The Terminator Franchise Classic Movie(s) Review

Classic Movie Reviews are once a week posts in which I review a movie from the past. It might have to do with a movie coming out that week or just a personal favorite of mine. These reviews may contain spoilers.


I didn’t get around to doing this last week, so to make up for it this week you get 4 classic movie reviews.  This week’s target is the Terminator franchise in honor of Terminator Genisys coming out this weekend.  These reviews will be a bit more brief than usual due to the fact I’m doing all 4. So here are my reviews for 2 great movies (that can be found high on my top 10 Arnold Schwarzenegger movies list that you can find here) and 2 not so great sequels.

The Terminator

The one that starts it all, The Terminator is a classic ’80s action movie.  It tells the story of a woman being hunted by a robot from the future because of her unborn son’s importance in the future war.  A man is sent back to protect her from the unstoppable killing machine.  First, the acting is solid.  Some of it is over the top, but that is true for most older movies.  But everyone does well in their roles.  The action scenes are great and are beat only by the suspense this movie builds up until it climax.  The main issue with the movie is it has aged quite a bit.  Some of the visual effects, while great for their time, don’t hold up quite as well today.  It becomes a bit distracting at times. However that is a small issue in one of the best action movies of the ’80s.  It’s highly entertaining and gives us Arnold’s “I’ll be back” catchphrase. The first movie in the Terminator franchise gets a 4.25/5.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day

If the first movie is one of the best action movies ever made, T2 is one of the best movies ever made.  And that’s not just a personal opinion- the movie sports an 8.5 and holds the number 42 spot on IMDB.  This one is about another, more advanced terminator being sent back in time, this time going after John Connor himself, who is a teenage boy.  Arnold Schwarzenegger’s terminator is reprogrammed and sent back to protect him and help destroy Skynet. The story gets more complex that the first but works.  Schwarzenegger is even better in this movie than he is in the first.  It is arguably his best performance (I know that’s not saying much but still).  Linda Hamilton is also great in this one as Sarah Connor. While the first one’s visual effects feel dated, this one doesn’t suffer from that at all.  They are outstanding and were groundbreaking at the time.  They truly are incredible.  The actions scenes are some of the best ever shot and the whole movie is intense and entertaining.  The one downside about this one is the acting of Edward Furlong, who plays John Connor.  It really is pretty bad at times.  It brings the movie down a bit but Judgment Day still gets a 4.75/5.

Terminator 3 Rise of the Machines

And here is where we start to go downhill.  That being said, I don’t hate this one as much as most people.  It’s not a great movie by any means.  But it is entertaining at times.  This time, Arnold’s terminator is again sent back to protect John Connor, this time older, from another terminator who is more advanced and takes the form of a woman.  Together, along with John’s future wife, they try and stop Skynet from starting the nuclear war that wipes out humanity.  As I said, parts of it are entertaining, the effects are decent, the action scenes are good, and I think the end is a great twist. However the negatives far outweigh the positives.  The acting is dry and the story is confusing.  While parts of it are entertaining, other parts seem to bring the movie to a screeching halt and it becomes boring, something the first 2 movies never did.  It doesn’t quite feel like a terminator movie so, for that and all its flaws, it gets a much lower rating at 2.75/5.

Terminator Salvation

The worst overall movie of the bunch, I still find this movie entertaining.  It’s kind of a guilty pleasure for me.  This movie is set completely in the future and is about John Connor and the Resistance’s fight against the machines.  Part of it involves saving Kyle Reese, the man he eventually sends back to save his mother.  And honestly this movie makes no sense at all.  The plot is convoluted and confusing and just plain lazy at points.  There’s even an awful CGI Arnold Schwarzenegger at one point.  Some of the acting is bad and even normally reliable guys (Christian Bale and Sam Worthington) seem to phone in it in some parts.  The movie has potential but just doesn’t quite do what it wants to.  That being said, I still find it entertaining and I liked the directions it attempted (but failed) to take.  As enjoyable as it is at times, it still is not a good movie so it gets the same score as the third movie- 2.75/5.

Let me know in the comments which of these are your favorite and why! And also let me know if you are at all excited for Genisys.