The Terminators DVD review

No Cyberdyne Systems, but cyborgs on the cheap anyway. The Asylum bring us The Terminators...

The Terminators

With a certain part four of a certain James Cameron created franchise now in the cinema, it seems only fair that direct-to-video kings The Asylum put their own spin on the ‘robots vs humans’ story.

High above the earth there is a space-station manned by humans and androids (TRs). For some unknown reason, there is a bloody mutiny by the TRs and all the crew are murdered. The computer system on the ship sends a program to all the earth-based TRs instructing them to kill all humans, so the massacre begins.

Soon cities fall and we meet a bunch of survivors from a small town outside Los Angeles. Led by the local friendly sheriff, they manage to secure a van and head for safety in the countryside. Pursued constantly by TRs (all played by the same actor Paul Logan), they are helped from an attack by an ex-employee of the company who designed the androids. This chap is dead handy to have around as he has a nifty gun which is the only way to stop the rampaging machines. He is played by Jeremy London, remember him from Kevin Smith’s Mallrats?

To end all this unpleasantness, the survivors must steal a spacecraft, fly to the space-station and blow it up. Easy, eh? Along the way, we have bloody shootings, some nice CGI space battles (in a 1980s type of way) and a nice bit of stop motion TRs with no skin. To have an idea what they look like, imagine if a T800 and a Cylon had some metallic offspring.  

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Paul Logan’s TR sports a black vest and hard wearing trousers, looking the part as an unstoppable cyborg. He kills extras well and is helped by some effective if cheap split screen effects, so several versions of his character appear on screen at the same time. The cast is filled with Asylum regulars, the aforementioned London and also veteran TV actor A. Martinez, playing the friendly Sheriff.

With a title such as The Terminators, you would expect it to resemble, in some way, the Arnie classics. It does have cyborgs in human form, but if anything the film is more akin to Kenneth Johnson’s classic TV mini-series V. The spaceships look like the the craft Mike Donovan used to fly around in and the film has a definite V vibe to it. If you know V and watch this film, you will know what I mean.

There are plenty of extras on the disc with a commentary, bloopers, trailers, deleted scenes and the obligatory ‘making of’ featurette. The director of The Terminators is regular Asylum director of photography Xavier Puslowski, making his debut behind the camera.  Puslowski does a grand job and has obviously learnt from his colleagues to enjoy making films and be inventive when the money is tight.

Now finally, is the film any good? It’s certainly worth 90 minutes of your time, if low budget campy sci-fi is your thing. If it isn’t, this film won’t change your mind. It is no way a classic or even a minor one. It is, however, reasonably entertaining BS to watch when you come home from the pub, with a couple of good death scenes for annoyingly whiny characters.

2 stars

Rating:

2 out of 5