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'Magic Mike XXL' And 'Terminator Genisys' Bring The Testosterone


Dinosaurs have been rampaging through movie theaters for weeks. And now, just in time for Independence Day, they are joined by robots and male strippers. Critic Bob Mondello says let the block busting go on.

BOB MONDELLO, BYLINE: Say hello to the testosterone twins, "Magic Mike XXL" and "Terminator Genisys." One designed, at least theoretically, for the delectation of women, the other for men. And guess which one has more male nudity? Apparently you can't time travel while dressed in so much as a thong.


CHRISTION TROXELL: (As Punk #2) Wash day tomorrow - nothing clean, right?

ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER: (As Guardian) Nothing clean, right.

MONDELLO: The "Genisys" film makers are back explaining why android Arnold arrived in the first "Terminator" movie naked. This time he does that again.


SCHWARZENEGGER: (As Guardian) Your clothes - give them to me now.

MONDELLO: And again, there are two of him.


SCHWARZENEGGER: (As Guardian) You won't be needing any clothes.

MONDELLO: ...Well, three, in a way.


SCHWARZENEGGER: (As Guardian) I've been waiting for you.

MONDELLO: But let me back up a bit. See, the nakedness isn't all they are backsplaining. "Terminator Genisys" is advancing a whole new timeline for the "Terminator" universe. It starts out like the old one with human resistance leader John Connor sending a disciple back to protect his mom from the machines. But when he gets to the past, it's not to the past any of them expect.


EMILIA CLARKE: (As Sarah Connor) The 1984 John sent you to - it no longer exists.

JAI COURTNEY: (As Kyle Reese) No, this is all wrong, all right? John sent me here to save you.

CLARKE: (As Sarah Connor) From the Terminator that was sent back to kill me, I know, but we already took care of him.

COURTNEY: (As Kyle Reese) We?

MONDELLO: Arnold, again - there's also much talk of how "Genisys" may be Skynet, the system that lets the machines take over. Though, it's also apparently glorified Bluetooth, allowing you to connect all your devices. Whether they'd come up with something to connect all the film's timelines - but speaking of devices, Schwarzenegger...


SCHWARZENEGGER: (As Guardian) We've been reacquired.

MONDELLO: ...Keeps getting upgraded. Once a mere android - that is a robot with artificial flesh - he is, in at least one of his incarnations here, a cyborg - a robot with organic flesh. And if he can switch from android to a new operating system, then I suppose there's no reason the filmmakers shouldn't. Although, there's a new beefy guy on hand this time.


UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #1: (As Character) Get back.

MONDELLO: The rest of the movie is strictly old-school - recycled plot lines, warmed-over effects, just a post-governator reboot for Schwarzenegger which the filmmakers are optimistically billing as the start of a new trilogy. As the star keeps saying in the film, I'm old, not obsolete - not as catchy as I'll be back, but then he says that, too.


SCHWARZENEGGER: (As Guardian) I'll be back.

CLARKE: (As Sarah Connor) What?

MONDELLO: Also back - Channing Tatum in "Magic Mike XXL" doing what comes naturally. This sequence catches him in the custom furniture workshop he was so anxious to build in the first "Magic Mike" movie. That one had a Great Recession vibe. Now he has his carpentry business. But you know what they say about old habits dying hard. What's a male entertainer to do when this song comes on?


MONDELLO: That's a rhetorical question. Tatum bumps, grinds, sands and drills until sparks fly. And you might say the same about the movie which knows exactly what its target audience wants from male strippers and delivers it with a charm that's seriously seductive.


DONALD GLOVER: (As Andre) These girls have to deal with men in their lives every day who - they don't listen to them. They don't ask them what they want. They don't even ask them what they want. All we got to do is ask them what they want. And when they tell you it's a beautiful thing, man. It's like - we're, like, healers or something.

MONDELLO: The plot - to the extent there is one - has Tatum and his buds reuniting for a farewell performance at a stripper convention adding one tiny twist.


CHANNING TATUM: (As Mike) I mean, if this really is our last ride, what if we make up some new routines?

MONDELLO: So they practice and perform, practice and perform - and visit some old friends and some new friends who are older.


UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #2: (As Character) I wish we had known you guys back in our day, you know?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #3: (As Character) I know, I know.

JOE MANGANIELLO: (As Big Dick Richie) Well, I'd say it's still your day, ma'am.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #2: (As Character) Damn.

MONDELLO: The guys all look to have been chiseled from whatever marble quarry is just upstream from the one Michelangelo favored. These are bodies to fuel fantasies doing choreography that brings fantasies to life. Unlike its predecessor, the new "Magic Mike" makes barely a nod in the direction of social significance. It's an entertainment machine calculated to encounter no resistance whatever when the machines take over.


UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #4: (As Character) Are you ready to be worshiped? Are you ready to be exalted?

MONDELLO: Who's going to say no to that? I'm Bob Mondello. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Bob Mondello, who jokes that he was a jinx at the beginning of his critical career — hired to write for every small paper that ever folded in Washington, just as it was about to collapse — saw that jinx broken in 1984 when he came to NPR.