Hey! Do you remember the cult-hit Kevin Smith movie Mallrats that graced the silver screen in 1995? Man. 1995. Those were the days…
All the kids and their crazy long hair, tying their flannels around their waists, wearing their Airwalk sneakers, listening to Bush (not the president…. the band) on their portable discman that used to DRAIN the AA batteries, as they go to the mall and waste the day away. You ever wonder what happened to all the people that starred in that film? I do. Well, up until this weekend, I did.
This weekend I rented yet another mockbuster movie to add to my ever-growing repertoire of bad films: The Terminators which stars the former Mallrats cutie-pie, Jeremy London. Now, this is either the third or the fourth mockbuster in a row that I’ve rented. My memory is starting to get hazy as one dumb movie is blending into another. I don’t know how much more I can stand. At this point it’s like intentionally slamming your hand in a car door. Sure, maybe you can do it once to show off how stupid you are to your friends while drunk. Two times in a row, you can’t hide the tears that are welling in your eyes. Four times in a row… you start thinking about a trip to the hospital because your ring finger is starting to look like a squashed grape.
Mentally, that’s pretty much how I felt after watching The Terminators. I do this to myself for you, dear readers. It’s out of love that I mentally scar myself, much like how Van Gogh cut off his own ear to give to the woman of his desires. Do you see how I show my love to you by hurting myself? No? Well… Then kindly return my mentally gifted ear. Thank you. To those of you who accept my psychic ear-gift, please read on.
The Terminators takes place just outside of future Los Angeles. Humanity has technologically evolved to the point where we can build cyborg slaves called TR units. To remotely control the TR units, we’ve also built a gigantic orbiting space station complete with Star Destroyer-like tractor beams and defense turrets. Apparently in the future, we’re much dumber than we are now, because instead of making all the robots look like Dita Von Teese, we make them all look look steroid junkies and dress them all in identical black tank tops and green cargo pants. Oh, and we give them all fully-automatic hand guns.
Need a TR unit to paint your house? Take this one that looks like he eats kittens for the crunchy enjoyment. He comes complete with his own gun for opening up those pesky paint cans.
Would you to take home a TR unit to make your Taco Bell runs for you? Then you can become the proud owner of this TR unit that looks like he uses the phrase “make you my bitch” at least once a day.
Need someone to cuddle with on those lonely nights after downloading terrabyte after terrabyte of hardcore pornography? You guessed it! The TR unit that looks like he starts fights at gradeschool football games is just for you! He’s truly the one-robot solution to all your fantasies no matter how mundane or filthy.
Seriously, pay attention, future selves! If we decide against my proposed Dita Von Teesebot design (patent pending), then at least give our future murderers SEMI automatic hand guns. It might give a few of us a running chance after we delete all the inappropriate material from our hard drives so our mothers / wives / husbands don’t realize what pigs we are after we’re dead.
Anyway, enough about my personal pron contingency plans… back to the plot.
All the world’s steroid-slaves go haywire and kill the crap out of everyone including the president and his cabinet. It’s up to a rag-tag group of perky individuals with handguns to escape LA, find a way to shut down the TR units, and then go back to living their plucky lives. Not once is the word “Terminator” ever spoken in the film.
The first half hour of the movie slowly drags by as the director tries desperately at what can only be described as “character development.” But in reality, I felt like I was eaves dropping on the conversations of people who lead less exciting lives than me.
Once the TR units snap and the killing starts, the movie plays out a lot like a zombie film as the survivors move from one safe location to another. And surprisingly, that part of the film wasn’t too bad. I found myself enjoying it. Why they had to rip off The Terminator franchise name is beyond me. They could have ripped off the Romero franchise and made a halfway decent zombie movie. I’m really dubious that Romero has the rights to every single ________ of the Dead movie title. [Dawn of the Living Dead? Farm of the Dead? Day of the Flesh Eaters? Just tossing out some ideas.]
In the wilderness, the remaining survivors run into a long-haired, gun-toting, religious, camo trucker hat-wearing, turkey-necked Jeremy London who saves the weary travelers with a special pulse rifle. Booyah! I am the future NRA!
In an expected turn of events, Kurt — London’s character — is the original designer of the TR robots. He becomes the unofficial leader of the remaining human escapees; the pregnant widow, the slutty girl (who actually bangs the widow’s husband BEFORE he dies), the whiny young guy, the tough girl, and the loyal old guy. They need to find some rocket fuel, fly into space and turn off the Terminators… I mean… TR units.
Tough girl dies first. The rest make it into space where the team finds out the loyal old guy is actually a new version of TR units and they all accept him for being a good guy. London tries to hack the super computer’s mainframe on the space station but fails because it’s too sophisticated even for his super brain. Whiny guy has his jaw torn off (thank god). London gets pwned by the super terminator that lives on the space station. Old guy sacrifices himself out the airlock with the super terminator. Pregnant girl hides from the remaining TR units on the space station. And the slutty girl stops all the TR units and saves the world by pulling the plug out of a breaker panel too small for a 2 bedroom apartment, let alone a multi-trillion dollar space station.
That’ll teach you next time, Kurt. Haxor skillz not up to the test? Try the pulling the plug in the corner, dipshit. Oh right… you can’t read this. You’re dead.
Needless to say, the storyline is atrocious. The special effects are pretty bad but the acting is almost passable for a movie of its pedigree. Aside from the super-bit parts, London actually delivers the worst performance of the main crew. I can’t even recommend this movie for a hilarious afternoon rental with some friends and some beer. You’ll probably lose a friend or two if you make them sit through this. It’s too bad to be laughed at. I highly doubt this will ever make its way even to the SyFy Channel’s Saturday afternoon line-up. [Wait…. I typed too soon. After some light googling, I’ve found that The Terminators did appear on “Syfy’s Summer of Schlock.” Oh Syfy. Can’t we just watch reruns of Lost in Space and Dark Shadows… or MST3K?]
Before you go, dear reader, the morals of the story are:
1. You’ll only live through the robotpocalypse if you own a hand gun. Even though hand guns have no effect on our future robot-masters, it definitely increases your odds. Get your ass to your local dealer today.
2. Steroid-bot idea = bad. Mid-1980s Valerie Bertinellibot idea = better. Dita Von Teesebot idea = WIN. Christina Hendricksbot = too hot. Work will never be done and humanity will die off before the machines become self-aware and uprise. Dial design idea back to Dita Von Teesebot.
3. Despite what other horror movies have taught you, the slutty girl does not die at the hands of the killer / killers. Stick with her because she knows how to unplug things.
4. If for some reason you are able to go back in time to 1995, please warn Jeremy London about his post-Mallrats career. Also, pick me up a pair of Airwalks.