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The Terminators – the epitome of lazy direction

Submitted by on May 16, 2009 – 5:21 amNo Comment

the-terminatorsWhen a director himself states that the film you are watching is a “piece of garbage” you have to start questioning why it was commissioned in the first place. reveals this on the DVD commentary of the latest Asylum mockbuster: The Terminators.

Strangely though, this revelation is one that allows you to relax whilst watching the film. You realise you are not going to watch anything unique, smart or even challenging. What you will experience is a bunch of filmmakers trying their best (on limited budgets) to tell an entertaining story.

I have often defended films that don’t have the best special effects, acting or even sound provided they are fundamentally entertaining. So forgetting that this film is a shameless rip-off from a well established franchise is there anything entertaining in The Terminators for the general public?


A small band of resistance fighters battle the cyborgs that have taken control of the planet.


the-terminators-paul-loganWhere to start? Acting! One thing you can hope for in any film is an adequate actor! At least one of them should be good. You’ll accept that whilst not all of the cast is likely to be an Anthony Hopkins, you hope that at least one of them can recite a line of dialogue without sounding like an unemotional tape-recorder. The Terminators shows that despite the wealth of actors in the film, only a few can still claim to be, after the fact. One of those () doesn’t have a line due to him being the “scary” terminator (T-5) but still maintains composure. He actually manages to do a relatively good job. The other ithe-terminators-jeremy-londonndividual is that of Jeremy who retains a small amount of dignity throughout. Almost everyone else manages to have a problem reciting lines in a natural manner with completely unnecessary and uncomfortable pauses between dialogue.

What occurs throughout the film is a tried and tested formula that seems regurgitated into a relatively palatable tale. Certainly if filmed correctly then it would be of some entertainment. However when you consider that throughout the DVD commentary Xavier S. Puslowski manages to thank almost the entire planet individually (and God), it seems that he is happy with the result. It seems that he is content just to get the movie “in the can”. Sadly this acceptance of mediocrity is like sticking two fingers up (ancient British gesture) at its target audience. Whilst watching the Terminators, you’ll accept that you are never going to get perfection, but for a first time director you would hope that at least Mr Puslowski would strive for it! Making the most out of what little you have is part of life and seems to have been forgotten by this gentleman along the way.

This criticism of laziness comes from noticing far too many continuity mistakes involving blood on clothing appearing and disappearing and some sort of “carrying Kama sutra” (where an injured person manages to change positions in someone’s arms in each shot). Some special effects shots are potentially fairly well thought out with a car flipping over the head of a T-5 (isn’t that a Volvo)? There seem to be a plethora of good ideas almost completely skipped over in an inadequate way. There are a few scenes where composite (overlaid) shots make it look like there are many terminators instead of just one. This would be a great deal more convincing if we hadn’t seen it on every episode of Pimp My Ride.

Being an Asylum film, there is natural to be found within. Oddly, the T-5 terminator seems to be fairly domestic in that he insists on putting the victims in a neat pile before killing them all. The use of blood is plenty and almost comical (in a Kill-Bill part 1 sort of way). Lauren Walsh briefly peering off camera for her cue to continue her dialogue is somewhat amusing in a “they really shouldn’t have kept that in” sort of way.

The saving graces of this film then (if you ignore the performance of Paul Logan) is that of the extras on the DVD. A welcome filmmaker’s commentary makes the purchase more appealing as it is (in places) better than the film. Instead of inviting actors to record the commentary with him, Xavier S. Puslowski brings in the Key Grip, Gaffer and makeup artist (amongst others) to comment on the film. This brings an air of friendliness and despite the director doing nothing but thanking the world; the others bring a sense of fun to the proceedings. They all know what it is and are just out to have a good time, make a movie and be paid.

Although the commentary is very welcome on the disc, (in true Asylum fashion) you are given a 6 minute making-of documentary which allows most of the characters to say how much fun it was. Why did they bother? Bloopers are unfunny and unnecessary and the biggest problem of them all (from the DVD) is that THERE ARE NO SUBTITLES ON THE DISC! This may not be a problem for most of the world but for the people who have hearing difficulties (especially for myself, in badly sound-produced movies) subtitles are essential!

As strange as it seems, despite criticising most elements of the film I thought it was entertaining. It was silly-fun as it were, and would benefit any household who is able to laugh at themselves (for that, it seems is what the filmmakers do).  With the world presently getting excited about the very silly-Asylum titled movie: Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus, isn’t it about time that the studio realise that mockbusters tend to annoy people and unique, cheesy and badly acted B-movies don’t as much?

For me, the mockbuster is often a challenge to the filmmaker’s of the movie that is being mocked. If The Asylum’s “The Terminators” manages to be fundamentally more entertaining than on a significantly smaller budget, then what does that say for and his cohorts? I still doubt that Terminator: Salvation will be as bad as The Terminators though. The sad thing about it all is that The Terminators could have been enjoyable and silly fun, but manages to collapse under the sycophantic director and lazy direction which focuses on the happiness of the film crew and less of pleasing the audience.


Presently endearing themselves to the general public (thanks to a strangely titled movie: Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus), The Asylum is alienating just as many people by greenlighting these mockbusters. Despite liking the idea of a mockbuster, and appreciating what has been done on a small budget, the first-time director’s laziness is evident in every scene from beginning to end. As each Asylum film gets more polished (lighting, sound and makeup), their idle attitude to pride in their work is showing through the cracks.

The DVD is worth the price for a Saturday night drunken watch and I urge you to enjoy the commentary as I did. You may just appreciate the film for what it is: just a bit of silly fun daring the well respected franchise to do better.

Rating: 2 out of 5

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