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The Terminator

The Terminator

What He said:


I was only four years old when this movie came out - obviously not old enough to see or comprehend it. By the time I actually did see it, it was a toned down, made for TV version that was recorded from TV. Remember when people did that? That was fun. Anyways, I was immediately hooked. I was blown away by the whole concept of the movie.

Having never known what a terminator was, I was in awe of this unstoppable "man" who was hell-bent on killing Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton). I'll never forget that first scene where the terminator gets shot - only to get up a few moments later. "What the..." I said. I was utterly terrified by this man who had just been mowed down by a sawed-off shotgun and almost instantly rises up to pursue his prey! Unfortunately, that is also one of the reasons anyone seeing it for the first time today will never be impacted like those of us who were back when this movie was fresh. The element of surprise is completely gone for this movie.

One of the other aspects of this movie that will be forever ingrained into my memory is the concept of this machine that looked like a man. In his initial scenes, he merely looks like Arnold Schwarzenegger. But as time goes on, you get more glimpses of the machine that is behind the man - and as a first time viewer you are blown away! The special effects have not aged very gracefully though. There are older movies (such as Star Wars) which look much more realistic to me.

The music is also really bad. It dates the film something terrible. But cyber-punk and techno were big back then, so you have to view it with that in mind.

Once you get past the some of the more dated things in this movie, the meat and potatoes of it (the storyline and the acting) really make up for it. Michael Biehn is awesome in this movie. The intensity with which he plays the role of Kyle Reese - the highly traumatized soldier from the war-torn future - is as realistic as it gets. His speech to the police about who he is and where he comes from is still very powerful.

As intense and resourceful as Biehn's character is, Hamilton's portrayal of the meek, impish Sarah Connor balances his performance. Reese is completely accustomed to this war-like way of life, but Sarah is brand new to it, and Linda Hamilton's portrayal of that is very genuine. I remember feeling the terror that her character felt the first time I saw this movie. The audience is meant to view this series of events through her eyes.

And what can be said about Arnold Schwarznegger? Sure, he doesn't speak a whole lot in this movie, but he's absolutely terrifying. He plays the unstoppable killing machine with such believability that it earned him a spot as the top guy in action films for years to come.

Rating: Thumbs up.

This movie review was written for your reading pleasure on October 26, 2010.