It’s a little dated, but 1984’s The Terminator is nevertheless jam packed with entertainment. The effects seem cheesy by today’s standards, but are impressive considering the lower budget. And the movie’s impact on modern day action films is undeniable.
In The Terminator, a cyborg (Arnold Schwarzenegger) from the year 2029–when machines rule the earth–is sent into the past to kill Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton), whose unborn son will lead a human rebellion against the machines. One human from the future, Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn), is hired to follow the cyborg into the past and save Sarah from assassination.
While I’m not a huge fan of James Cameron’s writing when it’s comes to dialogue, he always has really deep premises. And often times I feel as though he casts actors because of their look rather than their acting ability. The Terminator is no different. The dialogue is painful at times, but the themes are still relevant and the narrative is consistent. And Biehn’s poor acting is utterly distracting. Luckily Schwarzenegger has limited lines.
I also wish that Sarah and Reese’s chemistry had been a little more realistic. It isn’t bad, but it isn’t great either. Their dynamic feels a little forced and sudden with no buildup.
There are a few plot holes and paradoxes in the film, but we can’t expect anything else from an 1980s time travel film.
Although ahead of its time, it comes off as more ordinary when compared to modern action flicks. Possibly because it influenced most of them. But the ’80s setting makes for great nostalgia when viewed today.