Republished from Thursday's editions.

'What day is it? What year?" asks the deeply disoriented dude who seems to have emerged from the primal ooze into a post-apocalyptic nightmare.

Well, they don't say what day it is, but the year is 2018.

In Terminator Salvation - fourth in the cyborgian series launched by James Cameron in 1984 - the man with the questions is Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington), and the weird thing is that at the beginning of the movie, he's strapped to a table in a California correctional facility being put to death for murder. In 2003.

Message to Hollywood: Stop with the time-travel stuff.

A dark-and-stormy sci-fi shoot-'em-up directed by McG (né Joseph McGinty Nichol), T4 has enough hardware and havoc to satisfy the crowd of action junkies and gamers who sped to X-Men Origins: Wolverine on opening weekend. (Terminator Salvation is a couple of liquid metal drops' more satisfying, but only a couple.)

Terminator Salvation ends with a baleful Christian Bale voice-over, a summation of the horrific man vs. machine business we've just witnessed, and a portent of the conflicts still to come.

- Steven Rea