The Terminator

Linda Hamilton, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Biehn
Directed by James Cameron
Rating: A

A humanistic cyborg is sent back in time to 1984 to terminate a woman whose future son will lead the revolution against Skynet.

Sarah Connor (Hamilton) is not having a good day. She’s late for work, her customers are grumpy, and a woman with the same name as her has been found brutally murdered. Sarah realizes someone has been following her around when she gets out of work, but doesn’t see right away that someone is there to save her life from the Terminator (Schwarzenegger).

Years after technology has boomed and CGI has replaced cheap effects, The Terminator has managed to age okay despite the use of cheesy graphics. It’s the 80’s where music familiar with the decade is the soundtrack to intense, action sequences, and laser beams are wildly popular. The makeup effects are forgivable when production is working with what they’ve got. As the Terminator gets beat up and shot at, there are close-ups where it’s obvious Schwarzenegger’s head has been replaced with a wax/rubber figure.

There is lots of action and not so much dialogue going on in The Terminator that takes a bit of excitement away. The plot is straight-forward and there is little to learn about the Terminator’s mission and the world Kyle Reese (Biehn) comes from to save Sarah. The Terminator’s relentless determination to kill Sarah builds up tension as he keeps getting up after each attempt to put him down. He is a cyborg after all, but can he ever be stopped?

The Terminator is a pretty bold action movie with gore, swearing, sex, and violence. In combination it isn’t damaging enough to shock or overindulge to appease a male audience. It fully deserves the “R” rating but doesn’t go overboard with its elements. For an 80’s movie, it did well considering the use of technology they had to cooperate with. It deserves an “A” rating for that and for the interesting plot that wriggles out a couple of sequels.


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