The original Terminator. The cold blooded killer from the future. You could give him a date with Brazilian and Swedish supermodels, give him an Aston Martin full of gold Krugerrand, promise Peace in the Middle East or give him a whole Caribbean island to himself, and it wouldn't matter. He has one job, he will find you and he will kill you.
In the near future, mankind was hit with a nuclear war by intelligent machines. Humans were rounded up into death camps and things are really bleak. The leader of the human resistence is John Connor and the machines see him as a threat, deciding to commit a little bit of "retroactive abortion" as is said by a character, they send a Terminator back in time before John was born to kill his mother. The Terminator blends in flawlessly in society with real hair and skin, even body odor and bad breath it is said. It's also very strong, learns how things work and unflinching in it's duty to kill it's target.
His target is Sarah Connor a young and happening woman with a crummy job but rather footloose and unburdened with the normal world around her, that is till the Terminator shows up. The Terminator doesn't know what Sarah really looks like or where she lives, he just goes through the phone book, finds the addresses of Sarah Connors and guns them down. Hearing this news freightens Sarah a little but what alarms her while out at a club is a man following her, unaware that he is in fact her savior, Kyle Reese. He too is from the future and has fought the Terminator's before and knows that fighting one in the past is an uphill battle given the primitive weapons of the time. Sarah thinks hes crazy at first but slowly comes to realize that Kyle may not be lying, especially after The Terminator slaughters a police station full of cops. Kyle needs to keep Sarah safe and slowly but surely they fall in love, in the scope of danger and with a killer looming.
The Terminator wasn't JUST another action movie even though it is how it is best remembered. It's elements of time travel and changing the future are definitely touched upon and explored. I don't want to delve too deep into them but it is one of those things you think of as you watch.
DVD editions show again what I've said of James Cameron that he knows that people want deleted scenes but just not to integrate them into the movie forever and ever. Some scenes include Traxler realizing that Kyle could be right about the Terminator but there are nice scenes that are left out and for a good reason. One scene has Kyle almost ending up SHOOTING Sarah which REALLY derails the relationship they had started to form. The final deleted scene shows something important and I'll leave it a surprise. None of these scenes are cardinal to the movie but it is nice to see them.
While the sequel, Judgement Day painted a cleaner and shinier look to these characters. This more modest film had a gritty look. It's darker, moodier and scarier in many places. The special effects were cruder and muddier but that served for the film's more ugly nature and it's violence which is also more ruthless. Think of Kyles dream of the future in the movie and contrast that to the opening of the second and you can see what I mean. When people say that this minimalist effort is a superior film, I can look at what this movie does have over it's sequel and see what they mean.
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