Review of 'Terminator 2: Judgement Day'

2nd film in the 'Terminator' series

t2.jpg The young John Connor (Edward Furlong) is destined to lead the resistance in a future war against the machines which now rule the planet as “Skynet”. In the original “Terminator” film the machines send a robot back in time to kill John's mother Sarah (Linda Hamilton) who, aided by Kyle Reese sent by John in the future to protect her, manages to defeat the original Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger). Now, John is a teenager and the machines make another attempt to stop the future resistance this time sending back an advanced liquid metal future version of the original Terminator, a T-1000 (Robert Patrick). The future John again sends another back in time to protect his younger self this time in the form of the original Terminator which initially causes some confusion. John and the terminator help break Sarah out of the mental institution where she now lives and decide to stop “Judgement Day” - Where Skynet becomes “self aware” - by seeking out and killing the one who created Skynet in the first place, Miles Dyson (Joe Morton). Lots of action an dexplosions ensue.

This has to be the best of the Terminator movies with much more of the action and twists that made the first film so enjoyable though it comes at the price of being a much bigger Hollywood film. The effects, of course, are first rate and still stand up almost 30 years later. The set pieces are truly epic with explosions to keep a pyromaniac happy but staged in such a way to be truly unique. Blowing up an office building? Check. Jumping a truck off of a bridge? Check. These are imaginative and spectacular stunts that utterly convince. It does need to be said that occasionally the liquid metal of the T-1000 does not entirely convince (such as when he emerges from the fiery remains of a truck crash) simply due to the capabilities of the time the film was created…this is a minor quibble though as for the most part it looks incredible.

The acting in Terminator 2, though not Academy Award level, is iconic to say the least. Furlong as the young John is a convincing “fish out of water” character who has been brought up to be “street wise” by the not-quite-so-convincing “hard nosed” mother Sarah, played by Hamilton. Schwarzenegger is at his iconic best with many of his most famous lines in evidence with his steely glare yet here with an attempt by John to teach the robotic destroyer how to be more humane which adds a slight more complexity to the previous killing machine particularly when this pays off in the dramatic final scene in the steel factory. Schwarzenegger and Hamilton both provide the majority of the big action scenes (the former more than the later) doing so with a great deal of believably. Hamilton, however, despite having put on some muscle mass has a hard time convincing of her humanity while ironically, Schwarzenegger as the robot is much more appealing a character.

The story is quite complex for such a blockbuster and offers a good number of twists to keep filmgoers entertained beyond even a single viewing. It is a full and complete story relying only a small part on the previous, much smaller budget, film. This is one Terminator film I would happily see again and again…The multiple sequels never seem to be able to match the complexity and completeness of T2. Of course, if you are not so keen on “big Hollywood action flicks” avoid it at all costs as this film pretty much is the poster child for the term. For all others, relax, grab some popcorn and a drink, turn up the volume and pull up a chair it's Arnie time…

Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2019-10-26

Directed by: James Cameron

Studio: Carolco Pictures

Year: 1991

Length: 137 minutes

Genre: Science Fiction

Other reviewed films in the 'Terminator' series:

Other reviewed films by James Cameron: