Admission: I haven't read up on any Terminator Salvation theories, ideas, or for that matter any reviews, so if this is all old hat you'll have to excuse me.
1. First off, the obvious holes in the plot. A field hospital would not be sterile or well equipped enough to handle a heart transplant. The likelihood that the heart was a match are nil, and good luck finding the antibiotics to fend off rejection.
It was ludicrous, a plot point worthy of a high school creative writing class, and there only to allow us to finish the film with the tired "humans have heart" voice-over.
2. What are the chances that the pilot would be a hot brunette with tight-fitting pants that showed off an impressive ass? Only in the movies.
3. I don't care how nice of a leader you are. If one of your soldiers disobeys orders, sets an enemy prisoner free, then aids and abets his escape, you don't let her rejoin the ranks.
You hang her from a tree and let the corpse rot there as a reminder to the rest of your men.
4. So Skynet has Kyle, and uses him as a Judas Goat to lure in John Connor and finish the deal. And I say . . . why? You're a global computer network capable of destroying mankind, and yet you don't see the big WTF here? Listen Skynet: Kill the father, you kill the son. No need to 'lure' him in, no reason at all. Put a bullet in Kyle's head and end the war.
5. On the surface you walk away saying "This was the first Terminator without time travel." Not so fast. How did Skynet determine that Kyle Reese was so important that he deserved to be on the top of the kill list? Magic? No, it is obviously aware of his importance to the story, (presumably) in his role as John's father. That necessitates time travel of some nature, or Skynet would be unaware of him at all.
6. Skynet is crushed and as a parting shot sends the original Terminator back in time, setting off the whole chain of events. If Skynet knows that mission will fail -and if they don't, why send something back to 2018 to try to influence events there? - then logic and self-preservation says in the future you don't send the Terminator back in the first place. blockquote>
7. Why hold onto a dead guy for 15 years? Why not recycle some schmuck you yanked in off the streets yesterday?
There's a great website out there that discusses time travel in films. I've linked to it on my sidebar for years but here it is again. Believe me, it's worth a look: Temporal Anomalies in Time Travel Movies
My take on the Terminator time travel problems? I think the series makes money, and so they're forced to go to the well each time and create more confusion in the timeline. But if we're going to play this straight, I have two ideas.
1. There are multiple co-existing time lines, each branching off from a signature event in the series. In one timeline Sarah is killed in 1984 and John is never born. In another the T2 effort succeeds and Judgment Day is averted. Perhaps Skynet is aware of this phenomenon and content to establish successful futures for itself, even if not in its 'current' timeline.
2. Perhaps Skynet is a true puppet master, arranging events in minute detail, and each 'failure' merely advances its grand (as yet unrevealed) design. Perhaps the future includes a world where John Connor is revealed as a Terminator himself, or where man and machine merge. Could Terminators be the 'true' future of the human race?