The T-800 is ridiculously cool. It wears a biker jacket and sunglasses. It tells people it’ll be back. It hunts down the future mother of the future leader of the human resistance with a calm detachment that suggests it’s in control of the crisis even when the fate of all Skynetkind hangs in the balance. Arnold Schwarzenegger gave that robotic character charisma and a handful of catch phrases that ensured The Terminator would stick in our memory.
But the first two movies work because of Linda Hamilton.