The Seven Biggest Loopholes in Terminator Salvation

May 26, 2009

People who have never seen any of the Terminator movies will probably have a lot of fun watching Terminator: Salvation. Because, let’s be honest, it’s a fun movie with great visuals and (just barely) enough action to keep us on a post-apocalyptic thrill ride. But hard core Terminator fans won’t be able to avoid the fact that there are more holes in this movie than a hunk of Swiss cheese. Spoiler alert!

Source: Warner Bros. Pictures

7. The Terminators aren’t good at terminating people.

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Source: Warner Bros. Pictures

Why is it that every time a Terminator gets its hands on someone (especially John Connor), it gives him or her a hundred chances to escape, fight back or just not die in general? It seems as if the first course of action for an unarmed Terminator would be to snap, strangle, or crush whatever it gets its hands on.

Instead they use the ol’ toss-‘em-till-they-die routine which, if the movie is any indication, has a very low percentage of success. Maybe the machines get smarter in the future, because it doesn’t take Arnold’s T-800 very long to kill people when he gets down to business. I can’t remember a single Terminator from Salvation successfully taking out a human with its bare hands.

Oh, yeah -- and why can’t any of these killing machines aim better than a little league pitcher? With Terminators this incompetent it seems like the resistance could’ve just sent an email with a virus to Skynet and ended the war years ago.

6. John Connor communicates via FM radio.

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Source: Warner Bros. Pictures

Most humans who’ve survived Judgment Day are clever enough to live underground, inside crumbled buildings, and pretty much live like quiet little hermits. The machines have become so pervasive that the drop of a pin brings them to your neighborhood.

So why does John Connor use FM radio as his way of communicating with the rest of the world? Does Skynet just really, really hate top 40 radio? They’re able to hone in on just about every other noise or movement humans make, but they’re unable to track or jam up FM radio? Seems like it’d be pretty easy to find where humans were hiding out by simply tracking every place FM radio signals were being received -- or, if nothing else, the place from which they were being sent  (i.e., John Connor’s base). I guess that’s a little too advanced for machines that send flesh-covered robots back in time.

5. Marcus Wright is given free will and thus programmed to side with the humans.

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Source: Warner Bros. Pictures

Somehow Marcus is able to find Kyle Reese in a desolate, war-ravaged Los Angeles inhabited by no more than, apparently, two humans. But he finds him. Unfortunately for the machines, they were clever enough to put together a contraption good enough to fool people into thinking he was human, but they weren’t clever enough to make him fulfill his purpose: to kill humans!

Why would Skynet program Marcus to have free will – or, worse yet, side with the humans? To infiltrate the resistance and bring Reese and John Connor to Skynet, right, I get that. But why? So that Skynet can do a little victory dance in front of their faces before terminating them? Because if Skynet is in the business of killing humans -- Reese and Connor more specifically -- then it seems like they might have saved a lot of steps if they’d just programmed Marcus to kill humans!

Furthermore, if Marcus gave his body to Skynet in 2003, then how is it even possible Skynet could have premeditated the conversion of his mind/soul/whatever into a resistance infiltrator? And why is he recognized by Skynet as a friendly machine, but earlier in the movie other Terminators don’t recognize him and actively try to kill him (but are unable to, due to their terrible aim)?

The main character of Salvation is one of its biggest loopholes.

4. Skynet is a pretty easy joint to bust into.

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Source: Warner Bros. Pictures

All you gotta due is shut down the north gun tower, and you’re in like Flynn. Does that make much sense? Shouldn’t the mecca of the machines have slightly better security? Like, oh, I don’t know…air patrols, ground patrols, cameras, motion detectors, fishing wire tied around pots and pans – anything that might alert the central hub that its been busted into?

If it’s this easy to get in undetected, why hasn’t the resistance pulled this off before? Oh, that’s right -- they didn’t have the help of a human-friendly Terminator with a heart of gold. Which, fortunately, has the exact same blood type as that of John Connor. And doesn’t require immuno-suppressant drugs. But I digress.

Most maximum-level security prisons require more than taking out a single tower to break into. But not Skynet. Those machines are careless and clumsy!

3. The T-800 is nearly indestructible.

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Source: Warner Bros. Pictures

Which would be fine: we’ve seen the T-800 in action before and, yes, it is definitely difficult to take one of these suckers out with your bare hands. Good thing John Connor dumps a vat of molten metal onto it. But wait! We’re in McG world! All of a sudden the one thing we know will melt a T-800 into spare parts doesn’t do the trick anymore. Bummer!

However, despite the T-800’s invincibility, Marcus is able (with relative ease) to twist his head off his shoulders. Molten metal can’t kill it, but machine-on-machine head twisting does the trick.

And while we’re on Marcus again – not to beat a dead horse, but this thing really needs a beating -- why is it that his Cyberdyne CPU is implanted on the surface of the back of his head? If he can yank the thing out with his bare hands, wasn’t he in danger of sleeping on it wrong or bumping his head and destroying it? In the director’s cut of Terminator 2 we see that the T-800’s CPU requires a complicated series of steps the Terminator cannot perform himself to remove it. But Marcus’ chip just takes a little bit of scratching, like a nasty scab.

2. John Connor only has one T-800 to fend off in Skynet.

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Source: Warner Bros. Pictures

So as far as Skynet is concerned, here’s the future head of the resistance, snooping around headquarters without anyone or anything giving him much trouble. And then, BOOM, it’s the T-800 (CG Arnold) ready to tumble. But the real question is: why didn’t they sick the whole damn army on him?

Here you have John Connor, Skynet’s Most Wanted, and they send one Terminator to kill him in a factory of Terminators? They’ve been trying to kill this guy throughout time and space, and they finally have him right where they want him – and they send one Terminator? What, exactly, was the point of making all those other Terminators if they didn’t intend on using them at the key moment they might need a few? Talk about understaffing the war effort. Who’s running Skynet, anyway? Donald Rumsfeld? Fail!

1. John Connor and co. get away in their helicopter as Skynet goes up in a nuclear explosion.

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Source: Warner Bros. Pictures

How is it the EMP from the nuclear explosion didn’t instantly annihilate Connor and crew as they flew directly over it? Couldn’t they have waited a few more minutes before setting off the explosion? Did they really need to hit the little red button while they had absolutely no safe distance? Helicopters go down left and right in Salvation, but somehow this helicopter is impervious to electromagnetic pulses, radiation, and huge balls of nuclear flame.

This final loophole was the real kick in the crotch of our intellectual faculties. You can turn off your brain for a lot of the holes in this movie, but it’s pretty difficult to pretend like a nuclear explosion isn’t going to cause problems for anyone passing over it. Perhaps McG figured if you hadn’t left the movie theater by this point, you, too had probably ripped out the microchip in the back of your head.

 

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