Review: The Terminator

terminator_cov.jpgYear: 1984
Director: James Cameron
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Michael Biehn
Kaboom Review Action Movie Rating: 81

Plot
A soldier from the year 2029 comes to 1984 Los Angeles to stop an evil cyborg from killing the mother of a future military leader.

Quick Review
If you are a fan of action movies The Terminator is not a movie to be missed, even after all these years. We happily present this film with a Bronze Explosion Award for its fantastic villain, solid story, and outstanding construction.

Full Review
The Terminator hit the screens 22 years ago, so I was unsure what to expect when I sat down to rewatch what many consider to be this classic science fiction/action film. Science fiction movies often depend on special effects to carry the day, and older films can look downright silly in retrospect. The Terminator, however, stands the test of time remarkably well. The story is tight. The execution is top notch. The villain is still one of the finest creations in action film history. Even the special effects hold up well after 22 years.

The pacing of The Terminator is not as brisk as many action films, and a couple of scenes plod along, but this slow time is used to effectively shore up the details and plausibility of the well crafted story. These scenes fit into the movie naturally, and show the great care evterminator2.jpgident in the movie’s editing and construction. They even succeed at making the romance perfectly plausible—a rare accomplishment in most action movies.

The movie also establishes a premise and sticks to it. The actions of the Terminator and the heroes stay within established boundaries, and this creates a gripping tension to the movie. The Terminator is nearly perfect in this regard, with the notable exception of a scene towards the end where it appears that human beings can suddenly outrun tanker trucks. Still, we can forgive the occasional slip up, and one could even make the argument that the Terminator is a bit banged up at this point and unable to drive well.

Speaking of the Terminator, Arnold Schwarzenegger and the steel robot used at the end of the movie make for one of the greatest enemies in action figure history, hands down. Arnold’s accent works to his advantage here, giving the cyborg a mechanical edge that fits perfectly with his character. Amazingly, the robot—created with steel, in the age before computer-enhanced graphics—still looks sharp after all these years. There is some choppiness to the animation in some scenes, but on the whole the relatively limited special effects in the movie are still perfectly watchable.

In some areas, however, The Terminator is lacking. Arnold’s bad acting works to his terminator3.jpgadvantage, but Linda Hamilton, as the Terminator’s target, and Michael Biehn, as the soldier who travels back in time to protect her, never fully convince me in their roles. There is an affected edge to their voices that leaves a bit to be desired. The script is forgettable, with the exception of a few Terminator lines (“I’ll be back!”) that have embedded themselves in our culture.

As for the eye candy factor, The Terminator clearly isn’t concerned with sex appeal. Arnold, is well, Arnold. Michael Biehn and Linda Hamilton are unmemorable as far as visual appeal goes.

Still, if you are a fan of action movies The Terminator is not a movie to be missed, even after all these years. We happily present this film with a Bronze Explosion Award for its fantastic villain, solid story, and outstanding construction.

Fun Fact
Arnold Schwarzenegger says only 58 words in the movie.

Score
Pace: 68
Plot: 92
Action: 88
Consistent Premise: 93
Script/Quotes: 38
Characters: 48
Acting: 37
Villain: 98
Body Count: 71
Time to First Dead Body: 5th minute
Babes: 28
Hunks: 42
Explosions: 65
Special Effects: 65
Stunts: 38
Ending: 88

Overall: 81 (Bronze Explosion Award Winner)

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