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I just re-watched the first two films in the Terminator series. The T1000 (Robert Patrick) does a lot of running, and is quite fast.

I didn't see many scenes where the T800 (Arnie) ran. Is it because he's really heavy? Is he mainly designed as a heavy "stand your ground" machine?

The only scene I could see him running is in T2 in the mental hostpital where the T1000 morphs through the metal gate and his gun gets caught. Then the T800 does a little jog to get into the elevator following John and Sarah. (anybody know of any other running/jogging scenes?) (EDIT Arnie also breaks into a run while pursuing Reece and Sarah down the alley after the NOIR nightclub attack.)

If he can at least jog though, why wouldn't he do this throughout the entire film? You would think that from a "chance of survival" point of view, if he could get a John even the slightest bit faster then he'd do so.

Of course, maybe I am overthinking this... Arnie walking around slowly is a lot more badass than Arnie jogging around.

Edit: Just watched T3 again, the T800 also ran towards the end when the big hangar door was closing and he ran over to slow it down. Interested in other examples of the T800 running too.

We're looking for long answers that provide some explanation and context. Don't just give a one-line answer; explain why your answer is right, ideally with citations. Answers that don't include explanations may be removed.

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    100+ years in stand-by mode. Substantially less if he jogs everywhere, presumably. – Valorum Oct 19 '14 at 11:04
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    Slow-moving villains are inherently scary. One of the key selling points of the Terminator is that your death is inevitable. Why does he need to run fast if he's gonna kill you anyway? – Valorum Oct 19 '14 at 11:17
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    The T800 is an infiltrator unit, something of an assassin. As such, a priority in his programming might be more to be thorough rather than fast. Seek, identify, kill, rinse repeat. Works better slower, possibly. That said, he is seen to chase at least once, in a kind of loping jog. Consider how much he weighs, it might not be the friendliest on his system to do it too much. Or perhaps it has to be for short bursts to prevent damage to his batteries. – Broklynite Oct 19 '14 at 14:56
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    But, T-X is sexy. Isn't it? cdn.yourepeat.com/media/gif/000/240/501/… – Captain Cold Oct 20 '14 at 1:15
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    The T-800 begins to jog in the mall passageway after he picks up his gun. The T-1000 had just bested him in hand-to-hand combat and the T-800 needed to save John. – user30592 Oct 20 '14 at 2:11
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As others have already said, the T-800 does run occasionally, although he walks or jogs much more often.

As for why this is the case, I can offer a few possibilities, primarily based on the second movie.

In-Universe

  • He doesn't move as fast as he is capable of, because he needs to stay close to John, and John isn't as fast as a Terminator. In at least one or two scenes, he stays so close to John that he is able to use his own body as a shield to protect John from incoming fire. Basically, he doesn't have to move as fast as possible, or even as fast as the T-1000 - he only needs to move as fast as John and Sarah move. If he ran faster than them, he'd be tearing down the street while, far behind him, John and Sarah were being stabbed to death by the T-1000.

  • Whatever his top speed is, he clearly wasn't built for speed - he was built for brute strength. If he was supposed to be extremely fast, he wouldn't be so bulky. If Skynet wanted him to be as fast as possible, he would probably look a lot more like the T-1000 - relatively thin and wiry, not an enormous bodybuilder with muscles on top of muscles.

  • He doesn't need to run, or even jog, very often. Most of the time, he is in a vehicle of some sort, or riding a motorcycle, both of which are faster than he could ever be (despite John's claim, while they are in the old pickup truck, that "I could get out and run faster than this!").

  • As Praxis has pointed out, for most of T2, the T-800 (as well as John and Sarah) is not trying to catch up to the T-1000, he is trying to get away from it. Since cars and motorcycles are much faster than a Terminator on foot, the point is somewhat moot. While they are all on foot, the T-800 has to limit himself to John and Sarah's speed; when they are in a vehicle, he can drive as fast as possible.

Out-of-Universe

  • This is an example of a tried and true, standard operating procedure for movie villains (of course, in the second movie, the T-800 is a good guy, but he is, after all, a reprogrammed evil assassin robot): For whatever reason, the killer is scarier if he moves slowly. Jason Voorhees, for instance, never runs. He never even walks quickly. He just plods along at a leisurely pace. This is also true of the first two Terminator movies - the T-800's rarely move faster than a quick walking pace. Something about the sense of inexorable, inevitable doom that a slow moving killer provokes makes the killer that much more frightening - "This thing is so confident that it will murder me that it isn't even bothering to run after me! It's just walking slowly towards me!"

  • There are no scenes in T2 in which the T-800's slow pace puts it, or John and Sarah, at risk, because the scenes were written that way intentionally. The writers didn't want the T-800 to move faster than it does on screen.

  • Very thorough --- I like. – Praxis Jul 4 '15 at 23:33
  • @Praxis - I like your answer better. – Wad Cheber Jul 4 '15 at 23:42
8

The T-800 does run in The Terminator. For instance, he chases Sarah Connor and Kyle Reese down an alleyway after the nightclub incident, as @MajorStackings pointed out in the comments.

In-universe, I believe that the T-800s seen in The Terminator and Terminator 2 do not run very often because:

  • the T-800 can drive a number of different human vehicles
  • human vehicles are abundant in 1984 and 1991

Why run when you can drive? In T2, they are mostly trying to escape the T-1000 rather than engage it. The T-1000 has a top running speed of 40 miles/hour (64.3 km/hour). The Harley Fat Boy that the T-800 rides in Terminator 2 has a top speed of 130.5 miles/hour (210 km/hour).

(Without spoiling anything from Genisys, T-800s drive pick-up trucks to get around in 2029 too.)

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    Arnie also runs back to his bike when the couple flees the motel in a pick-up. – Major Stackings Jul 4 '15 at 23:24
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There is a scene in T2 in which the Terminator and John play "too slow". The Terminator is tricked by John to swipe empty air all the time because the T800 is... too slow.

so here my two cents:

  • Hydraulics are inherently slow
  • Forcing the system to run all the time requires a lot of power and shorten the battery life
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As noted before, the t-800 has moved at a jog (6-8mph) and possibly faster on more than one occasion. As for their hydraulics being slow, the opening scene of t2 shows the t800 grab a shotgun from a bar owner quicker than the bar owner could react. I bet he could hit johns hand if he tried but with enough force to fracture his wrist. Yes, the machine weighs quite a bit but it capable of producing so much force to counteract the weight. Also, the machine can't weight too much as it would bottom out the shocks on a motorcycle. Not be able to sit in a car with it being lopsided or overload a small elevator.

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The T-800 was not built to run or encounter heavy combat situations; it was meant to infiltrate the enemy camp and let loose destruction when the inmates of the camp are not prepared for a fight and are sleeping/resting and are recovering after battle. Hence, it was not designed to run frequently.

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It isn't addressed one way or another, but I think Valorum has the right idea, it is for cinematic reasons. Relentless, implacable, unstoppable doom is scary and if the hero has no chance to get away it makes for a very short movie.

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