Terminator Salvation is a 2009 American science fiction action film directed by McG and starring Christian Bale and Sam worthington.thumb|300px|right
In 2003, Doctor Serena Kogan of Cyberdyne Systems convinces death row inmate Marcus Wright 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" (as depicted in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines).
In 2018, John Connor leads a Resistance attack on a Skynet base. John discovers human prisoners and schematics for a new type of Terminator incorporating living tissue, but he is the only apparent survivor of the attack after the base is destroyed in a 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, the current leader, of his discovery. Meanwhile, the Resistance has discovered a radio frequency believed to be capable of sending an order to shut down Skynet machines. They plan to launch an offensive against the Skynet base in San Fransisco in four days, in response to an intercepted "kill list" indicating that Skynet plans to kill the Resistance's command staff in a week's time. John learns that his own name is second on the list, following a civilian named Kyle Reese. The Resistance leaders are unaware of Kyle's importance, but John knows that it is because Kyle will later become his father (as depicted in The Terminator). John meets with his wife Kate and his subordinate Barnes, and transmits a radio broadcast 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 and his mute child companion Star. Kyle informs Marcus about the war between humans and Skynet. Hearing John's radio broadcast, the three leave Los Angeles in search of the Resistance. They survive an attack, but Kyle, Star, and several other humans are taken prisoner.
Two Resistance A-10 airplanes are shot down when they try to intercept the machine transport and its escorts. Marcus locates downed pilot Blair Williams and they make their way to John's base, but Marcus is wounded by a magnetic land mine. Attempting to save his life, the Resistance fighters discover that he is in fact a cyborg, with a mechanical endoskeleton, circuitry, and a partially artificial cerebral cortex. Marcus believes himself to be human, but John thinks that Marcus has been sent to kill him, and orders his destruction. However, Blair helps Marcus escape from the base. During the pursuit, Marcus saves John's life from Skynet hydrobots, and the two make a bargain: Marcus will enter Skynet's headquarters and attempt to help John rescue Kyle and the other prisoners.
John pleads with Ashdown to delay the attack, but Ashdown refuses and relieves John of his command. However, the Resistance forces disobey Ashdown's orders and await John's signal. Marcus enters the base, interfaces with the computer, and disables the perimeter defenses so that John can infiltrate the cell block and release the human prisoners. Marcus discovers that he was created by Skynet in order to lure John to the base; when the Resistance launches its attack, John will be killed, achieving the goal that Skynet had failed to accomplish so many times. The radio signal that the Resistance's plan depends on is a ruse. Skynet uses the signal to track down and destroy the command submarine with the Resistance leaders aboard.
Marcus tears out the hardware linking him to Skynet and assists John in battling a new T-800 Model 101Terminator. John is mortally wounded during the fight, but succeeds in destroying the Skynet base by rigging several Terminator fuel cells to explode, detonating them as he, Marcus, Kyle, and Star are airlifted out. Kate attempts to save John's life, but his heart is too damaged. Marcus offers his own heart for Transplant, sacrificing himself to save John. Recovering, John radios to the other Resistance fighters that though this battle has been won, the war is far from over.