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The Terminator

The Terminator was a 1984 science fiction film which made the former body-builder Arnold Schwarzenegger a star. Directed by James Cameron, the premise of the movie is that a cybernetic construct, the T-800 Terminator (played by Schwarzenegger), has been transported back in time from 2029 A.D. to 1984 to assassinate a woman named Sarah Connor (played by Linda Hamilton). At the same time a man, Kyle Reese (played by Michael Biehn[?]), is sent back to protect Connor from the cyborg.

In the future the world is ruled by Skynet, a network of computers bent on eliminating mankind; Connor will soon become the mother of John Connor, the child who grows up to lead the humans in resistance against Skynet. As the story progresses, the human veneer of flesh is progressively stripped from the Terminator, and the naked machinery is revealed.

The plot is summed up by these lines spoken by Reese, who tells Sarah Connor:

"Listen! And understand! That terminator is out there. It can't be bargained with! It can't be reasoned with! It doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead!"

Some aspects of the story were sufficiently similar to Harlan Ellison's short story "Soldier" that an acknowledgement of Ellison's story was placed in the credits. (Commentators have also noted a similarity, in the premise of a killer robot disguised as a human, between the film and Philip K. Dick's short story "Second Variety".) A similar plot of a killer machine sent back in time to change history was seen in a fairly obscure film from 1966 entitled Cyborg 2087.

The second feature film for director Cameron (the first was the unsuccessful Piranha II: The Spawning), this movie was a surprise box-office hit. It established Cameron as a talented action director; he would then go on to produce a string of successful action movies, continuing with Aliens in 1986. Schwarzenegger had already starred in the hit film Conan the Barbarian and its successor, Conan the Destroyer, but The Terminator made his name a household word. It is still considered to be one of his best roles.

A sequel, Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) was also directed by James Cameron, and again starred Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton, with Edward Furlong[?] as the young John Connor.

A further sequel, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, is scheduled for release on July 2, 2003, again with Schwarzenegger, but with Nick Stahl[?] as John Connor and Kristanna Loken[?] as the Terminatrix. Terminator 3 is being directed by Jonathan Mostow[?].

Dark Horse Comics has the comic book rights to the story, and in addition to movie adaptations has released a number of original sequels.



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