The Terminator

The Terminator ★★★★★

Cameron's criticized much unfairly these days. You can't say he hasn't always been a breathlessly visual director but it's fair use to say his screenplays, in recent years, lack any form of memorable characterization. His characters have become periodically more flat, in exchange for what Cameron's always more focused on which is world-building. The Terminator makes absolutely the best use of a fairly simple plot, while building the seeds for the bigger franchise to come. It's Cameron's leanest production and wastes zero time thrusting us into this deadly cat-and-mouse chase film. A series of action sequences, one after the other, showcasing his eye for great spectacle, concluding with the robotic monster that finally flips the film over to horror. One of the great 80's films and Cameron's best film to date.

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