Monday, August 06, 2012

Terminator Too: A Judgement Play (Review)

"Chill out, dickwad"

That's a line from T2, as John Connor tries to teach the Terminator how to speak human as they ride into Mexico. The same kind of teaching takes place in the performance of a new Arnold, recruited straight from the audience in Terminator Too: A Judgement Play.  That's just one of the many ridiculous oddities that are incorporated in this absolutely brilliant and hilarious play from Thomas Blake, Jim Cunningham and John Moauro, the masterminds of the infamous Point Break Live.

Terminator Too is your low budget spoof play of the 1991 blockbuster and is the equivalent of seeing a Broadway play at a 99 cents store. Oh the props are ridiculously cheap, the video clips intertwined in the play have CGI that would make James Cameron weep, but what's genuinely rich in Terminator Too is the attention to detail to this Arnold classic and jokes that are clever as they are raunchy. The audience is subjected to real life 4D technology, in other words, our battles between man and machine take place with waterguns with the audience being collateral damage. It was highly suggested you buy a poncho (90% of the audience complied, I did not). I paid dearly for this mistake as I got pelted with water bullets, syringe liquid and fake blood.

I know my Arnold movies inside and out. I could easily repeat all his dialogue in T2, but I elected not to audition for the part. My Austrian accent is kinda shitty. Various wannabe actors are tested and one is chosen via audience vote. The Arnold chosen when I went did a passable Arnold accent, all muscle and was completely devoid of knowledge of T2. It's like he never ever saw the movie. Our new Terminator is helped by a hot "maid" who helps our star recite his lines via cue cards and directs his actions. Arnold would have loved this maid.

But though the "Arnold" is the star, it's the cast of Terminator Too that provides you with knee slaps and horty chuckles. Each T2 scene is meticulously created via voiceovers, video clips and outlandish props. From the infamous naked time travel entry, to the biker clothes scene, it's all acted out with LOL moments. The breakout performance has to go to Joya Mia Italiano, who plays the young thugling John Connor. Decked out in  vintage army gear and a Public Enemy t-shirt, she takes our Messiah to be into a whole new stratosphere of awesome. I got a  Amy Poehler kinda vibe from her performance, truly highest marks on my report card. Christi Waldon  plays Sarah Connor stellarly as a heroine chic and George Spielvogel plays the doctor and the Zuckerberg (did I mention Skynet is replaced with Facebook?) like a befuddled and confused mad scientist. The rest of the cast chaotically went in and out of characters seamlessly. Highest applause to them all.

It's the attention to detail that makes this play standout. Lines are stolen...ahem I mean borrowed exactly from the screenplay. Others are modified to have zingers and jokes at the end. T2's little things are acknowledged from John's stepparents, the perv orderly, the rendezvous to Mexico (which came with a complimentary watered down tequila shot for the audience) and the thumbs up from our Terminator as he makes his last heroic sacrifice.

The fact these guys know the source material inside and out makes the jokes even more amplified. If YOU know the material, it makes it a thousand more times better. Though the scenes are stellar, the "special effects" utilized are comic genius. From strategically placed tin foil "wounds" on our T1000 to the bike (errr I mean modified kid's tricycle), you'll see garage sale brilliance in every "effect". You'll never see pop guns and super soakers the same way again.

In all it's cleverness of breaking the 4th wall mid performance and inserting some random 80s references (BTTF and the Hoff), it all seems to flow perfectly. There is an intermission during the performance but that just seems to give you a break to talk about the brilliance of the first hour that you've seen.

Terminator Too is without a doubt the live action remake you MUST SEE. You'll be ducking and weaving to avoid a barrage of water bullets, laughing at all of Arnold's infamous one liners and be smack in the middle of a ridiculous Universal Studios like ride that you'll want to see again. It's not until the end did my laughter subside and I realized it was over that we all had to Hasta la vista baby.

Rating:

TERMINATOR TOO, JUDGMENT PLAY runs June 23 - August 11, Saturdays at 8pm at Santos Party House located at 96 Lafayette Street -- two blocks south of Canal between Walker and White Streets -- accessible from the N,Q,6,J & Z subway lines at Canal. Tickets are $25 available at 866-777-8932 or www.terminatortoo.com.

Check out this review as well.

Photo Credits: Terminator Too/Thomas Blake

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