Luc Besson has had success producing American-style sci-fi epics, but this unusual Gallic entry operates on sheer chutzpah. I enjoyed it, on an infantile level.
Wearing its influences on its sleeve proudly (starting points were MAD MAX and BLADE RUNNER, naturally since they were the trend-setters in the '80s), TERMINUS or END OF THE LINE (as its title song proclaims) is a fake Hollywood product, with the cast speaking English. (Obviously there was a French-track edition made for local audiences, too.) Karen Allen is winsome as the tomboy heroine, looking great and acting tough as a truck driver in a modernistic game.
The plot details are hardly worth recounting, but revolve around a dystopia where control is all. Jurgen Prochnow is well-cast in three roles, all of them baddies, as essentially different aspects of the control mechanism. A young boy, bred for the future perfection of the species (and weeding out of "human" characteristics) is the genius programming the computer named Monster who guides the trucker in this game. Goal: reach the end of the line.
Allen is killed off surprisingly early in the film, giving the fans a frisson of the type Hitchcock pioneered in knocking off Janet Leigh early on in PSYCHO. Johnny Hallyday, in full Jim Jarmusch white hairdo, takes over her role and is surprisingly effective as the anti-hero fighting not only the system but the powerful denizens of the outside world (looks like Eastern Europe) in whose territory the truck-driving game is being played. Along for the ride with Hallyday is a cutesy little girl who is key to the whole plot, stolidly played by the director's daughter.
Helmer Pierre-William Glenn is a top French cinematographer, whose work is synonymous with quality (notably Bertrand Tavernier's favorite d.p.). Taking a flier here at the director's chair, he delivers a competent but uninspired product -a movie that is one of those Saturday afternoonrainy day time-killers -not even fit for video release in America. It's not a bad film at all, merely a mediocre one and clearly non-competitive against the American (or British) sf movies.
Review by lor_ from the Internet Movie Database.