Director: James Cameron
Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Michael Biehn
Review by Brian M. Sammons
A) Yes this is not a horror flick.
B) Who cares, sci-fi and horror are kissing cousins and besides, it’s one of the coolest movies ever.
C) It’s out on Blu-ray.
D) Yes it was out on Blu-ray before, but that edition kind of sucked.
E) Does this version suck? Let’s find out.
Do I really have to explain the plot of The Terminator to you? Is there anyone alive over the age of five that doesn’t know what these movies are all about? Ok, future world, robots rule, mankind fights back and wins, but as a last ditch effort the evil machines send a killer robot wrapped in human skin back in time to the rocking ’80s to kill the mother of the resistance leader so that the leader will never be born. Enter Arnie (hey is that thing moving, then let me stick my penis in it) Schwarzenegger as the titular death machine, the role that would make him a certified box office sensation. Luckily the human resistance of the future also sends someone back in time to protect the mother of the century and so begins a lethal cat and mouse game all over LA with two metallic fists full of action, groundbreaking (at the time) special effects, and a story so influential that it’s been mentioned, parodied, or out and out ripped off in dozens of movies since then.
Oh and it also gave birth to Arnold’s signature line of, “don’t worry, I’ll use a condom.” No wait, sorry, I meant, “I’ll be back.”
The Terminator is a must watch movie for anyone, and I mean anyone. I know people who don’t like horror movies (and I pity them). I know people who don’t “get” sci-fi. Some people (mostly women) don’t like action films and others don’t like modern comedies…not that I can fault anyone for that last bit. Most people don’t dig musicals, some think dramas are just boring, and others don’t like foreign films if they have to read subtitles, but I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like, if not outright love, The Terminator. God’s honest truth, I’ve never met anyone who does not like this movie. Now naturally there’s got to be some folks out there who don’t like this film. Hell, you might not like it and if so, that’s fine. It also means that I would not want to meet you and therefor my statement above would remain true.
However with all that said, this hugely famous, much loved, and amazing movie has been getting very little respect for the last couple of years. You see an action/sci-fi flick like this was what Blu-ray was made for. You don’t need High-Def to get anything more out of Remains Of The Day or the like, but a film like this; hell yeah you do! Unfortunately when this movie first came to Blu-ray it got some mixed love at best and this time around it only gets a brief, one-armed hug better.
The video quality was not all that great. Sure it was better than DVD but not by leaps and bounds and not up to the high standards of many top tier Blu-ray releases now. Yes it’s 1080p but it could have been cleaned up a lot better as there are lots of bips and cracks to be seen on screen along with some compression noise. Is it a horrible transfer? No. But is it worthy of a film like The Termination? Again I would have to say no. Luckily the audio is the same as it ever was, which means its fine.
The real downer is still the lack of extras. Sure it has a spiffy new digibook which includes photos, trivia, and a good smattering of info, but the actual extras on the disc are slim pickings. The years old DVD release was well packed with goodies, including an over hour long documentary called “Other Voices.” Well for some unfathomable reason only one small, 12 minute part of that doc about the visual effects and music has made its way onto this disc. What the hell, did the other parts get lost? There are 7 deleted scenes and an 18 minute interview with James Cameron and Arnold Schwarzenegger called “Terminator: A Retrospective.” And, well that’s it. They couldn’t even be bothered to put on a trailer, not that anyone really watches those. Oh and no director’s commentary, but then I don’t think there ever was one.
So if you already have the Special Edition DVD then you don’t need this unless you want a slight picture improvement. If you already have the previous Blu-ray then you really don’t need this new edition unless you want a cool new booklet. If you don’t have either of those, then what the hell? This is The Terminator, we’re talking about. So in that instance I can recommend this new edition of the classic Schwarzenegger film, but only in that one, highly unlikely instance.