Unsolicited Advice: ‘Terminator 4’ And Beyond

Word today from Variety that a new series of “Terminator” films is in the offing. As usual I receive news of a revival of a beloved franchise with a mixture of excitement and raw searing dread. Here I focus on the dread.


1. Arnold Schwarzenegger shirtless. Frankly I never really enjoyed seeing him in that state in the first place, but now the passage of time and whoever’s catering at the Governor’s mansion has just made it a horrible horrible thing to behold. People, children can get into R-rated films! Be kind.

2. Don’t cast another dude to play John Connor. Quit while you’re ahead (or slightly behind) and go with a whole different character/storyline. Edward Furlong nailed the character in “T2″ (though in retrospect maybe his ability to hotwire cars and ATMs seemed to come a tad TOO naturally to him). Nick Stahl didn’t embarrass himself in “Terminator 3″. But this character is done. I think my favorite portrayal of him might be the voiceless one in the flash forward in the first Terminator.

3. Avoid any wink wink moments when a character turns to the camera and says “I’ll be back.” I think the last time I laughed at that line was when “The Running Man” was in theaters. And “The Running Man” hasn’t been in theaters in a long, long time.

4. For the casting of the next Terminator, don’t go the easy way. Think of The Terminator that worked best: Robert Patrick. Great actor, awesome presence, unlikely Terminator. Think of the Terminator that worked worst of all: Kristanna (“I never met a SCI FI Channel show I didn’t like”) Loken. See what happens when you go with a hottie over a cool great actor? Are we clear?

5. No second-rate James Camerons allowed. I wanted to like “Terminator 3″. Really, I did. But Jonathan Mostow, you’re not Cameron (and I even liked “Breakdown”). That’s nothing to be ashamed of. Few directors can come close to his precision and energy as a storyteller. If you’re going to breathe new life into the series, go A-list. Or at least go for someone young with some style. I don’t know…Juan Carlos Fresnadillo coming off “28 Weeks Later”?

6. Use the frickin’ music! The fact that “Terminator 3″ didn’t use the original theme at least sparingly throughout the flick was serious mistake numero uno.

7. Use Michael Biehn! He’s back, baby! Did you see “Grindhouse”? Oh right…probably not.

Think I’m way off and spouting off like a moron? You sound like my mother. Comment away below.