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.
Watching the film, it's no surprise why "The Terminator" is a classic amongst action lovers. However, what did surprise me is how well-crafted it is. It has a smart script by Cameron and Hurd, and they create such a vivid universe and strong characters (especially its "Halloween"-level sculpting of the titular villain). It's a film that fully deserves the designation "often imitated, never duplicated."
This film gives me deja vu, certain elements of it I remember as if they were my own life some times (The ice-cream in Linda Hamilton's apron, the toy-truck as punk-terminator pulls up in his stolen car) I think this is due to a brilliant photographer.