Customer Reviews: The Terminal Man
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on October 4, 2009
A computer scientist (George Segal) is in a car accident, and the resulting brain injury causes him to have sudden, violent seizures. When he assaults his wife, he is imprisoned. Now, he's a volunteer in an experimental new medical procedure that might end his rampages, with electrodes planted in his cerebral cortex that are supposed to control and ease his bad impulses. The operation seems to be a success at first, but--as in FRANKENSTEIN--there's a downside to playing God. The electrodes malfunction, and he escapes from his hospital room. He's at large in a big city, and it's a matter of time before he becomes uncontrollably violent again....

Michael Crichton's first novel, THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN, was filmed in 1971 by master director Robert Wise (THE HAUNTING, THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL, etc.). Crichton's second book, THE TERMINAL MAN, was filmed in 1974 by Mike Hodges, a then-unknown British director who would go on to an interesting career (FLASH GORDON, CROUPIER, etc.). Hodges was obviously influenced by Wise's unusual approach to the scientific material--both directors have soft-spoken experts working in cold, sterile, white-on-white environments. Lots of metal surfaces: machines and gadgets and mirrors. Huge chunks of technical jargon are presented as dialogue. The actors in both movies (with the exception of Segal) are non-stars, mostly from the Broadway stage, and their unfamiliarity makes them seem even more authentic in their roles. In both films, one long, detailed scientific procedure takes up the first half, followed by quiet panic and genteel racing against time after everything goes horribly wrong. But even with the running around and guns and shouting, there's a detached, laid-back, dreamlike quality to both films.

If you want fast pace and lots of action and romance in your sci-fi thrillers, you won't appreciate THE TERMINAL MAN. But if you want a fascinating modern interpretation of FRANKENSTEIN and DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE, this is an unusually sophisticated film, and food for thought. (Also check out The Andromeda Strain.) Highly recommended.
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on April 26, 2008
This is an excellent movie which deserves to be on DVD, with commentary by Crichton, Hodges and/or Segal. They are all still with us as of 4/2008 (Sadly Ms. Hackett is not).

This is a superior film with brilliant set design and costuming. From the sterility of the Hospital (known only as "Babel" from the subtly placed and nearly nearly invisible emblems), to the mind-numbing anonymity of the staff uniforms, few films are as well dressed as this. Only the dissenting staff, Dr's Ross and Manon, show any hint of individuality in their work apparel. Ironically it is Benson the patient, supposedly insane, who displays the most humanity of all, with the possible exception of Dr Ross. Segal was brilliant, and severely under-utilized in the film. Perhaps the filmmakers thought that necessary, in order to emphasize the dehumanization of the hospital and its staff. But a bit more contrast could have been provided IMO. Still, the film is excellent nonetheless.

Today's society however, with its short attention span, will likely be permanently disappointed. To those who complain that this film is "slow" (and they are legion); I would say to either learn some patience, or simply avoid the film and go back to your action/adventure.

While made in the early 1970's, it is highly relevant to today's world as well. Replace the "wires in the brain" with today's over-prescribed Ritalin, SSRI's, and other similar drugs, and you will see the point.

Please, please, release this underrated gem on DVD with all the extras. There are many like myself who will buy it. Thank you!
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on August 29, 2013
One of the best movies I have ever seen. It includes a tour de force performance by George Segal. He was always kind of underrated but he was so good in so many movies. Blume in Love comes to mind. California Split was another kind of masterpiece. And the director, Mike Hodges, made a few great gems like Croupier, Get Carter and Flash Gordon. This movie was made for the generation that still had attention spans. The dumbest criticism of a movie is that it is slow. People are always calling Barry Lyndon slow. It's the people that say this that are slow. They have been dumbed down by electronics. They have a chip in their head. This generation IS The Terminal Man!! Hah, I just got it. Best Science Fiction Movie ever. It's an art house SF movie like Point Blank is the best art house crime movie, this is the best art house SF. Don't be so dumb. Get this. Seamus and Emer
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on March 10, 2011
The film is excellent: great cast, well written, smartly directed. For anyone who enjoyed Project X or Scanners, this film is a must.

Michaelmatician instructs us to steal if necessary in order to learn the code of the Terminal Man.

We Will Learn To See The Michrotron.
We Will Learn To See The Michrotron.


jeremyshingles. wordpress. com
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on April 25, 2015
This one is bleak with a capital "B"! Dark, engaging and profoundly disturbing, it's hard to believe that Director Mike Hodges went on to direct the decidedly un-bleak and dizzily entertaining Flash Gordon. Segal plays the eponymous Terminal Man with great balance, presenting an individual worthy of both your sympathy and fear, whilst the supporting cast remain brilliantly detached and malevolent within the shadows of the picture's sterile, futuristic dystopia. Just remember: Bleak with a capital "B"!
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on July 15, 2016
This is an outstanding McLuhanesque POP / LSD 60's artifact (even though it was released in 1974) thanks to Mike Hodges' visionary direction, completely overlooked and forgotten even at the time. You can tell why it was a Kubrick fave ... Hodges is clearly one of the few film-makers able to take 2001 a step further. Kubrick probably wished he had been enough of a humanist to go in this direction instead of withdrawing to his increasingly alien (and masturbatory) PuppetLand..
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on July 12, 2014
Sorry, I like George Segal, but this has to be his worst movie. He did good in acting, but the movie just crawled along. Half of the movie was the preparation for his operation to his head, including those old scenes of the operating table and fake procedures. O.k. he had something like epilepsy and when struck with those attacks he had a tendency to kill. Tried to figure out what this movie was about. He had head attacks, they tried to fix, it didn't work, he killed a few people-the end.

Worst part - I had to rent the movie. Prime video, please movie to "no charge", so people don't feel so bad.
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on October 30, 2015
I really looked forward to watching this movie since I enjoyed the novel so much. It should have stayed true to the novel like the marvelous "Andromedia Strain". It had the look of an "art" film but failed miserably, so it was neither exciting nor profound.
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on January 24, 2013
There are a few great moments scattered across this movie, but they don't come often enough to offset the tedium or lift it out of the realm of a mildly interesting failure. Hard to say why Hodges chose to shoot it at such a glacial pace or in such somber, funereal tones. Maybe he was going for the Kubrick Effect. But Terminal Man is no Space Odyssey. It's an extremely simple Crichton story: A bunch of cold, arrogant scientists and doctors hook George Segal's brain up to a computer, and guess what happens next? Rod Serling could have dispatched with it handily in a half-hour episode, with commercial breaks. Stretching it across almost two hours of glum, deadpan film just didn't work. Neither do the Roger Daltry wig and ice cream suit Segal wears through the last act -- it's like a clown suit. That last act has most of the movie's good scenes, but you have to sit through more than an hour of tedium to get to it, and by that point I personally didn't care what happened to the guy. It looks good, but it's not. Some movies are obscure for a reason.
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on November 19, 2013
Excellent scifi film. A slow burn of alienation and violence set against a sterile and technocratic setting. The performances are fine, but the creepy mood and ultimate payoff are delivered by the director. Worth seeing.
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