With all the hype around the Terminator franchise lately (due to the release of Terminator Genisys), I decided to go back to the beginning and revisit the first film of the beloved franchise. Thus, I watched the 1984 classic, The Terminator on Blu-Ray. Before I begin, I must add that the most recent Blu-Ray release is stunning quality that would almost make you forget that this film was released over 30 years ago!
A simple, low-budget 1 hour, 40 minutes horror movie with a linear plot. When you strip it all back, that's basically what the film is. But does that matter? Hell No! Why? Because the film is a masterpiece. I was instantly transported back into James Cameron's vision and was just as awe-inspired as I was when I saw it the first time. The small cast play their roles to perfection. The effects and environment never fail to invoke the audience's emotions, frightening them or wowing them. The music is sensational - both of which solidify this as not only an essential 80's movie but one of the greatest 80's movies. I dare say that the original is actually the most unique of the franchise as there is less action, less one-liners and instead you have a violent and relentless Arnold Schwarzenegger playing the role of a cold blooded cyborg. Who would have thought that his most famous role would undergo such a transformation in the follow-up films. Either way, it doesn't matter: The Terminator is Arnold's most iconic performance and it doesn't matter if he's relentlessly trying to kill his target or protect his target becuase there is no denying that Arnold Schwarzenegger IS the Terminator. Linda Hamilton gives one of the best performances of her career here (perhaps second only to her reprisal in T2) as the naive, young Sarah Connor who has to fight to stay alive and become the "Mother of the Future" that she is destined to. Michael Biehn is a worthy (albeit human) opponent for Arnold's Terminator. Plus, Biehn delivers a fantastic performance and makes us wish that he was a bigger part of the future Terminator films.
Yes, The Terminator may not be the action-packed blockbuster that all 4 of it's successors are, but it has so much more, especially when it comes to performances, story-telling and heart-pumping scenes. Aspects like these and the awesome performances that each of the cast members deliver sets this film in a well-earned league of it's own, high above at least 3 of the 4 sequels.
Lets be clear, the only reason I gave this classic a '10' star rating is because I can't give it higher. Like the Terminator himself, the film never stops from beginning to end and reminds us why James Cameron is the king of the Terminator franchise. This film may be over 30 years old but you will not find a more enticing, entertaining or revolutionary film than The Terminator and I (along with many others) am eternally grateful to the entire cast and crew for creating what would be the beginning of one of the biggest ever franchises in cinema history. The Terminator Lives!