. As it turns out, the punch-line involves an actual punch, and John Connor transforms into a cardboard cutout in time to get flattened by a door.

Amusingly, the crude effects don't stop there, as it turns out the "metal" door was made out of wood. We actually see the door splinter apart in two shots. From the cell emerges the contents of Skynet's trap...a lone, naked T-800?! Did Skynet really think just one completely unarmed Terminator would be enough to take out a hardened Resistance fighter? Where's the army of machines? Where's the poison gas? Where the "blow up the entire stupid base to be sure he's dead"? Skynet might as well have left Kyle Reese in that cell for him.
Look at that. John Connor was just bowled over by what should have been a metal door moving at high velocity, but he's just fine and capable of firing back immediately. Since they can't make John Connor smart, they have to make up for it by making him bullet-proof.
Connor unloads thirty rounds of ammunition into an unimpressive CG rendering, to little effect.
At such close range against a stationary target, is it really too much for John Connor to shoot the Terminator in the head? I guess if he did that we couldn't marvel at the lackluster CG face that looks less like Arnold than the prop heads built for previous movies. Instead of trying to damage the Terminator, John Connor decides to unload all his ammo into what may be the most heavily armored part of a Terminator.
Hi's rifle has an underslung shotgun mounted to it. So why is he reaching for a magazine stupidly placed on his arm instead of shooting the Terminator with the shotgun? Being on a "stealth" mission, he shouldn't have had cause to shoot at anything prior to this point, so the shotgun should be fully loaded.

After an awkward cut in which the Terminator suddenly appears on the opposite side of John Connor, who has flipped over onto his knees, the Terminator prepares to land a killing blow...but instead of doing so, the Terminator just throws John Connor through the air! Has Skynet forgotten to tell the Terminator that this is an absolutely critical target that should be dealt with quickly and decisively?
Connor is thrown into the corner of a rack of server hardware, which collapses inward from the impact, even though there should be a heavy duty mounting rail at each corner of the rack. John Connor should have been critically injured from such an impact, but instead he gets right back up.

And what happened to John Connor's rifle? He had no problems retaining possession of it when slammed by the door, since it was on a sling. But suddenly when he's about to be thrown he doesn't have it anymore. Amusingly, after he hits the server rack, we see that he has the shotgun attachment in his hand (not to be confused with the grenade launcher), but not the rifle it was attached to.
John Connor discards the shotgun attachment, and swings his grenade launcher at the Terminator's face.
The Terminator again grabs John Connor and randomly launches him through the air. I'm ok with Terminators throwing people, but only when it's effective. The Terminator in the original threw Matt around, but threw him directly into nearby obstacles, and it took only four throws to kill him. This Terminator could slam John Connor into any number of nearby obstacles, but instead throws him into as much empty space as possible. Not to mention that in the original, he wanted to first kill matt with a killer blow in the head that punched through the pillow

John Connor hits a wall upside-down, then lands on his head, but still has no problems recovering.
We cut to Kyle in his cell. Nobody has released him, but a T-600 approaches and opens his cell...
Moving on to Marcus, "Serena" is still talking to Marcus, trying to convince him to accept his place among the machines.
Why was Skynet in such a hurry to reactivate Marcus? Wouldn't it have made a lot more sense to wait until John Connor and Kyle Reese were already dead? And why is Skynet trying to recruit Marcus, anyway? Just because he's responsible for the deaths of a few people doesn't mean he's going to jump at the chance to turn against all of humanity. Most murderers don't hate all of humanity. And in case Skynet has forgotten, Marcus actually liked Kyle and Star enough to try to rescue them. Plus, he got along with Blair just fine. Stupid, stupid Skynet. One would expect a machine entity that hated humanity enough to try to nuke it out of existence might not be particularly interested in forming alliances with humans and giving them enhanced abilities.
In defiance of Skynet, Marcus decides to engage in some masochism. He rips a control chip out of the back of his head. What a stupid place for a control chip. It makes it susceptible to damage from external impact.
On the other hand, who cares if it gets damaged when it seems to be entirely useless? Marcus had a vague urge to go north, but that's it. Otherwise, everything he did appeared to be more the result of free will than any effort to fulfill some sort of programming. It was incredible luck--not programming--that led to his encounters with Kyle Reese and John Connor. And the chip apparently had no real-time communication capability. If the chip could control Marcus at all, he probably wouldn't have had the desire to remove it, let alone the ability to rip it out.
"Serena" of course is not happy with Marcus' actions. The expression on "Serena's" face, the twitchy shaking of the head, and more attitude reinforce the fallacy of giving Skynet any sort of "personality". It's pretty bad when GlaDOS from Portal can be taken more seriously as a malevolent entity than "Serena".
Gratuitous shot of "Serena" being "destroyed". While Marcus destroying the monitor displaying "Serena" made sense, the execution of the scene was terrible. "Serena" turns to line up perfectly with the camera and does the gratuitous red-eye glare right before the screen is shattered. The fact that "Serena" appears to be facing the audience also has the effect of breaking the fourth wall.

Marcus begins to search for John Connor.but he can't do so in dorky hospital clothes. He wastes valuable seconds scavenging another outfit off another dead Resistance fighter.

John Connor's base
With the assault on Skynet postponed/canceled, nobody has anything better to do than loiter on the tarmac outside the base. A truck drives up with a message for Barnes and Kate.
Why is it that the most important people at the base don't bother to carry radios with them?
It's amazing that John Connor's radio works all the way from Skynet Central. Nobody should have been able to receive his call for help. Not only that, but Skynet's plan was to lure the Resistance into an attack. John Connor is making sure everyone walks into a trap.

Skynet Central
There's a prison break in progress, so why does Skynet pick this particular time to start running experiments on Kyle Reese? For that matter, if he's such a high-priority target, why has Skynet blown half-a-million opportunities to kill him? This is Skynet's last chance to kill Kyle Reese right now. He's pinned to a table by the T-600 and is pretty much helpless at this point. But no, it's better to give Kyle Reese a CAT scan than to kill him.

The T-600 has been ignoring everyone else running around in a panic, so why is it that Star is suddenly more important to deal with than Kyle? And even stupider, Star was already in front of the T-600. There was no reason for the Terminator to let go of Kyle Reese, let alone turn away from him, but that's exactly what it does. At least Kyle Reese knows an opportunity when he sees one. He wastes no time taking advantage of the opening and doing what little he can to the T-600.

Amusingly, the accuracy of this T-600 isn't any worse now than the one from before, but at least there's an excuse for this one missing wildly.
John Connor starts moving toward the sound of gunfire as he attempts to evade the T-800 that is in no hurry to find him or kill him. He turns a corner and happens to stick a grenade launcher in Kyle's face.
Connor sees two scared humans, and he keeps pointing a weapon at them that will turn them into pink mist if he gets too trigger-happy. With a T-800 on his tail, and evidence of a T-600 somewhere ahead, maybe holding a grenade launcher on two children isn't the best tactical decision.

John Connor finds out that he just located Kyle Reese, and even then he's in no hurry to move the grenade launcher away from him. The T-600 starts shooting again now that the dramatic reveal is over.
Kyle hears the shooting and immediately attempts to flee. Kyle is arguably the smartest person in this movie, since he has the good sense to react to danger.
Connor lets himself go into a trance again, and almost doesn't react in time to grab Kyle. John tries to avoid the T-600 that is shooting at everything except him.and fails miserably. Somehow he catches a random shot in the back of his left shoulder, which he visibly reacts to. There's even a bullet hole in his clothing. But John Connor really is bullet-proof, because instead of recoiling in pain or losing the use of his left arm, he just turns around aims in the direction of the T-600.
Meanwhile, the T-800 walks up to the T-600 that is still shooting as if it drank a six-pack of beer first. The T-800 walks up, impossibly rips the top half of the T-600 from the lower half, and simply discard it. The T-800 doesn't bother to throw the chunk of Terminator at John Connor and it doesn't bother to pick up the minigun!!! It just drops the torso and allows John Connor to shoot it with the grenade launcher.

The Terminator doesn't react appropriately to the shots, particularly the second shot. It's recovery pose is completely unnatural.
Recognizing the futility of continuing to shoot at the Terminator, John whirls around and shoots a hole in the was as an avenue of escape. I can't say I'm too impressed with John Connor's tactical skills if he lets himself get painted so far into a corner that the only way out is to blow a hole in a wall and leap into the unknown...

Terminator factory
Nobody bothers to look before jumping into the hole, which is too bad, because they're in for a rough landing. Two stunt-doubles and a dummy land on a large, painful looking rack of Terminator skulls. At least I hope Star was portrayed by a dummy in that scene. If not, whoever that was landed face-first on a skull and wasn't moving.

The factory is too gimmicky, inefficient, and nonsensical. The large, horizontal rack of skulls was cheesy to my eye. It looked more like a store display rack than a supply of parts queued for assembly. The claw getting confused and almost picking up John's head annoyed me, as well as it just randomly picking up a skull instead of working in an orderly fashion. Despite just having seen completed skulls that weren't attached to a body yet, we then see a shot where an incomplete skull is already attached to a body and one eye is installed. Apparently there are two separate stations for eye installations, as one eye was already installed when it moved to the eye installer machine. We also see jaws attached to incomplete skulls that are already on bodies. The characters skulk around checking out the factory as it operates, but unless one pays careful attention, it just looks like robot arms randomly waving around a stationary line. It feels more like a Terminator storage closet than an assembly line cranking out an army of death machines. We already saw a great example of what a Terminator assembly line could be with the T2 teaser trailer. That idea should have been expanded on instead of making this lethargic assembly line that looks inactive.

Take your pick. Car factory...
Or futuristic, darkened scifi assembly

As the characters gape at all the partially assembled machines, none of them are worried about the Terminator that was trying to kill them just seconds ago. Even worse, the Terminator didn't jump in the hole after them. Was it afraid of getting hurt or something?

Star sees the Terminator fuel cells and attempts to grab one, thinking someone might need her to make one materialize later. John Connor stops her, reminding her the object needed was a detonator, not a fuel cell. He goes on to explain what the fuel cells are for and their destructive potential. Suddenly, the elevator comes down and Kyle grabs John's grenade launcher. John Connor uses the shotgun attachment from his rifle. I'd love to see him fire that thing without a pistol grip. He's holding it in one hand by the magazine, with his other hand on the trigger. Unfortunately, he never gets a chance to fire it, as the elevator is empty. The T-800 appears behind everyone, and rushes John Connor.
T-800 doesn't bother to grab him or do anything that would really ruin his day. The CG endoskeleton had numerous unnecessary redesigns of the endo from the first two movies. The original endos were modelled and built AFTER Winston shop took a mold of Arnold's body so they can construct a skeleton that would actually fit in his body. The CG endo has much larger proportion, much wider shoulders etc, and it would never fit inside a human body of Arnold.

Bodybuilding endoskeleton?

Also, instead of full teeth of the original movies, we yet again get a set of short baby teeth like in T3. T:S missed the idea of infrared as well. The vision of the Terminators from the first two movies really did look like a display of some digitized mechanical device, with slightly diffused vision and strong whiteouts. In here like in T3, its exactly like human vision just in red

There was no reason for John to take out the detonator in the first place, and he put it away before the T-800 hit him. Yet we see the detonator skitter away for no reason but to give Swiss Army Girl one more opportunity to be useful.Kyle comes out of a roll and shoots the T-800.
The previous grenade hits had virtually no effect on the T-800. But now this last hit inexplicably launches the T-800 at least 50 feet. Once again the needs of the story triumph over logic and consistency.

Star sees the remote and knows what she must do...
Everyone runs to the relative safety of the elevator, and are about to escape when John realizes that he hasn't wired the fuel cells to explode. He abandons Kyle and Star to go back to rig the explosives.
Connor has called Resistance forces to come to his aid--the same forces that were prepared to bomb Skynet Central. Why does he need to put himself at incredible risk to destroy the place when he has an army of troops on the way that can do the job? It's even worse when one considers that he abandons his father in a facility theoretically full of killer machines. I thought he wanted Kyle to live.
The dialogue exchange between Kyle and John is painful. Kyle's lines are generally ok, but John's are just terrible. And the conversation ends with more name dropping. This movie was chock-full of contrived excuses for the full names of various characters to be revealed to other characters.
Kyle has been spending the whole movie yelling out the names of various machines, but somehow he can't tell John Connor that there's a Terminator behind him.
John Connor sees the Throwinator and actually tries to engage in melee combat, conveniently forgetting how useless that was just minutes ago.

The Throwinator punches John Connor, sending him well over 20 feet. It also relieves John Connor of his grenade launcher at the same time.
Throwinator blows a golden opportunity to shoot John Connor with his own grenade launcher. It also blows an opportunity to crush the grenade launcher and render it inoperable. Instead it throws it aside so John Connor can retrieve it later.
Connor is still moving sluggishly thanks to being punched by the Terminator. It accommodates John Connor's temporary injury by moving as slowly as possible.
As the Throwinator slowly moves towards John Connor, he manages to fire two shots from his shotgun attachment without hurting himself. Strangely, after two shots he's already reloading, even though those magazines should hold five rounds. The Terminator throws a punch at John Connor that misses, then John Connor smacks the Terminator in the head. Instead of throwing John Connor into one of the many sources of fire in the factory, it throws him onto a surface that won't kill him. Then it picks him up and pins him to the wall by his neck. Instead of crushing John Connor's windpipe or snapping his neck, the Terminator waits for the sudden arrival of Marcus, so that he can save John from the T-800.

Marcus tackles the T-800 and begins grappling with it to keep it away from John Connor. John Connor runs back to the fuel cells and starts wrapping det-cord around them. Now that Marcus is around, suddenly the T-800 is interested in actually trying to get at John Connor. Since Marcus won't let him, the Terminator starts using real attacks, the kind that would have killed John Connor. The Terminator's attacks aren't working too well on Marcus, so it detects his heart and lands a punch timed to cause Marcus' heart to stop.
If the Terminator can do this, why didn't it do so to John Connor?!!!!
It's funny that the Terminator puts more effort into killing low-priority targets than into killing high-priority targets.
With Marcus dealth with, the Terminator goes hunting for John Connor.

Outside Skynet Central
The Resistance arrives, and one of the helicopters lands at the Skynet Central.
How is it even possible for the Resistance to get in the perimeter? Wasn't the whole point of Skynet's plan to lure the Resistance into an attack and blow them all to smithereens when the machines suddenly do not respond to the shutdown signal? Shouldn't there be a whole mess of machines specifically waiting and looking for a fight? Shouldn't the sentry turrets be back online? There were HK's flying around Skynet Central in earlier scenes. Where are they now? What about the T-1's and T-600's patrolling the base? Why aren't Harvesters jumping off of Transporters and going King Kong on the Resistance aircraft? We see no actual attempts by the machines to fight the Resistance invasion. The only sign of battle is the gunner of one helicopter shooting in the vicinity of the landing zone. Could Skynet's "ambush" be any stupider?
I finally found the scene where Barnes wears his sunglasses. He wears them on the nighttime invasion of Skynet. Smart idea there, Barnes. A Terminator may be able to get away with wearing tinted lenses in low-light conditions, but that's pretty stupid for a human to do.

Inside Skynet Central
John Connor sees that Marcus is not moving, and he then sees his grenade launcher. Despite all the injury inflicted in the last ten minutes, John Connor is moving around just fine. Suddenly, he hears Kyle's voice.
Having walked into an ambush, John Connor whips out his pistol and ineffectively shoots the T-800 several times. Needless to say, the pistol is completely ineffective. To get away from the Terminator, John Connor throws himself over the ledge.
Connor has been punched, thrown long distances into solid objects, choked--even shot. But all of that pales in comparison to deliberately tumbling over a railing. John Connor manages to do what the Terminator has failed to do the whole fight. He's crippled himself so badly he can't walk.
Despite jumping over the same railing that John Connor went over, the Terminator lands several steps away from John Connor.

As the Terminator walks toward John Connor, he recovers his grenade launcher and shoots at a container full of molten metal. A large volume of molten metal spills onto the Terminator, completely enveloping it.
Amazingly, without being able to walk, John Connor manages to be far enough away from the Terminator that none of the molten metal flows to him. It's all the more amazing since, as mentioned before, the Terminator should have landed right on top of him when it went over the railing.

As John Connor pushes away from the molten metal, he draws his pistol, which magically returned to his holster, even though it was in his hand when he went over the railing. The Terminator gets back up, covered in molten metal. I didn't expect the molten metal to completely melt the Terminator, but I did expect some damage. That's an incredible amount of heat to dump on a machine, and not everything in a Terminator is going to be made out of heat-resistant material. Being engulfed in molten metal is going to result in a far more massive transfer of heat than being subjected to an ordinary fire.
Oh, look. A source of liquid nitrogen or some other really cold substance. How convenient. The Terminator is now even closer than it was when John Connor dumped molten metal on it, yet somehow crippled John Connor manages to avoid freezing himself.
As the Terminator cools off, it finds it increasingly difficult to move toward John Connor.
With the limited movement it has left, the Terminator decides to give John Connor a cool scar, that involves pulling its hand away from John Connor's face. It could have done just about anything else, like poke his eyes out, shove the glowing arm into his face, grab him by the neck, or even fall on top of him. Not great attacks, but considering that much of the Terminator was very hot, all of those attacks would have been debilitating to some degree.
Having narrowly avoided death by the T-800, John Connor attempts to revive Marcus. Elbowing him in the chest isn't working, so he pulls some power lines out of a machine and attempt to pull off improvised defibrillation. Meanwhile, the Terminator isn't quite out for the count...

Amazingly, despite being encased in solid metal, somehow the Terminator is able to break its way out. The colder metal gets, the harder it becomes, so if the Terminator was being overwhelmed by the metal when it was still red-hot, it's not going to fare any better against metal at room temperature. And if the Terminator is so powerful that it can crunch its way out of solid metal, why couldn't it do any useful damage to John Connor?
John Connor manages to revive Marcus, but his victory is short-lived. The Terminator shoves a metal bar right through the center of John's chest. Marcus instantly reacts, snapping off part of the bar and using it to snap the Terminator's head off. Why couldn't Marcus do something like this earlier when he had that same bar?
Marcus turns to look back at John Connor, who's obviously dying. With several broken bones, a punctured lung, and significant damage to his circulatory system, he has minutes to live, at best.
Once Marcus starts hauling him out of the base, John Connor stops dying. Sure, John Connor should survive, but due to his incredible abilities, not because of an arbitrary plot device.
Swiss Army Girl to the rescue! John Connor never recovered the detonator, but that's ok because Star has it and they all piled into the same helicopter.

Star hands the detonator to John who detonates the explosives while the helicopter is still right over Skynet Central! Is he trying to blow himself up? Miraculously, the helicopter is not affected by the nuclear blast caused by nuclear fuel cells.

Temporary field hospital in the middle of the desert
A field hospital has been hastily put together to tend to John's injury.
More lame camouflage efforts. Most of the netting is used to serve as shelter for the hospital, not to conceal the helicopters, which are parked in plain sight in broad daylight.

They can't get John Connor back to base, but they can sit in the middle of the desert for over 12 hours? I though John's wounds were critical.
Wow, John Connor's scar sure is healing up nicely. Not bad for a gigantic gash that was ripped in his face only hours ago. No stitches, no bandages, nothing. not to mention its a different scar that that of the original Connor, who surely got his scar in a deadly combat, not by stupidly lying on the floor and getting scratched by a hot finger.

Thank god it's not the same Connor. He doesn't have the same scar

Marcus decides to donate his heart to a guy who tried to kill him last night. It just gets worse from there. Nobody bothers to address the potential for incompatibility or the fact that Marcus' heart has been through hell. Even if we assume that his body was entirely regenerated after his heart had been subjected to an explosion, river water, and an assortment of other contaminants, it was still subjected to a heart-stopping blow and was electrocuted by John Connor. Even if we assume that nothing is wrong with his heart and that there are no compatibility problems to worry about, they do this transplant in the middle of the desert, with no protection from wind and dust. As they undergo the procedure, we can even see the camouflage netting in the background. It's amazing that they were able to bring everything necessary for an organ transplant out to the middle of the desert, including a heart-lung machine, which is a bulky piece of medical equipment, and enough blood of John Connor's blood type. If the characters did nothing but pray for a miracle and all of a sudden John Connor was healed, that would have been less insulting than a successful organ transplant under such hostile conditions. And if John Connor could hold out for over 12 hours, why didn't they just take him back to base and perform the surgery there? That would have been less insulting than fixing him up in the middle of the desert.

As the movie draws to a close and the helicopters fly into the sunset, John Connor delivers an uninspired speech announcing that Skynet is far from defeated, but that they'll continue to fight until Skynet is destroyed.
Skynet ended up learning all sorts of information about John and Kyle's whereabouts throughout the movie. If Skynet develops time travel in this timeline, John and Kyle are in serious trouble because now Skynet knows exactly where to look for them. The only hope the Resistance has now is if Skynet remains as stupid as it has been throughout Terminator Salvation.