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8 Super-Cool Movies Like Terminator

If you can’t get enough of time travel and robots, then these action flicks are for you.

The Terminator came out to delighted audiences in 1984. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s swaggering cyborg assassin coined the iconic line, “I’ll be back”—and he was. Again and again. The sixth film in the franchise, Terminator: Dark Fate, hits theaters Friday November 1st, welcoming fans back into the action-packed, high-stakes world of time traveling robot assassins set out to tip the fate of the future into their own hands.

Though Linda Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger star in this film, Terminator: Dark Fate strays a bit from the classic struggle of Sarah and John Connor. In the year 2020, Sarah Connor teams up with a human cyborg from the future as they race to protect a young girl from a new and improved liquid Terminator.

If you come home from the theaters feeling like you can’t quite let go of James Cameron’s dark science fiction world, then queue up these movies like Terminator and settle in.

I, Robot

I Robot
  • Photo Credit: Twentieth Century Fox

Very loosely inspired by Isaac Asimov’s short story collection of the same name, I, Robot embraces the Three Laws of Robotics. In the not so distant future—2035—humanity is served by humanoid robots. When the creator of these robotic wonders turns up dead, technophobic Detective Del Spooner (Will Smith) refuses to believe it’s a suicide.

With robopsychologist Dr. Susan Calvin (Bridget Moynahan) at his side, Detective Spooner’s investigation leads him to believe that a robot may have committed this murder—an act which should’ve been impossible. Spooner and Calvin interview a robot by the name of Sonny (Alan Tudyk), who claims he is unique in that he can feel and dream. As they slip deeper into the case, Spooner and Calvin must figure out if Sonny is an ally, or a threat to all of humankind.

RELATED: How Isaac Asimov’s I, Robot Prepares Us for a Future Controlled by AI


  • Photo Credit: Endgame Entertainment

Because corpses are nearly impossible to dispose of in the future, the hitmen of the 2070s send their victims back in time to meet their fate. In 2044, Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) works as one of these hitmen—a “looper”— employed by the crime bosses of the future. However, there always comes a day when a looper has to close his own loop, meaning that their last victim is their retired future self. When Old Joe (Bruce Willis) is sent back in time to meet his end, Joe finds that his task isn’t as cut and dry as he thought it would be.

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Blade Runner

Blade Runner
  • Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

Like The Terminator, this is another 80s film that boasts a recent follow up. A loose adaptation of Philip K Dick’s novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, the film is set in a dystopian future (though now it reads more like a dystopian alternate timeline) where the Tyrell Corporation synthetically bio-engineers humanoids called replicants. When four dangerous replicants go rogue, Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a cop whose mission is to eradicate rogue replicants, is strong-armed into tracking them down.

Blade Runner takes a bit of an opposing perspective to Terminator, focusing on the human protagonist as the pursuer rather than the one fleeing the threat. However, the film builds a dark, compelling world of science fiction which will be up any Terminator-lover’s alley.

RELATED: Must-Read Philip K. Dick Books 

Total Recall

Total Recall
  • Photo Credit: Carolco Pictures

Not only is this another film based off of a Philip K. Dick story (“We Can Remember It for You Wholesale”), but it also stars Terminator action-star Arnold Schwarzenegger as Douglas Quaid. In 2084, Quaid is a simple construction worker plagued with mysterious dreams about Mars. When his dreams are brushed off by his wife, Lori (Sharon Stone), he goes to Rekall Inc. to have memories of a Mars vacation implanted in his brain. What he gets are visions of a beautiful woman (Rachel Ticotin) and insight into an interplanetary political rebellion.

Unsure of what is a real suppressed memory or a side effect of the Rekall Implant, Quaid goes on a multi-layered investigation in which no one is safe to trust.

RELATED: 8 Chilling Sci-Fi Horror Movies 


  • Photo Credit: Orion Pictures

Because robots with guns are always cool, RoboCop not only had two film follow ups, but got a remake in 2014 as well. Despite the films that branched off of it, the 1987 classic reigns supreme. In a dystopian future in Detroit, crime is at an all-time high. When police officer Alex Murphy (Peter Weller) is mortally wounded in the line of duty, a mega-corporation converts his body into the cyborg RoboCop.

As the powerful RoboCop sweeps through the city annihilating crime, Alex Murphy’s memories start to resurface. On a harrowing personal journey of self-identity, RoboCop teams up with his former-self’s partner, Anne Lewis (Nancy Allen) to uncover a threat buried deep inside the crime world.

RELATED: The Top 10 Most Destructive Sci-Fi Weapons 

Ex Machina

Ex Machina
  • Photo Credit: Universal Pictures

If all your dreams came true when Terminator: Dark Fate featured a female robot, then take a look at Ex Machina, which follows an AI named Ava (Alicia Vikander). When programmer Caleb Smith (Domhnall Gleeson) spends a week at the isolated house of eclectic CEO Nathan Bateman (Oscar Isaac), he’s tasked with discovering how deep Ava’s sentience runs. Ava’s human face makes her beautiful, but Caleb finds her to be fascinating, sympathetic, and clever as well. However, things at Bateman’s estate aren’t quite as simple as they may seem.

RELATED: 25 Badass Female Characters from Film


  • Photo Credit: Largo Entertainment

This 1994 film based off of a collection of Dark Horse comics stars actor and former martial artist Jean-Claude Van Damme as Max Walker. After the death of his wife (Mia Sara), Max joins the Time Enforcement Commission to police the illicit use of time travel. Between putting a stop to criminals taking financial advantage of historical events and a revolving door of comrades he can’t trust, Max has to face off with an ambitious and corrupt politician. Of course, while juggling his own personal baggage he also has to keep up with an ever-changing timeline as a result of criminal interference with the past.

Related: 6 Unique Time Travel Books Fans Shouldn’t Miss


  • Photo Credit: Touchstone Pictures

Also based on a comic book series (The Surrogates), this movie from 2009 takes place in a future where humans can lock themselves away and go through the world as high-tech robots. When connected to their surrogates, humans feel no pain and remain safe from physical harm. That is, until the destruction of a surrogate results in the death of its human user. FBI Agent Tom Greer (Bruce Willis) and his partner, Agent Jennifer Peters (Radha Mitchell), must dig through a world which has forgotten about suffering and consequences in order to get to the bottom of this mystery which threatens so much of humanity.

RELATED: Sarah Connor, Laurie Strode, and Becoming Unstoppable 

Featured photo of "Terminator 2" via Carolco Pictures.

Published on 31 Oct 2019

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