DVD: Terminator Salvation (12)

Though it may have no more than a few seconds of Arnie (and a digitally reconstructed version, no less), Salvation proves the Terminator franchise is still alive and just about kicking.

In a post-Judgement Day world where the scattered remains of the human race are hunted mercilessly by numerous variations on Schwarzenegger's original lean mean killing machine, Christian Bale is convincingly depressed as the man with the key to humanity's last chance of survival. As Bale barks his way through the film's nearly two-hour duration, his co-star Sam Worthington gets the more interesting role as a half-human, half-terminator hybrid on a quest to find out the truth about his own origins. In support, Anton Yelchin and the improbably named Moon Bloodgood both do a fine job of keeping the action bounding along.

There are scenes from which the artistically minded could imply some kind of figurative import – depictions of scores of justifiably miserable humans being traipsed around robot death camps spring to mind – but in truth Salvation takes the wise step of refusing to stray any great distances from the action movie foundations that set the franchise in motion a quarter of a century ago. With plenty of explosions and gunfights, it's fast-paced enough to gloss over the plot's almost inevitable shortcomings, while just engaging enough to avoid charges of vacuity.