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The Terminator (1984)

Release Date: 19 March 2001


RRP: £24.99. You Save: £17.50

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Product Details

In 2029, giant super-computers dominate the planet, determined to destroy the human race. In order to effect this, they send a relentless killing machine - the Terminator - back in time to kill Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton), the woman whose unborn son will become mankind's only hope

More product details about The Terminator (1984)

Long before Titanic took him off Hollywood’s A-list and into the stratosphere, James Cameron was once upon a time trying to live down the fact that his directorial debut was in fact Piranha 2 – Flying Killers. Holed up in an Italian hotel, he suffered – perhaps having curled up with a Harlan Ellison book - a fevered nightmare featuring a pesky unstoppable robot. One quick script later and the involvement of a certain Austrian body builder and then not even an iceberg could derail Cameron’s ascension up the Hollywood status ladder.

Viewed with the benefit of hindsight – not to mention the irremovable place in popular culture occupied by its sequel’s liquid metal man - The Terminator still stands up remarkably well, not only as a slick action movie, but as low budget one. In one of the interviews on the DVD, Cameron reveals with a wink (while sitting pretty in a very nice palatial Hollywood estate) that the first film cost about the same price as Schwazenegger’s trailer for the sequel. With that (and a pinch of salt) in mind, the film looks doubly impressive today, with careful use of model shots looking far more effective than the CGI overused in many more recent films.

Cameron’s main special effect here of course, is Schwarzenegger himself. Made early on during his dominance of the eighties action scene, he makes a convincing indestructible robot, and his slow advances toward the wide eyed (but mercifully more spunky than most scream queens of the era) Linda Hamilton are genuinely un-nerving.

Cameron’s handling of tension is impressive too – the succession of false endings may seem commonplace these days, but at the time, the continuing resurrection of the Terminator, shattered the nerves a little more each time. It still works too, and although years of tributes and rip-offs have undoubtedly had their toll, the original still stands strong. (VH)

Technical Details

Region 2
Main Language: English