Often juvenile in terms of dialogue and characterization, with surprisingly inconsistent special effects by the legendary Stan Winston, the birth of the Terminator series nonetheless has a primal pull. Those nightmares we’ve all had about being chased by some relentless, unstoppable monster? This is the movie adaptation. Arnold Schwarzenegger has his defining role as the title character, a hulking cyborg from the future. Sent back in time by the artificially intelligent machines who have taken over the world Matrix-style, the Terminator’s mission is to find and kill the woman who eventually gives birth to the leader of the future human rebellion. It’s a smart science-fiction setup that leans heavily on the work of Harlan Ellison. Here, director James Cameron and his co-writer, Gale Anne Hurd, use it as a launching pad for a feature-length chase scene. As Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) and a protector from the future (a bland Michael Biehn) run for their lives, Arnold’s assassin keeps on coming, no matter what stands in his way. The intensity owes as much to the Schwarzenegger as to the insistent thrum of Brad Fiedel’s score.