In a post-apocalyptic future, a killer cyborg, encased in human flesh, is sent into the past to to kill Sarah Connor, the mother of a future rebel chief who will lead insurgents against 21st century mechanical hegemony.
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"The Terminator" has possibly the greatest delivery of exposition in any genre movie. Michael Biehn is spouting off about cyborgs and a future war but, first of all, you don't know if he's crazy or not; he's explaining all this while being hounded by the police AND the Terminator, and he's in the process of stealing a car; but Biehn's performance is so full of conviction, you're taken in by every word he says.
Every once in awhile a Hollywood movie comes along and hits straight at the sweet spot where fear and pleasure meet: The Woman in the Window, Inv. of the Body Snatchers, Rear Window...in the 80s there was this, an allegory of the birth of the Saviour amid the stomping and bullet-spraying of a cyborg hitman. As an "action movie" it's fine, but it really deserves to be known as an exceptionally deft suspense thriller.