...and the lesbian is the only one who hates it. Doesn't it just figure?
Now, I'll grant you, there are chases and special effects out the wazoo, and ordinarily that would be enough for a perfect summer movie. But dammit, I feel like I grew up with the characters in the Terminator series. I saw Sarah Connor evolve from a waitress to a hardened survivalist. I saw her son John take the first baby steps towards being the leader of the future human revolution against the machines.
So how could any screenwriter worth his salt (John Brancato, Michael Ferris, and Tedi Sarafian, who aren't) turn John (Nick Stahl) into such a milquetoast loser? How could director Jonathan Mostow settle for rehashing the original Terminator as
homage parody, when there are so many other stories that need to be told?
For example, Kate Brewster (Claire Danes). Within hours, she goes from shopping with her fiancé to desperately trying to stop a nuclear war. How does she deal with it? How can she? What does she share with Sarah from the first two movies, and how is she different? Damned if I know. Danes is a fine actress and could have done an incredible job with a properly written role, but except for one memorable scene the producers could have replaced her with a cardboard cutout stamped "GENERIC GIRLFRIEND" and used the savings for even more F/X.
And Ah-nuld. What are we to say about Ah-nuld? I love that the aging icon can poke fun at himself. Case in point: his Terminator is now an obsolete model, and a well-used model at that. Heh. I like the guy. I've watched almost every movie he's been in, even The Last Action Hero. But there are so many jarring, self-deprecating jokes that T4 should just abandon the pretense altogether and cast Leslie Nielsen as the Terminator.
In the movie's defense, I will say this: Kristanna Loken, as the evil cyborg babe, is totally convincing as a wooden-faced, soulless machine.
My advice is to wait until the movie hits the local cinema drafthouse and get drunk on cheap beer while watching it. If you don't care about that human-relationships stuff in your summer movies, you'll get laughs and explosions and a fun time out of it. And if you do care, at least it'll numb the pain.