Monday, May 18, 2015

Short Attention Span Review: The Terminator (1984)

As we gear up for a new entry in the the Terminator franchise, I took the time to revisit the 1984 thriller that started it all.  The Terminator is my favorite entry in the series (T2 be damned) and it is still vastly entertaining some 30+ years after it hit the scene.  I think it has more heart and soul than the first sequel, and though Robert Patrick was awesome, no one has topped Arnold's showstopping performance as the villainous machine the series is named after yet.  Yes, T2 is amazing, and even if I don't agree, I understand where the people who think it improves upon the original are coming from.  The third movie was okay, the fourth was pretty okay too, I guess, though it didn't seem to fit.  This latest attempt at reviving the property looks pretty kickass, but I'm not here to speculate, I'm here to heap praise on Cameron's breakout hit.  The Terminator is a lean picture with several stellar action setpieces and three noteworthy stars owning their parts while an able supporting cast rounds things out in style.  Hell, Lance Henriksen is on hand in a true throwaway role, so you know The Terminator had talent to spare.  Michael Biehn is a revelation as the gritty hero who is greatly outmatched, Linda Hamilton is fantastic in a tough role that requires a lot of emoting and physicality, and Arnold is a supreme badass.  Who else could have played this part?  Stan Winston's effects are stellar and surely played a pivotal role in The Terminator's success, but Arnold is the biggest special effect in the movie.  Not only is his physical appearance so damn imposing, but he does a wonderful job with his lines and his handling of the various weapons he uses throughout the film is truly impressive.  Everyone involved deserves a lot of credit, but this franchise was launched on Schwarzenegger's broad shoulders to tremendous effect.  Whether you classify it as an action movie or a science-fiction thriller (it's actually both), this is a genuine classic.

Final Grade: A+
He may not have played a villain often, but this superb action film
proves that Arnold could nail such a roll when programmed to do so.

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