The Terminator is a film that ushered in a brand new breed of science fiction filmmaking. It took the old B-movie, special effect, sci-fi action thrillers to a whole new level of acceptance, and it did so by being a legitimately good movie with quality production, strong performances, a surreal and sensible storyline and innovative direction. Not only does the unorthodox plot grab you, but the classic elements of a good thriller exist: the unwitting victim caught in the vortex, the mysterious, dark horse savior who will lay down his life for his mission, and the relentless stalker who will do whatever it takes to destroy his target–only, in this thriller, the killer is a nearly unstoppable cyborg beyond current human technology. And, to spice things up, James Cameron handles the chase scenes with the care of some of the best suspense auteurs in the business, at times, making it feel like a horror film.
On the day The Terminator was released, Hollywood and film-goers had never seen anything like it. It is a virtuoso achievement for James Cameron and it not only launched his career, Arnold’s career, one of the greatest film franchises in history, but it also raised the bar for the genre in the coming years. The Terminator is a true cinematic masterwork and a classic unparalleled in its arena. With the exception of a few inconsistencies, this film could not have been any better.
4.5 out of 5 stars.