Monday, June 1, 2015

Terminator 2: Judgment Day - Recap and Review

Arnold Schwarzenegger T800 Terminator 2 Judgment Day poster wallpaper screensaver image still

Click here to read the review of the latest movie, Terminator Genisys.

Very few sequels command the type of critical and popular acclaim as T2 does. James Cameron (JC) outdid himself in every possible way with the 1991 science fiction blockbuster.

In the first entry The Terminator, released in 1984, T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is sent back in time by the machines to kill Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) before she can give birth to the future leader of human resistance, John Connor. The human resistance also send back a human protector, Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn) to protect Sarah.

The movie was a laudable attempt given the budget constraints that put limitations on JC. The movie still had some excellent make up work, thanks to the late great Stan Winston and the amazing background score of Brad Fiedel.

JC directed Aliens (1986) and The Abyss (1989) before starting work on T2. Aliens had a more science fiction flavor while the first one Alien (directed by Ridley Scott) was more of a horror movie featuring an extraterrestrial creature.

The Abyss was like a test run for JC who went on to perfect the special effects for the T-1000, played with icy coolness by Robert Patrick. 

Robert Patrick T-1000 liquid metal mimetic polyalloy Terminator 2 Judgment Day

The T-1000 is an advanced liquid metal mimetic polyalloy terminator sent back by the machines to assassinate the young John Connor (Edward Furlong). John is with his foster parents, Todd Voight (Xander Berkeley) and Janelle Voight (Jenette Goldstein). 

Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) is in a mental hospital under the supervision of Dr Silberman (Earl Boen). Sarah's warning about the Terminators is put down as the ravings of a mad woman. Sarah is not one to stay down and has physically shaped her body through workouts to be a female warrior.

At the Skynet, Miles Dyson (Joe Morton) is working on the prototype and is blissfully ignorant of the apocalyptic future in store for the humans, due to his inventions.

John has a protector in the form of T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger). Unlike the previous movie, where T-800 was the main antagonist, he is the protagonist this time around.

Linda Hamilton Sarah Connor female warrior Terminator 2 Judgment Day

The movie features all the elements that are the director's signature style: Strong Female Character, Science Fiction Settings and Groundbreaking Special Effects.

This movie pushed the special effects envelope with the work done to bring T-1000 to life. The CGI work and the practical effects still stand the test of time and are a testament to the pioneering work done by the crew led by James Cameron and the late Stan Winston.

The action choreography is no less accomplished either. There are three major action sequences in the movie and all are top-notch. The first one starts with T-1000 chasing John Connor at a shopping mall and ends after the spectacular chase sequence. 

The second one occurs at the hospital housing Sarah who becomes the next target after T-1000 fails to kill John. The climactic sequence starts at the Cyberdyne Systems building and concludes at the steel mill.

The one-on-one fights between T-800 and T-1000 are themselves worth a look.

Robert Patrick T-1000 liquid metal terminator Terminator 2 Judgment Day

Robert Patrick is the newcomer to the cast and he will forever be associated with the role. The T-1000's facial expressions is limited to stares and taunts and Robert is more than up to the challenge and brings the needed physicality as the lean and mean liquid alloy terminator. He is a sleek panther to the more meaty T-800 who is built like an ox.

Linda Hamilton does some of her best work as the tough as nails Sarah Connor. While she was the proverbial damsel in distress in The Terminator, this time she is the definitive female warrior.

Edward Furlong young boy John Connor Terminator 2 Judgment Day

Edward Furlong is good as the future savior of the human race. Earl Boen and Joe Morton are great character actors and this movie is no exception. Both play their parts to perfection. I especially enjoyed Dr Silberman's look of disbelief as the T-1000 walks right through the metal gates in the hospital while his pistol is held back.

Brad Fiedel returns as the music composer and he gives an even better score than the predecessor.

The movie's dialogues have entered the pop culture and have been referenced a number of times. Couple of examples: No Problemo and Hasta la vista, Baby.

All said and done, this is an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie. Arnold found early success as Conan the Barbarian (1982) before landing the lead role in The Terminator. His roles as John Matrix in Commando (1985) and Major Dutch in Predator (1987) are famous as well.

Arnold Schwarzenegger T800 Terminator T-101 Model Terminator 2 Judgment Day

But it is T2 that instantly comes to mind, when one thinks of Arnie. Whether acquiring his clothes at the pub in the beginning of the movie or riding the Harley-Davidson Fat Boy motorcycle and cocking the shotgun single-handedly - Arnie is at the peak of his career here. He may not be the best thespian of his time, but he is arguably the best action star and this movie is the proof of that fact.

This is a classic with iconic heroes (of both sexes), memorable villain, path-breaking special effects, superb soundtrack and outstanding make-up work. Hats off to James Cameron for delivering this gem of a movie that redefined the words Cool and Awesome.

Click on the link below to buy your copy:

James Cameron of course, outdid himself yet again in 2009.....

In case, you have missed out on T2, here is the trailer to whet your appetite:

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Image Sources: Carolco Pictures, Pacific Western, Lightstorm Entertainment, The Great Geek Manual


  1. Great film and a rare example of a sequel being far superior to the original. Good review, B2B. What are your feelings about the upcoming reboot?

    1. Thanks GK.

      I think that it will be a rehash of the plots and antagonists from the earlier movies. Still as a fan, I hope that it will work as a piece of escapist entertainment.


    2. Hopefully. To be honest, I got so bored of 3 that I haven't even seen the 4th - Salvation? I might go to the reboot but seeing how old and past it Arnie looks in the trailer it's like seeing Roger Moore come back as James Bond! They should have cast a new Terminator, probably the Rock.

    3. Arnie does look quite old. Hopefully, his age would not stop him from giving a good performance.

      This movie will show if it is time for him to retire from the role.