Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

R   |    |  Action, Sci-Fi


Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) Poster

A cyborg, identical to the one who failed to kill Sarah Connor, must now protect her teenage son, John Connor, from a more advanced and powerful cyborg.

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8.5/10
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  • Arnold Schwarzenegger and Edward Furlong in Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger and Michael St. Hilaire in Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
  • Linda Hamilton at an event for Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger at an event for Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
  • Jenette Goldstein and Xander Berkeley in Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

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30 April 2000 | MisterWhiplash
10
| surpasses the original
Terminator 2 perhaps shows that Cameron was at least was cognizant of life and its meaning. I mean, this IS the movie where the end of the world has the most impact outside of Dr. Strangelove, right? One of those outstanding dream scenes in movies, one of the ones that actually works because it's true in its savage simplicity, Linda Hamilton's Sarah Connor sees herself in her 1984 waitress get up with baby John in a playground and then everything gets wiped out by the BIG BOMB (Dmitri) that also incinerates Hamilton into BBQ.

So it's with this kind of thought that Terminator 2 means to be the most kick-assingest blockbuster of its (or all?) time while trying to keep the loss of life very small - or, rather, the "Bad" Terminator who was designed by the wizards at ILM can kill to its mission's content - I mean, DAMN, it still looks great, and in its silver-liquid-chrome simplicity much more, for me, impressive than the clanging junk of Bay disasters. It's arguable, of course, that the Terminator (T-800) does kill some people, incidentally, or, you know, all that gas from the gun he shoots could make some people really screwed up but, hey, "He'll live" is enough.

But if Cameron is "soft" at all here, it doesn't show too much... well, okay, Lil' John (hehe) does squeak and squak those early 90's amorphisms "No Problemo - chill out - listen to Kriss Kross - etc", and Edward Furlong is one of the things that just does not hold up here. He's serviceable at best, annoying at worst. He can cry okay though.

But it's Arnold, in his swaggering low-key and then with an occasional grin awesome leading man turn, and especially Linda Hamilton who make this tight script so compulsively watchable. Hamilton makes Connor into what Cameron likely saw in his one-time wife/collaborator Bigelow - a take-no-prisoners soldier who can take charge and has muscles and can probably knock you upside the head (maybe that's why they divorced, he couldn't take all that woman... but I digress, at any rate he moved around a lot till his current wife) And there is also a vulnerability still to Sarah that makes her so endearing.

She can never be completely hard, though time and experience and the dread of what's to come had scarred her, so by the time she has the chance to kill the Man Who Destroys The World, she can't do it. A scene like that is probably more emotionally gripping than so many other scenes that try in these blockbusters (something like Days of Future Past, which is a cousin of this flick, gets there). The fact Hamilton wasn't able to parlay such high caliber performance work into a better career is kind of sad, but at least this stands as a benchmark of a woman action hero, one of the two Cameron Wonder Women really.

So, blast your Guns N Roses, say hi to the kid from Salute Your Shorts (that's him, right, Connor's friend in the first act?) and ride your motorcycle through LA - it's a bad mother-jammer of a blockbuster that holds up enough to look over its faults (i.e. some dialog isn't tight, like the voice-over, it's alright but whatever - perhaps it was ambitious enough to best The Perfect Action Movie, which the first Terminator just was).

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Action | Sci-Fi

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