I wouldn’t say I’m a “fan” of Christian Bale, but I did enjoy him in movies like American Psycho, The Machinist, The Prestige and even Batman Begins, but the more I watch him lately I’m coming to the conclusion that he’s just not a good actor. Ok, ok, I know that Terminator Salvation was not the greatest movie in the world and McG apparently can’t direct his way out of a paper bag, but even the lines that Bale spoke in this movie were just ridiculous.
Terminator Salvation is the 4th film in the series and follows John Connor (Bale) as he tries to rescue Kyle Reese from being killed by the machines, which he has to succeed in doing since Kyle Reese is his father and if he doesn’t survive then Connor cannot send Reese back in time to protect his mother and subsequently knock her up. I get a headache sometimes when trying to piece together everything that has happened in the Terminator series because some of it just doesn’t make sense, like where does Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles fit in to all of this?
But anyways, the movie itself wasn’t very good, it wasn’t the worst thing I’ve seen this year, but it wasn’t good. And my biggest complaint about it isn’t even the directing, but the fact that they tried way to hard to pay homage to the past Terminator flicks. I can think of a few instances off the top of my head where they just stole scenes or lines from the previous films. For example, when Marcus Wright first meets Kyle Reese, the first thing Reese says to him is “Come with me if you want to live”, which was uttered by Arnold in part 2 and I believe it was also said by Reese in part 1 (it’s been a while since I’ve seen the original). Then there is scene where Reese and Wright are trying to escape from motorcycle Terminators. Reese and Wright are driving in a modified big rig trying to get away when they notice that the one motorcycle has disappeared, but of course it reappears as it jumps off a bridge and lands in front of the truck they are driving. This is exactly the same as in Terminator 2 when John Connor is being chased by the T-1000 and Arnold takes his bike off the bridge, landing in front of the semi truck. Then of course we get John Connor playing “You Could Be Mine” by Guns N Roses to try to lure out a motorcycle terminator and of course that song was the theme song of the T2. We also get to see him use the sweet computer hacking skills he learned from T2 and hacking ATM machines, to gain access to skynet later in the movie. There are also multiple instances of single handed shotgun pumps which of course Sarah Connor made popular in T2 and the use of molten steel to destroy a Terminator, even the catwalk/shotgun scene in “Salvation” is almost identical to the same scene at the end of T2. It just seemed like they were trying way to hard to make this movie something that it wasn’t. And from what I read, the early leaks of the script were fairly decent, but some how something got lost in translation. Whether that was the director wanting to take things in a different direction or just the director fucking up based on the writing, I don’t know, but the final product is not something I would be proud of.
Which leads me to Christian Bale. I’m not sure if he just had a shitty shooting script to work with or what, but his acting is pretty bad in this one. One scene that particularly stands out to me is right near the beginning. There is an explosion after the resistance attempts to break into a skynet facility and Connor is the only one to survive. He’s outside laying next to his downed helicopter talking on a radio. Now I assumed that he was just disoriented from the blast and maybe he couldn’t hear the guy on the other end of the radio very well, but the way he delivered the 1 line answers to the radio were just awful, almost cringe worthy. And he answered the dude’s every question so he must not have lost that much hearing, so why the god awful yelling… He was also using his batman voice which annoyed me. When he talks normal, he sounds fine and it makes his acting seem better, but when he tries to pull out that rugged, raspy voice he just ends up sounding like an idiot.
And yes, this is the movie that spawned the “Christian Bale Freak Out”, yet I can’t find a single scene in the movie that was as intense or engaging that would cause someone to lose their cool over some dude walking past in the background. I get maybe if you’re doing a really passionate love scene or something deep like that, you wouldn’t want people walking around in the background distracting you, but this is Terminator… The only slightly emotional scenes with Bale in them were when he would listen to his mothers cassette tapes to him (which was Linda Hamilton’s voice which was cool), but even that was just him sitting at a table. People walk past me all the time when I’m sitting at a table listening to my iPod, but it doesn’t distract me….
I don’t know, like I said, I liked Bale in some of his earlier movies, but it seems that with the success of the Batman franchise he feels that he needs to step up and be this macho, badass dude that talks like someone who’s been smoking since the womb. What do you guys think of Bale as an actor? What did you think of Terminator Salvation?