Aaron Dembski-Bowden

Don't worry. None of this blood is mine.

Terminator Salvation

Gregory had been trapped under the broken tractor for some time.

So I watched Terminator Salvation recently, and I had no fucking idea what was going on. So… it’s, like, a generic sci-fi action series now? And in the grim darkness of the far future, Terminators aren’t scary? They’re giganto robots and motorcycles and stuff, right? And if you can’t send Terminators back in time with laser guns, why send them back naked? Why not send one of these slightly older models back in time, with guns that weren’t very futurey? No?

Okay, cool.

No, wait. The other thing that isn’t cool. Unbelievably tedious bullshit. Yeah, that’s the one.

Anyway, with great power comes great responsibility, so I rewrote Terminator Salvation, because rebooting franchises is practically all Hollywood can do these days. “Quick, Maguire’s out of the room. Reboot Spider-Man while’s taking a piss.” And I think I got the new theme right, because I’m giving the audience even more of what it wants, which is essentially all of the shit I didn’t.

TERMINATOR SALVATION

by Aaron Dembski-Bowden

EXTERIOR. GENERIC RUINED CITY. IT’S ALWAYS NIGHT.

We see two guys crouched in the ruins. One of them is JOHN CONNOR, who looks – and for some strange reason talks – just like Batman. The other guy is KYLE REECE, who instead of being awesome is an annoying child.

JOHN CONNOR

Fucking terminators, man.

KYLE REECE

Totally.

JOHN CONNOR

Hey, I know you, kid. Didn’t you play Chekov in the Star Trek reboot?

KYLE REECE

Yeah, that was me. Didn’t you play Batman in the Batman reboot?

JOHN CONNOR

Yeah, but now I’m John Connor in the Terminator reboot. Hey. Hey, do the thing.

KYLE REECE

Is this a reboot? I’m not sure. Anyway, what thing?

JOHN CONNOR

Yeah, you know. Like, say words wrong, or whatever. Like in Star Trek.

KYLE REECE

Ensign Pavel Chekov, code Weektor, Weektor Fife.

JOHN CONNOR

Ha! Victor Victor Five. Haha! Russian people.

Kyle raises his future gun, and is all like:

KYLE REECE

Fuck me, a terminator!

JOHN CONNOR

Damn it! It’s one of the new models!

The new terminator model stalks through the ruins on a carpet of skulls. The camera pans up to reveal its synthetic face. It’s JEFF BRIDGES. He occasionally quotes The Big Lebowskibecause people liked that film and it’s illegal to come up with new ideas.

TERMINATOR

Humans detected. This aggression will not stand.

Kyle and John look like they want to bail.

KYLE REECE

I want to bail.

JOHN CONNOR

Okay, let’s bail.

They bail. Both resistance freedom fighters make a break for it, running across the ruined city. The terminator shoots after them, doing that movie-shooting, where bullets skid along the ground so it looks awesome when the bad guys inevitably miss by miles.

While running, Kyle gets plugged in the back. In the fucking spine, even. He goes down like a sack of kicked crap.

KYLE REECE

My bones!

JOHN CONNOR

Shit sandwiches.

Suddenly, from some awesome sniping position, a sniper snipes the terminator with a sniper rifle. The sniper round takes the terminator in the eye.

TERMINATOR

Ow! Fucking fascist!

The terminator goes down. There’s the requisite several seconds of a machine gun firing up into the air and all around, until it finally lies still.

JOHN CONNOR

Kyle, man, can you stop the bleeding?

Kyle lies in a pool of blood the size of Norway. There are guts and stuff. It’s real intense. It’s like a real war, but better, because of being in the future.  Blood pisses out in interesting arcs of arterial spray. He convulses and stuff. It’s pretty extreme, and should probably be in the trailer.

KYLE REECE

Just get me on my feet, Jay. I can make it. I can make this shit. They’ve got to pay for Judgement Day.

John helps Kyle to his feet. The sniper emerges from the ruins, and it’s BRENDA, played by Olivia Wilde, who is straight-up one of the hottest women in the world. If I was in the same room as her, man, her bodyguards would need to gun me down faster than Bin Laden on a White House tour.

KYLE REECE

Brenda! It’s you!

JOHN CONNOR

Hey, I know you. You’re in the Tron reboot.

KYLE REECE (dying)

S…sequel…

JOHN CONNOR

What?

KYLE REECE

Tron Legacy… is… a sequel… dickhead.

Kyle dies. “My Heart Will Go On” plays, or something else pretty emotional to make girls care about stuff.

JOHN CONNOR

Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! FATHER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

BRENDA

Come on, Skynet will hear you.

JOHN CONNOR

FATHERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!!!

BRENDA

Come on!

JOHN CONNER

I have to bury him and say good words.

BRENDA

There’s no time! Skynet might hear the good words!

JOHN CONNOR

You’re right. You’re… you’re so right.

John and Kyle are done, professionally. John rises to his feet, and leaves his friend/future dad in the dust and skulls. It’s a metaphor, a powerful one.

BRENDA

We’ll take my car!

A car pulls up, though it’s more of a pickup truck, which proves this is America, because they don’t really exist anywhere else. The driver is DUKE BLACK, played by Edward Norton.

DUKE BLACK

Get in!

John gets in. So does Olivia Wil– Brenda, but a nearby terminator opens fire, and her clothes get shredded. Go for a PG-13, because I want to see her rocking tits at this point. It’s essential for character development.

JOHN CONNOR

They’ve found us! Someone must have made noise… The car engine maybe…

DUKE BLACK

Let’s burn rubber!

They drive away and skid or whatever. Skulls go rolling from under the tires, and across all the other skulls on the floor. It’s pretty extreme, and also a metaphor.

JOHN CONNOR

Duke, man, I know you.

DUKE BLACK

You don’t know me.

JOHN CONNOR

You played Bruce Banner in the Hulk reboot.

DUKE BLACK

Heh.

Terminator robocycles come screaming out of the ruins, because terminators are robocycles now. Twin miniguns, which is a dumb name for the biggest machine guns of all time, fold out and start shooting shit up. Tires blow out, and there’s more skidding. It’s pretty extreme.

JOHN CONNOR

Shit, they’re robocycles now. I’m glad Skynet never sent these back in time to kill me all those times. It would have been over at the end of the first chase scene.

The pick up truck totally explodes. In a cool, calm bit amongst the flames, Duke tries to crawl to safety, but dies.

DUKE BLACK

Must… warn… Resistance… Must… tell them… the truth…

He dies. The music is real sad, and it’s pretty extreme, but also sorrowful. In the wreckage, Brenda is on her back, her remaining clothes are sort of burned up and gone. She’s dying, but it’s all internal so it doesn’t look gross. John is next to her.

BRENDA

At least I got to have you, Johnny.

JOHN CONNOR

Well, we didn’t really.

BRENDA

Make it quick.

They kiss in slow motion, in the flames. It’s totally going into the trailer. Girls will love it because it’s true love, with him kissing her even though they’re in the fire, and guys will love it because John ruthlessly gives it to her right there, and they do it for ages, and you see it all. She’s shaved.

BRENDA

That was hot.

JOHN CONNOR

I’m not done yet.

John finishes. He’s done now.

JOHN CONNOR

I’m done now.

BRENDA

That was so hot.

John looks at the flames around them and smiles handsomely. He gets the joke. When he looks back to Brenda, she’s dead.

JOHN CONNOR

BRENDAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

There’s a noise, maybe footsteps or future walking or whatever. John’s all like:

JOHN CONNOR

Fuck, Skynet heard me.

Another Jeff Bridges terminator comes over to him and aims his gun down. He smiles, and it might be because he was watching John and Brenda porking softly. But he doesn’t shoot, and it’s a mystery.

JOHN CONNOR

Kill me! I hate you terminators!

TERMINATOR

No, John. You are a terminator.

John gets a scrap of broken mirror and sees his reflection. His face is all skinned and stuff, showing the roboskull beneath.

JOHN CONNOR

But… it makes no sense… It’s not a very good story…

TERMINATOR

HAHAHAHAHAHA!

JOHN CONNOR

Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

It starts to rain. There’s a voiceover as stuff goes into slow motion.

JOHN CONNOR V/O

I knew I could beat this. I knew I could beat the machine. I knew I could cure myself of the robotics inside me.

JOHN CONNOR V/O

There was a storm coming, and everything was going get all wet. But I knew if I kept fighting, I’d stay dry.

Roll credits.

March 14, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized | ,

17 Comments »

  1. I have no clue what the fuck I just read.

    But I think it was amazing.

    Comment by Nick Risley | March 14, 2010 | Reply

  2. good lord man, that’s the movie right there! :O

    Comment by Commissar Ploss | March 14, 2010 | Reply

  3. So when is this movie released?

    Comment by Sander | March 14, 2010 | Reply

  4. Pure Genius.

    Comment by Pip | March 14, 2010 | Reply

  5. Personally they should have just left well enough alone after T2.

    Comment by Xhalax | March 14, 2010 | Reply

    • I dunno. I happen to really like S M Stirling’s novel sequels. They make a lot of sense, and continue to play with the line between stopping the future and creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.

      Rise of the Machines was the stupidest thing ever. I still don’t know how that actually got made without someone killing himself in shame.

      Salvation was moderately acceptable, even if it felt a lot like they’d taken a totally unrelated post-apoc sci-fi script and retro-fitted it to the Terminator universe. So many continuity violations…

      Comment by Lugh | March 17, 2010 | Reply

  6. Point taken by everyone but I quite liked both T3 and Salvation.

    Comment by Tim Kenyon | March 14, 2010 | Reply

  7. Yeah.. I’m gunna say “awesome” tinged with “haven’t you got books to finish?”😉

    Comment by Archangel | March 14, 2010 | Reply

  8. I didn’t mind Terminator: Salvation, it was a lot better than Rise of the Machines. But that’s not a glowing endorsement.

    It might be worth (no pun intended) Sam Worthington stoppping and taking a look at the work he’s doing. In the last 18 months, Clash of the Titans (another remake, huh?) is the best thing on his CV.

    “JOHN CONNER
    I have to bury him and say good words.”
    Do you need to roll for that? I’d completely forgotten that one. It’s up there with The Greatest Dancer.

    Comment by G | March 14, 2010 | Reply

    • I was some royalties on those good words.

      Comment by Nik | March 15, 2010 | Reply

      • I also want to be able to spell want…

        Comment by Nik | March 15, 2010

  9. I would have disliked salvation so much less if it was just a generic story and not part of the terminator franchise. It would still have been bad but at least that way I wouldn’t have felt like someone had raped my childhood.

    Comment by pinchy | March 14, 2010 | Reply

  10. Hah. Ever heard of Rod Hilton at http://www.the-editing-room.com ? He makes this for a livin’ and its fucking hilarious. That said, this was awesome as well. Great read.

    Comment by Lars | March 15, 2010 | Reply

  11. Point taken, Hollywood needs a Re BOOT up the arse!!

    Shit Sandwiches….Class!

    Comment by Lee B | March 17, 2010 | Reply

  12. This is the best thing on the Internet right now.

    — c.

    Comment by Chuck Wendig | March 17, 2010 | Reply

  13. […] should also go and gaze upon the Best Thing The Internet Is Offering Right Now, which is about Terminator and comes from the mouth of the Aaron, the Dembski, the […]

    Pingback by Painting With Shotguns XXVII | March 17, 2010 | Reply

  14. I would like to see your version of Avatar. Best line, “ow fucking fascist”

    Comment by Nick Sharps | April 23, 2010 | Reply


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