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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Despite the constant violence, the movie's ultimate messages about the possibility of redemption and of sacrifice in the name of a greater good come through. The essential ethical nature of human behavior is discussed: "We aren't machines, and if we act like them, what's the point of winning?"
Positive Role Models
Marcus -- a one-time criminal -- repeatedly puts himself at risk for others, particularly Kyle, and ultimately makes a very noble choice. John is relentless in his goal of eliminating the machines and sometimes lets that get in the way of compassion; but he, too, is a hero in the end. Some of the other resistance leaders are inflexible and short-sighted.
Violence & Scariness
Extensive violence, much of it involving battles (hand-to-hand and with firearms) between super-strong robots and humans. There are also explosions (including a character getting blown up by a mine), crashes, shootings, stabbings, and assault with blunt objects; mutilated, wounded, and dead bodies are seen -- though there's not that much blood overall. Robots are burned with molten metal; the red-hot robots covered in jagged metal then attack humans. Gruesome medical/experimental imagery.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some kissing. A man and a woman snuggle up to share warmth.
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Mostly includes words like "hell" and "damn," but there are also a couple of uses of "s--t" and one of "f--k," plus "son of a bitch," "ass," and "God."
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Products & Purchases
It's good to know that Jeep and 7-Eleven make it through the apocalypse. ...
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that although this installment of the Terminator series is the first to earn a PG-13 rating instead of an R, Terminator Salvation is still extremely violent. There's not much actual blood, but there's plenty of broken flesh, bruises, and batterings. The film's tone is also quite intense, with constant attacks, life-or-death struggles, and scenes in which giant robots attack and abduct humans. While much of the violence is directed against robots, some of those robots are remarkably human-looking, which makes the gore and grim action a bit tougher to take than you might think. Characters also touch on heavy topics like morality, ethics, and redemption. There's a little bit of kissing, but hardly anything to worry about in the way of strong language, drinking, or smoking. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This movie is full of pretzel-logic time-travel philosophy and an over-the-top production jammed with effects and action. It feels less like an addition to the Terminator franchise than an ambling, throat-clearing side-track. Promised the ultimate war between humanity and machines, we instead get more of the same plot threads the franchise has already served up three times: the dangers of a fractured time-space continuum and the possibility that a robot designed to kill humans might come to know and feel for them.
Director McG has a firm hand on the big, blow-'em-up action set pieces, but the film founders in the spaces in between. Bale's Connor is a loud bore, even while Worthington infuses his thin role with a stiff shot of star power and rugged charisma. Terminator Salvation promises the last word in the franchise, but it's just a tale full of sound and fury and special effects, signifying nothing.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.