With the release of Terminator Salvation, we can try to put the YouTubed screams of a caustic Christian Bale into some sort of context.

With the release of Terminator Salvation, we can try to put the YouTubed screams of a caustic Christian Bale into some sort of context.

Maybe there was as much intensity and as little humor on set as there is on screen. Maybe Bale's throat was sore after falling back into the irritating, gravelly voice of the Dark Knight. Or maybe Bale was just venting after realizing too late what he'd signed up for.

The film brings the Terminator legend full circle, with Bale's John Connor leading the resistance against Skynet's human extinction plans and searching for a teenaged Kyle Reese (Anton Yelchin), to keep Reese safe and make sure he goes back in time to impregnate Sarah Connor.

John gets unexpected help from Marcus (Sam Worthington), a 20th-century murderer executed in a prologue, who emerges in the future from a bombed Skynet research facility.

Director McG brings finesse and propulsion to the special effects and action sequences, but it's almost as if he used up his sense of humor on the Charlie's Angels movies. His latest evokes the dark, gloomy nature of The Dark Knight but has none of the previous film's thoughtfulness or its captivating performances.

While there's always a chance of anti-climax when dealing with destiny fulfilled, dialogue like "Come with me if you want to live" doesn't help. Nor does a central character who, as written and as played by Bale, is kind of a stiff.