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A complete Terminator collection with all of the thrills and excitement you would expect from Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The Terminator was the film that cemented Arnold Schwarzenegger's place in the action-brawn firmament, and both his and the movie's subsequent iconic status are well deserved. He's chilling as the futuristic cyborg that kills without fear, without love, without mercy. James Cameron's story and direction are pared to the bone and are all the more chillingly effective for it.
But don't overlook the contribution of Linda Hamilton, who more than holds her own as the Terminator's would-be victim, Sarah Connor, thus creating--along with Sigourney Weaver in Alien--a new generation of rugged, clear-thinking female action stars. The film's minimalist, malevolent violence is actually scarier than that of its far more expensive, more effects-laden sequel. --Anne Hurley, Amazon.com
Terminator 2: Judgment Day
Arguably the finest movie of its kind, Terminator 2: Judgment Day captured Arnold Schwarzenegger at the very apex of his Hollywood celebrity and James Cameron at the peak of his perfectionist directorial powers. Nothing the star did subsequently measured up to his iconic performance here, spouting legendary catchphrases and wielding weaponry with unparalleled cool; and while the director had an even bigger hit with the bloated and sentimental Titanic, few followers of his career would deny that Cameron's true forte has always been sci-fi action.
With an incomparably bigger budget than its 1984 precursor, T2 essentially reworks the original scenario with envelope-stretching special effects and simply more, more, more of everything. Yet, for all its scale, T2 remains at heart a classic sci-fi tale: robots running amok, time travel paradoxes and dystopian future worlds are recurrent genre themes, which are here simply revitalised by Cameron's glorious celebration of the mechanistic. From the V-twin roar of a Harley Fat Boy to the metal-crunching Steel Mill finale, the director's fascination with machines is this movie's strongest motif: it's no coincidence that the character with whom the audience identifies most strongly is a robot.
Now that impressive but unengaging CGI effects have come to over-dominate sci-fi movies (think of The Phantom Menace), T2's pivotal blending of extraordinary live-action stuntwork and FX looks more and more like it will never be equalled. --Mark Walker
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines starts in high gear and never slows down. The apocalyptic "Judgment Day" of Terminator 2 was never prevented, only postponed: John Connor (Nick Stahl, replacing T2's Edward Furlong), now 22 and disconnected from society, is being pursued yet again, this time by the advanced T-X, a sleek "Terminatrix" (coldly expressionless Kristanna Loken) programmed to stop Connor from becoming the saviour of humankind. Originally programmed as an assassin, a disadvantaged T-101 cyborg (Arnold Schwarzenegger, bidding fond farewell to his signature role) arrives from the future to join Connor and future wife Kate (Claire Danes) in thwarting the T-X's relentless pursuit. The plot presents a logical fulfilment of T2's prophecy, disposing of Connor's mother (Linda Hamilton is sorely missed) while computer-driven machines assume control, launching a nuclear nightmare that Connor must survive. With Breakdown and U-571 serving as rehearsals for this cautionary epic of mass destruction, director Jonathan Mostow wisely avoids any stylistic connection to James Cameron's classics; instead he's crafted a fun, exciting popcorn thriller, humorous and yet still effectively nihilistic, and comparable to Jurassic Park III in returning the Terminator franchise to its potent B-movie roots. --Jeff Shannon
Set in the post-apocalyptic 2018, with Christian Bale starring as John Connor, the man fated to lead the human resistance against Skynet and its army of Terminators. But the future Connor was raised to believe in is altered in part by the appearance of Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington), a stranger whose last memory is of being on death row. Connor must decide whether Marcus has been sent from the future, or rescued from the past. As Skynet prepares its final onslaught, Connor and Marcus both embark on an odyssey that takes them into the heart of Skynet’s operations, where they uncover the terrible secret behind the possible annihilation of mankind.
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