Martyn McLaughlin: Baleful tirade and weak swearing do not a true hellraiser make…

IT WILL be the great Hollywood moment that trumps even From Here to Eternity for emotional frankness. In a desolate land ravaged by a war that has claimed the lives of generations, a lone leatherclad warrior bends over the cyborg he fatally wounded only moments before. Cupping its metal skull, he kisses it softly. "I'm so, so sorry, Cyberdyne Systems Model 101," he cries, "I'll never understand why we fought so hard for so long."

Gently jutting towards him, the machine whispers its last power cell, before its flickering red eye becomes one with the night sky. "No, no, that's not true!" howls the warrior. "You're not my father!"

It would be a jumping-the-shark moment for the Terminator films, but according to the apologists of Warner Bros, it explains the callow pique of Christian Bale, who has been roundly condemned for his tirade against a humble crew technician he accused of "trashing his scene" on the set of the latest addition to the series.

The four-minute recording, during which Bale employs language that would curl the corners of a carpet in a Niddrie pub, has been defended by Bruce Franklin, the film's assistant editor.

"If you are working in a very intense scene and someone takes you out of your groove …" said Franklin, tiptoeing his way unconvincingly towards an explanation. "It was the most emotional scene in the movie, and for him to get stopped in the middle of it… he is very intensely involved in his character."

Correct me if I am wrong, but this is Terminator Salvation, not Othello. To what degree must Bale prepare himself for a popcorn franchise, the plot of which boasts more holes than a doughnut factory?

Bale has been silent on the issue, but his sympathisers – mainly men in their early thirties who eat sandwiches prepared by their mothers from Dark Knight lunchboxes – draw parallels between him and gifted hellraisers of Hollywood past. Figures like Richard Harris, who sculpted memorable screen presence despite, or perhaps because of, confounding and infuriating personal flaws. This is not on. First, Harris and his ilk could swear with far greater inventiveness and aplomb. Second, and more important, they were spared the self-conscious love of their craft that afflicts Bale.

He undoubtedly has acting ability, but seems to consider it necessary to engineer hardship and trauma to do justice to his role, once insisting it is the actors "prepared to make fools of themselves who are usually the ones who come to mean something to the audience".

And a fool he surely is. What will he do to prepare for Terminator 5? Hang around a Meccano factory in the name of method acting?

Another flurry of pointless statistics

WITH crushing inevitability they bombard Britain in heavy flurries, sparing no front page or breaking news bulletin. And by the time the streets are awash with an unwelcome slush, so too they have melted away. So is it not time for us to question the curious science of business leaders who claim that icy spells cost Britain millions, if not billions of pounds?

This week, prominent coverage was given to the claim by Stephen Alambritis of the Federation of Small Businesses that snowy weather-related absenteeism will deny the economy some 3.5 billion. It is a figure derived from the FSB estimates on Bank Holidays and some guesswork.

Mr Alambritis – a man who one suspects times how long he spends on the loo – gave examples of the huge losses. "Schoolchildren are not buying sweets, they are not buying dinners," he panicked.

I know childhood obesity is a problem, but 3.5 billion is a hell of a lot of Crunchies.