Writer: John Brancato, Michael Ferris
Stars: Christian Bale, Sam Worthington, Moon Bloodgood, Helena Bonham Carter
Runtime: 115 min
Genre: Action, Sci-Fi
Released: 21 May 2009
Synopsis: In 2003, in the Longview State Correctional Facility, the criminal Marcus Wright is on death row, and is convinced by the cancerous Dr. Serena Kogan to donate his body to her research and he accepts. In 2018, after an unsuccessful attack to a Skynet facility, only John Connor survives, but he discovers that Skynet is developing the powerful new model T-800. Out of the blue, Marcus appears naked and with amnesia in the location. Marcus befriends the teenager Kyle Reese and the girl Star who help him to survive the lethal machines and they travel together in a Jeep. Meanwhile the resistance discovers a signal that might turn-off the machines and John offers to test it. When Kyle is captured by a machine and brought to the Skynet headquarters, Marcus decides to help the youngster and heads to Skynet; on the way, he saves Blair Williams who suggests to him that he should meet John Connor first. But Marcus steps on a mine and is submitted to surgery, when a secret about his origins is disclosed.
In 2003, Dr. Serena Kogan (Helena Bonham Carter) of Cyberdyne Systems convinces death row inmate Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington) to sign his body over for medical research following his execution by lethal injection. One year later, the Skynet system is activated, perceives humans as a threat to its own existence, and eradicates much of humanity in the event known as Judgment Day (see Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines). In 2018, John Connor (Christian Bale) leads an attack by the Resistance on a Skynet base. John discovers human prisoners and the plans for the development of a new type of Terminator incorporating living tissue, but is the only apparent survivor of the attack after the base is destroyed in a small nuclear explosion. However, Marcus emerges from the wreckage of the base and proceeds on foot to Los Angeles.
John returns to Resistance headquarters located aboard a nuclear submarine and tells General Ashdown (Michael Ironside), the current leader, of his discovery. Meanwhile, the Resistance has discovered a radio frequency capable of shutting down Skynet machines. They plan to launch an offensive against the Skynet base in San Francisco in four days, in response to an intercepted “kill list” indicating that Skynet plans to kill the Resistance’s command staff in four days’ time. John learns that his own name is second on the list, following Kyle Reese. The Resistance leaders are unaware of Kyle’s importance to Skynet, but John knows that it is because Kyle will later become his father (see The Terminator). John meets with his officer Barnes (Common) and wife Kate (Bryce Dallas Howard) and sends radio broadcasts to Resistance members and surviving civilians around the world.
Arriving in the ruins of Los Angeles, Marcus is saved from a T-600 Terminator by Kyle Reese (Anton Yelchin) and his mute companion Star (Jadagrace Berry). Kyle relates to Marcus the events of Judgment Day and the ensuing war between humans and machines. Hearing John’s radio broadcast, the three leave Los Angeles in search of the Resistance. On the way, they are spotted by a Skynet spy drone that identifies Kyle. They manage to destroy it and escape into the desert.