SF elements

time travelling robot killers
  1. The Terminator . 1984
  2. Terminator 2: Judgment Day . 1991
  3. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines. 2003


The Terminator


[The Terminator]
[Terminator] [Arnie plus gun]

The Terminator [Arnold Schwarzenegger] is sent back in time to kill Sarah Connor [Linda Hamilton] before she can give birth to John Connor, leader of the Resistance against the robots. But the Resistance send back Kyle Reese [Michael Biehn] to help Sarah.

It's great to watch Sarah metamorphose from terrified waitress to tough fighter as she runs from, then battles, the seemingly unstoppable Terminator. Even being reduced to a skeleton doesn't stop him!

Rating: 2.5

[ unmissable | worth watching | passes the time | mind candy | waste of time | unfinishable ]


Terminator 2: Judgment Day

It's Nothing Personal


[Terminator 2]

The robots have another attempt at changing the past, by sending back an advanced 'liquid metal' Terminator [Robert Patrick] to kill the young John Connor, before he can become leader of the Resistance against the robots. This time the Resistance send back their own Terminator [Arnold Schwarzenegger] to help John and his mother Sarah Connor [Linda Hamilton].

[Arnie Terminator] Sarah, knowing the future, has trained John to be the resistance leader he is to become. But she was caught trying to destroy a computer factory, and is now incarcerated in a high security mental institution. The disaffected John is a criminal tearaway. But when the Terminator tries to kill him, he realises his mother really was right, and the race is on to save her, and destroy the Terminator, before it destroys him.

[Arnie humanised] At the start, John Connor is the only one of the four major characters who is fully human. The Terminators are driven only by their respective missions (and the slightly-built Robert Patrick conveys a marvelous sense of menace). Sarah, traumatised by her future knowledge, is driven to stop that future happening, cutting off all feelings of humanity, even with her son. As the violent story progresses, the Arnie Terminator is taught humanity by John, in particular, the value of human life. Sarah manages to recover hers, when she finds herself unable to kill the Cyberdyne scientist.

[Sarah Connor] This is a hugely enjoyable romp. The characters are all competent -- they actually look (to my uninitiated eyes, at least) as if they really know how to use all that armament -- and the kid is definitely un-cute. The actors whose characters get 'copied' by the metal Terminator play the different parts very well -- I always felt it was the Terminator, not just the same actor behaving a bit differently -- most especially with John's foster mother. The SFX are great: the liquid Terminator may be a little jerky at times, but the scene where it it walks through the barred hospital door is marvellous, as is the one when it freezes. (But one apparent effect -- two Sarahs chasing John -- is actually played by Linda Hamilton and her identical twin sister.)

The Special Edition has an extra 15 minutes of footage, mostly confined to two new scenes. The first is in the 'hospital', as Sarah is brutally restrained and drugged, and has an hallucination of Kyle Reese warning her that time is short. The second, more important, scene occurs just after the escape from the hospital, when the Arnie Terminator explains that his neural net is set in 'read only' mode, and John Connor changes it to allow the Terminator to learn. This is really quite a key scene, explaining why the Terminator starts becoming less robot-like from this point on.

Rating: 2

[ unmissable | worth watching | passes the time | mind candy | waste of time | unfinishable ]

reviewed 31 March 1998