Christian Bale is about to scream on a Terminator for walking through set while he's filming.
Sometimes, when Ayo! Scott is in the heat of passion, his lucky conquests have accused him of being a Terminator-like cyborg. Not because he's tediously robotic but because he's a fuck-machine who never needs to stop for food or rest while killing the punani. Does that have anything to do with Terminator Salvation? In the words of Arnold Schwarzenegger's T-800: negative. Ayo! just thought you should know your lady-friend likes the rise of his machine.
Like many a robot-loving fanboy, Ayo! was skeptical when McG, director of such film "classics" as Charlie's Angels and Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, got his hands on this classic sci-fi property. He's not a visionary filmmaker like James Cameron, who wrote and directed The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day. How then could he reboot the series and recover from the scrap metal (emphasis on the "crap") that was Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines?
It turns out McG does have some vision, and it's beautifully bleak. In 2018, post-apocalyptic California is lit up by the sun for the first time in the history of the franchise, and it's crumbling, smoking and dust-covered, ruined either by Judgment Day or Governor Schwarzenegger's term in office. Ashy Los Angeles is deserted save for two kids, which isn't all that bad, considering the city is currently overpopulated with douchebags.
The franchise's fourth installment focuses on the development of the technology seen in the earlier movies. Terminators are still relatively primitive, Skynet having not yet created one that blends in with humans who have massive pecs and thick Austrian accents. The development of the T-800 infiltrator model, using human captives in sick experiments, is at the center of Terminator Salvation, which starts forebodingly with death row inmate Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington) donating his body to Cyberdyne's scientific studies in 2003. On the human side, John Connor (Christian Bale) is systematically fighting the machines but is not yet the leader of the human resistance; he's just a questionable cult leader who preaches about his mom's prophesies, referring to the cassette tapes she left him as if they're holy texts.
Though man and machine mix it up in the movie, they work well together in the making of it. Quality CGI and actual life-sized Terminator robots balance well with strong performances from Bale, Australian newcomer Worthington and Anton Yelchin. Yelchin plays Kyle Reese in his teenage years, well before he'll travel back in time and impregnate his idol John Connor's mom with John Connor (lube your skull for that mind-fuck). As with all Terminator movies, the action is of utmost importance, and here the clash of metal and flesh is as intense and unrelenting as Ayo!'s aforementioned Terminator strokes (Ayo! would like to sincerely apologize for your girl's concussion).
Sadly, like Skynet's machines, the flick is not without its weaknesses. Ayo! doesn't like to delve too deep into issues of time travel in sci-fi films for fear of ruining the fun, but it makes zero sense that John Connor should be baffled by human-machine hybrids. He did, after all, become homies with Schwarzenegger in T2, and he's aware that his mom and father were once pursued by this same model. Also, McG would have done well to terminate a few pointless characters, like Star (Jadagrace), Reese's mute-girl sidekick who does little more than look cute and shut the hell up, but who still gets a lot of screen time needlessly. Then there's the undying issue of the rapper/actor. Common, who plays Barnes, one of Connor's loyal resistance fighters, makes his rap name sound like an aspiration (if only he were as good as average). Ayo! suspects that Hollywood has latched onto him because he's a peace-loving, tofu-eating, affable, bohemian MC who shows up to set on time and doesn't intimidate people (he's no DMX, who might delay shooting by weeks for a crack binge, then pop up suddenly and assault anyone who tries to disturb him while he sleeps under a trailer). Perhaps studio execs think he's a draw for black audiences, but that assumes black people love shitty acting (burn Hollywood burn!). It takes special talent to butcher the line "Huh?" but Common manages to because, unlike his diet or the crocheted caps he used to wear, his delivery ain't all natural. He acts hard as unbelievably as he raps hard, which is why it's so frustrating that he keeps landing the role of steely-eyed soldier, steely-eyed assassin (Wanted, Smokin' Aces) or steely-eyed drug dealer (Street Kings, American Gangster). Ayo! thinks he might really shine in the RuPaul biopic. Then again, maybe not—he ain't that fierce.
These film farts are like viruses in the Terminator Salvation program, but McG does enough positive stuff that the franchise doesn't require another reboot, just a systems check. Hopefully in the next installment, which plans to deal with the development of time travel technology, Common will be sent back to the time of dinosaurs and eaten before the opening credits. If there's even the hint of that happening, Ayo! Scott will do like the Terminator and be back for more. Check out the trailer and decide if you're ready for some man-on-machine action.