I have loved at least one thing about each of the feature film iterations of Kyle Reese in the Terminator franchise. (I reserve judgment regarding his character in The Sarah Connor Chronicles because I have yet to binge-watch the show.) As a character, they've made some pretty interesting choices for his history and development.
I've also noticed something regarding the casting choices for Kyle over the years. The filmmakers seem to make no effort at all to go with continuity in the looks department. I'm not saying that one of these men is more attractive than the other two; Biehn, Yelchin, and Courtney are all attractive in their own respective ways. The trend I've noticed is that whoever they cast as Kyle tends to also be the most popular type of man du jour, physically speaking. Don't believe me? Let's take a look at the evidence.
Michael Biehn is the original Kyle Reese, and he is still my favorite by far. I loved his performance, and it was easy for me to believe he was tough and capable of doing what needed to be done to protect Sarah Connor. He also gets bonus points from me purely because he's from Anniston, Alabama.
Now, back to my point: casting the type du jour for Kyle. I know that The Terminator came out in 1984, but let's take a look at People's inaugural Sexiest Man Alive cover from 1985.
Now, let's look at that and the similarities between Mel and Michael. Can we quantify the type here?
- Leanly Muscular
- Intense Eyes
- Angular Jaw
- Slightly Cleft Chin
- Small Nose
- Shortish Hair
See what I mean? There is an obvious type that the ladies swooned over in the early to mid 80s.
Anton brought a sort of unexpected vulnerability as young Kyle, and I enjoyed watching the character mature and toughen up over the course of the film. How about that eye candy du jour theory of mine, though? Let's take a look at People's sexiest man alive for 2009 (the year Terminator Salvation released).
Shall we take a look at the similarities between Johnny and Anton?
- High Forehead
- Sharp Cheekbones
- Fuller Sensual-looking Lips
- Longer Hair
- Wiry Figure
It's not hard to see that 2009 had its own specific set of traits in men that people drooled over, and Anton fit that bill pretty well.
I can't speak to Jai's performance because I've only seen previews, so far, but I'm excited to see him in the role of Kyle Reese. I loved him in A Good Day to Die Hard. I know he can pull off the role of lead male in an action flick, and I know he can do it well. How does he fit into my eye candy theory, though? Let's start by looking at 2014's Sexiest Man Alive and work from there.
- Hooded Eyes
- Square Jaw
- Widow's Peak
I'm not going to lie, I enjoy the eye candy as much as the next person. It is, however, a bit unnecessary in the grand scheme of things (at least for me). You had me at killer cyborgs. Seeming to cast the preferred physical type of man at the time (no, I'm not saying that's what you did--that's just how it seems) isn't a staple. There are plenty of women out there who are going to watch these films for the plot as much as, if not more than, whoever you've cast.