The Terminator
Photograph: MGM
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The Terminator

5 out of 5 stars

James Cameron's genre-defining sci-fi masterpiece still looks, sounds and feels incredible, over three decades on


Time Out says

Re-released for the benefit of those needing a quick brush-up before ‘Terminator: Genisys’ hits cinemas, James Cameron’s 1984 sci-fi cheapie is still damn close to perfect. In fact, this time-flipping action-romance is so ridiculously great, it’d be quicker for us to tell you what doesn’t work about it than to list all the many things that do. So here goes.

Arnold Schwarzenegger may play the most convincing killer robot from the future ever (we’re still not sure he isn’t one in real life), but when he gets his eyebrows singed off in a car explosion, the makeup job looks slightly fake.

Linda Hamilton’s bouffanted Valley girl Sarah Connor may go through action cinema’s most believable cowardly-to-kickass character arc, but the motel-room sex scene between her and Michael Biehn’s besotted future-soldier Reese is so cheesily ’80s-tastic, you half expect Kenny G to start parping away on the soundtrack.

On which note, Reese’s confession that he’s returned from the future solely to make love to her is just a teensy bit creepy, but we forgive it because Biehn’s performance is so unusually sensitive, retreating into the shadows as the film unfolds to give Hamilton centre stage.

And…well, that’s it. From the slam-bang direction to the relentless pace to the not-a-word-wasted dialogue and even the driving synth score, everything else about ‘The Terminator’ just works. Let’s hope the latest sequel is even half as good.

Release Details

  • Release date:Tuesday 23 June 2015
  • Duration:107 mins

Cast and crew

  • Director:James Cameron
  • Screenwriter:James Cameron, Gale Anne Hurd
  • Cast:
    • Arnold Schwarzenegger
    • Michael Biehn
    • Linda Hamilton
    • Paul Winfield
    • Lance Henriksen
    • Rick Rossovich
    • Bess Motta
    • Earl Boen
    • Dick Miller
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