Andrew Boley’s review published on Letterboxd:
So how do you make lives of people feel like they matter in an action movie?? I would say Terminator 2 is a damn good example of how to do this.
John Connor tells the Terminator he can't kill anybody. And he has to listen to Mr. Connor. And so throughout the movie Arnie goes out of his way to make sure the people that are trying to kill him don't get killed. Not only is this a great tool to create tension and amp up the stakes but it also works as an awesome catalyst for action scenes ie, the mini gun, shooting the cops in the knees. This idea also works on a thematic level because at the end of the film the Terminator is supposed to understand the value of life and sacrifices himself to protect that.
The single greatest moments in the film are the action sequences. You have a superman basically who has only one goal, rescue John Connor. The way that he goes about saving him is by sacrificing himself at every turn. It's extremely effective and also works on an awesome scale. Take for instance the epic chase scene at the end when they are driving along and a huge tanker is going to knock them off the road. The Terminator doesn't even hesitate to run out to the back of the truck, grab the extra grenade round(great setup) and jump on the tanker, shoot the T1000 and purposefully crash the tanker. This whole scene is awesome without having to destroy an entire city. The stakes are high while the action is local.
This is the quintessential action movie along with Die Hard. I don't know if this is because of nostalgia or what but I feel like I've made my points. I honestly can't think of better modern examples for how to make a great action movie. Arnie is a perfect action hero, cheesy, strong, determined, comedic. I really think the early 90s were the golden age for action films.