If you’re a fan of the NBA or the Terminator franchise, or both, ESPN and Paramount’s new ad has something for you.
The spot, which aired on ESPN, features the original Terminator Arnold Schwarzenegger in his natural habitat -- the gym.
He is soon joined by NBA star, and perpetual meme fuel, Kawhi Leonard. But that’s not all -- fellow NBA star Paul George and Linda Hamilton, star of the new upcoming Terminator movie, all turn up as well.
Now let’s be clear; this ad won’t be winning any awards for acting, despite the A-list talent present, but the stilted performances are great for a laugh.
The exchange between the four stars in which Schwarzenegger dubs Leonard a "Terminator" due to his lack of emotions or mercy on the court comes off as oddly mechanical and awkward, but also kind of seems like the point.
You have to laugh when George obtusely dubs Leonard as a "fun guy," before Hamilton states that if he wasn’t, she’d have to terminate him.
Cue nervous side glances until everyone bursts out laughing.
Everyone knows they’re acting in a commercial (in cringe style -- but the good kind of cringe), and seem to be having fun with it, as Leonard and Schwarzenegger trade catchphrases like "what it do baby," versus "hasta la vista baby," and rif over who’s the more efficient terminator.
And of course, no ad featuring Kawhi Leonard would be complete without his signature, awkwardly robotic laugh, which made the rounds a few months ago.
There’s a fairly obvious twist at the end, but without spoiling anything it’s always fun to think that this ad might canonically be a part of the wider Terminator lore.