Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Capsule Review: The Terminator (1984)

It's hard to explain just how massive Terminator 2: Judgment Day was when it was released back in 1991. I was 10 years old at the time, and despite being significantly too young to view it - and never having seen the original - seeing it seemed like the most important thing in the world. It was many years later until I finally saw The Terminator, and I could be forgiven for being shocked at just how brutal it was. Compared to the huge action set pieces and "a boy and his cyborg" humor of the sequel, the original film is played dead seriously. In fact, while containing plenty of futuristic action and special effects; at heart it's a high-octane slasher film, even down to the first-person perspective from the unstoppable antagonist. It launched Arnold Schwarzenegger's improbable career, and turned James Cameron into an immediate A-list director; and has fueled multiple sequels, a television series, comics and plenty of assorted merchandise. That this all came from what is ostensibly a low-budget horror film - though one that is incredibly slick and well-made - is something I've always found to be endearing.

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