The Terminator (1984) Snapshot Review

Terminator 1984 Arnold Schwarzenegger

The Terminator (1984)
Director: James Cameron
Screenwriters: William Wisher Jr, James Cameron, Gale Anne Hurd
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Michael Biehn, Paul Winfield, Lance Henriksen, Rick Rossovich

A film famously made as a result of high-temperature hallucinations, James Cameron created a nerve-twisting nightmare world of surrealist violence and believable bionic monstrosity, propelling Schwarzenegger further into stardom.

Sarah Conner (Hamilton) is a waitress with a seemingly normal life, unaware that she will go on to give birth to the saviour of the human race. A robot known as a Terminator (Schwarzenegger) is sent from the year 2029 to kill her, but resistance soldier Kyle Reece (Biehn) has been sent to protect her. Will two humans be able to hold their own against a super intelligent, unstoppable cyborg?

Interestingly, Arnie was nearly cast as the hero Kyle Reece but a stroke of luck saw Cameron place the Conan-famed actor into the role he was born to play, a robotic assassin with limited speech and maximum face punches.

From the pounding theme tune to the relentless tension building, The Terminator is a sci-fi thriller masterpiece that quickly transitioned into a timeless 80s classic. The main characters’ human fragility and limitations are exposed as a muscle-bound-android effortlessly hunts them down.

Admittedly, the special effects have not aged well but with such a compelling story to fall back on, this small bashing can be brushed under the carpet.

With 100% on Rotten Tomatoes you will be hard pressed to find a hater, or indeed any shred of criticism that still holds up. This film is so close to perfection it brings a tear to the eye (plus there’s a cheeky cameo from Bill Paxton in the opening scenes, which perhaps paved the way for his dealings with Cameron two years later as Private Hudson in Aliens).

The Terminator’s character development mingled with overarching tragedy dumps all over Jack and Rose, serving it as one of the decades’ action overlords, guaranteeing that you’ll “be back” for more.

There is plenty of room on the door in this movie, so why keep yourself in the cold? After 30 minutes of this sweat-inducing suspense-ridden sci-fi you will be warming yourself on a Skynet hate fire.

21/24

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Elizabeth Howlett

Elizabeth Howlett

Multi-platform journalist and film psychoanalyst who loves 80s films, but doesn’t think much of John Hughes. Horror and fantasy theory is her jam and she can quote anything at the drop of a hat. Her brain holds more pop culture references than you can shake a stick at and she hums the theme to Jurassic Park without realising. Heir to the throne and rightful queen of puns – you owe her your allegiance.
Elizabeth Howlett