In anticipation for the upcoming Terminator: Genesis, set for release in Summer 2015, here is a list of the best franchise moments to date. While the list is certainly not exhaustive, if this doesn't whet your palette for cyborg action, you just might be one!
10. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines--- "Desire is irrelevant. I AM a machine!"--- At a crucial moment in the third installment of the series, the main antagonist of the film, Kristanna Loken's steely, eerily believable T-X has re-wired the T-800's system to revert him back to the killing machine he once was. Of course, by this time John and the T-800, played by Arnold Schwarzenegger, had come a long way in their relationship and what the T-800 does to prevent himself from failing his mission is highly memorable.
9. Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles--- "When the Man Comes Around."--- One of my favorite parts of the short-lived Fox television series that offered a parallel timeline to Jonathan Mostow's Terminator 3 were Lena Headey's awesome voice-overs that served as a nice callback to Linda Hamilton's voice-overs in Cameron's T2. In this finale scene from season one, the central Terminator villain of the series is raided by the FBI, led by intrepid agent James Ellison. The FBI, and Ellison, had no idea what they were in for. Accompanied by an apocalyptic tune by Johnny Cash, Headey's voice-over in this scene perfectly capture what the show-runners are trying to accomplish with this finale.
8. The Terminator--- Police Station Shootout--- The loquacious T-800 we see in Cameron and Moscow's film was once a man of very few words, but mainly spoke through his actions. Terminator villains generally have a penchant for focusing on their main mission to kill rather than on making new friends. It's clear in this seminal scene from the Terminator saga that Arnold's T-800 programmed to kill will settle for nothing less than that. It's one of the coolest action scenes in sci-fi history, but it's not for the light of heart.
7. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines--- Skynet Takes Over--- The moment that Kyle Reese, the re-programmed T-800 in T2 and the Connors have been trying to prevent over the course of the franchise is finally at hand in Mostow's oft-berated third installment in the franchise. While it certainly has its fair share of problems, this film is ultimately a fun flick that offers plenty of action, laughs and Arnold one-liners, attributes that would be sorely missed in the much anticipated but ultimately disappointing Terminator: Salvation. This climactic moment in the film's action showcases for perhaps the first time John Connor's ability to lead the human race to victory against the machines. As much as the Connors have spent their lives trying to avoid their fate (for good reason), ultimately this moment was inevitable, as Connor himself later points out in the film's final scene. Mostow skillfully meshes action, human emotion and plot development in this simultaneously terrifying and thrilling takeover scene.
6. Terminator 2: Rise of the Machines--- "It's In Your Nature to Destroy Yourselves."- While the second film in the series is known for its mind-blowing special effects, some of the best moments in the film are the subtler ones such as when two kids are fighting at a gas station the Connors have stopped at on their way to Mexico. John asks the T-800: "We're not going to make it are we? People I mean." Arnold's response is bone-chilling, especially considering that a machine is able to gleam an insight that is foreign to must humans. At heart, Cameron's film is a call to reckoning for all the war we have waged against one another as humans. How different are humans from cyborgs in times of war?
5. The Terminator--- "I came across time for you, Sarah."--- Kyle Reese's proclamation of love for the woman he is assigned to protect against the Terminator is the impetus for the whole mission in the first place. Time travel logic is confusing, but the gist is that if it weren't for Kyle Reese coming back to protect Sarah, John Connor wouldn't exist in the first place. While it may seem a little strange for a guy to fall in love with a picture and dedicate his life to saving her at all costs, no one can deny that Kyle Reese is a romantic, especially in light of this scene.
Stay tuned for the final four top ten Terminator moments!