(out of 5)
Fans of James Cameron’s later, more expensive extravangazas will be thrilled to know that the talent was there from the start. A winning combination of tech obsession and character development, it stars Linda Hamilton as a California waitress who doesn’t know that she’s the murder target of a supercomputer cyborg (Arnold Schwarzenegger) who has travelled back through time to kill her. In the future, humans and machines are at war and Hamilton’s (now as-yet unborn) son is leading the human resistance and doing a good enough job to make the cyborgs nervous. Michael Biehn plays a soldier who also travels back to protect Hamilton, and together the two of them have to do their utmost to outmaneuver this incredibly powerful thinking machine. The strains of a limited budget are obvious in the primitive makeup and visual effects, but this doesn’t ever dull the impact of the thought-provoking and exciting story. Seven years later, Cameron made science-fiction film history with the incredible sequel.
Hemdale, Pacific Western, Euro Film Funding, Cinema ’84/Greenberg Brothers Partnership
United Kingdom/USA, 1984
Directed by James Cameron
Screenplay by James Cameron, Gale Anne Hurd, additional dialogue by William Wisher Jr.
Cinematography by Adam Greenberg
Produced by Gale Anne Hurd
Music by Brad Fiedel
Production Design by George Costello
Costume Design by Hilary Wright
Film Editing by Mark Goldblatt