As the Resistance prepares for a massive invasion of Skynet forces to culminate in the destruction of Skynet Central, Skynet deploys a series of machines to capture two humans above all others: Kyle Reese and John Connor. After successfully capturing Reese and his companion Star, Connor finds out about this and goes on a solo mission to rescue Reese with the aid of Marcus Wright.
While searching through the prison cells of the Skynet R&D Facility, Connor finds one cell still occupied. He peers into the cell, but gets knocked back when the machine inside bursts out, revealing itself to be a prototype T-800 Infiltrator, with Model 101 living tissue. John immediately fires a burst of gunfire into its chest, but this does almost nothing to slow its advance as it grabs him by the scruff of the neck and hurls him across the room. John slams the butt of his rifle into the T-800's face, again with little effect, and the machine retaliates by once again throwing him across the room.
John manages to retreat to a laboratory where a disoriented T-600 was firing its mini-gun aimlessly due to sabotage. The T-800 follows him and encounters the flailing T-600 whereupon it swiftly bisects the machine. John blasts it twice with his grenade launcher, burning off its flesh sheath and revealing the metallic endoskeleton beneath. John then blows a hole in the wall and escapes with Kyle and Star into the Terminator Factory below the laboratories.
The T-800 stalks them for some time, eventually finding them waiting for an elevator which they believe contains their pursuer. The T-800 is hiding behind an assembly line of Series 700 Terminators, however, and sneaks up on them and knocks John and Kyle to the floor. Kyle quickly blasts the machine with the grenade launcher, temporarily disabling it while he and Star escape into the elevator. Connor remains behind, however, and the T-800 attacks him once again, disarming him of his launcher and smashing him to the floor.
John tries to escape and confronts the machine upon a catwalk with a shotgun, but is unable to halt its advance and is subsequently thrown down to the lower level where it grabs him by the throat and almost kills him. John is saved by the timely arrival of Marcus, who charges the T-800 and pins it down, allowing John to crawl away. The T-800 ignores Marcus at first and tries to reacquire John, but Marcus's staunch persistence hinders its progress as he struggles to hold it back.
The T-800 fights him off and slams Marcus against some machinery before hurling him into a metal drum, resulting in the skin on his hand being melted off. Enraged, Marcus charged the T-800 as it approached Connor's position. He shoved the machine into a pilon and proceeded to beat it with a piece of railing. The T-800 grabs his wrist, however, and pushes him away. It then picked up a cinder block and slammed Marcus repeatedly until the block shattered, after which it scanned Marcus' body, discovering his beating heart and identifying it as a point of vulnerability.
The T-800 delivered a crushing blow to Marcus' chest, the sheer force of which effectively stopped his heart and terminated him. It then tracked John to his last known location, but found him missing upon arrival. The T-800 remodulated its voice to mimic that of Kyle, and cried out for John to help it. Connor cautiously followed the voice, only to find the T-800 waiting for him. He fired several times with his pistol, but the machine was not daunted in the slightest.
John spotted his grenade launcher on the lower level beside Marcus' body and so he jumped down, landing hard with the T-800 right behind him. John managed to grab the launcher and fired at the vat of metal above the machine, causing it to spill over it. The T-800 was momentarily consumed by the metal, but rose out of the mass and continued its advance, so Connor fired his last remaining pistol bullet at a coolant pump nearby, freezing the metal on the machine's body and effectively trapping it like a statue.
Before it froze completely, however, the T-800 dug its fingers into John's face, creating the legendary scar on his left side. Connor then retreated to Marcus' side and tried to revive him, all the while the T-800 was slowly breaking free from the metal coating. After John succeeded in reviving Marcus with a power cable, the T-800 broke completely free and impaled Connor through the chest with the same piece of railing Marcus had used earlier.
Ironically, this would prove to be its undoing, as Marcus leapt to his feet and used the railing to decapitate the machine with ease, disabling it. The Terminator's chip was destroyed shortly thereafter when John blew up the entire facility by setting a bomb on the nuclear power cells.
DC Direct Busts
- The T-800 Terminator is described in the novel Terminator Salvation: Trial by Fire as being an updated T-700 endoskeleton fitted with the synthetic skin.
- In the novelization of the film, it is John Connor who destroys the T-800, not Marcus.
- The prototype T-800 is the first endoskeleton-based Terminator that actually speaks when he has been stripped of living tissue in the films.
- Given the way in which it was disabled, this Terminator was not immediately destroyed as its CPU was still intact. However, the destruction of the facility would have taken care of that.
- Despite ultimately failing in its mission to terminate John, as Connor was later saved via a heart transplant courtesy of Marcus, the T-800 ranks as the machine who came closest to terminating him in films until the introduction of the Guardian, and later Carl.
Behind the Scenes
- Digital makeup techniques were used to make Roland Kickinger resemble Arnold Schwarzenegger's appearance as the Terminator in the first film The Terminator.
- There is an alternate scene featuring the T-800's face getting blown away by Connor upon their encounter, in case Arnold Schwarzenegger didn't agree to use his face as digital makeup, which might lead people think he had idle time to participate filming than working as the governor. This version of events was retained in the novelization of the film.
- It is credited as T-800 in the staff roll of the Terminator Salvation film. This is the first film where a T-800 Model 101 is not credited as "The Terminator".
- There is an alternative scene where the T-800 picked up the Minigun of the destroyed T-600 as shown in a trailer.
- In the original final act, a T-800 was to accompany Dr. Serena Kogan. Another T-800 would fight Marcus when he helped get John to the helicopter.
- Terminator Salvation film
- Terminator Salvation game (iPhone edition)
- loaded issue 183, July, 2009, page 43