Terminator 2: Judgment Day

Terminator 2: Judgment Day ★★★★★

Terminator 2: Judgement Day is a sci-fi action movie following a cyborg, identical to the one who failed to kill Sarah Connor, who must now protect her teenage son, John Connor, from a more advanced and powerful cyborg.

It’s very rare that a sequel surpasses the original as much as this movie does. With that being said, I think it’s fair to say that Terminator 2: Judgement Day is one of the best sequels ever made. It takes everything that makes the first movie work and just amplifies it to another level in the same way Aliens does to Alien. Much like the latter, T2 swaps the almost horror like tone of the first movie for big scale sci-fi action thriller that still looks and sounds just as incredible to this day. This was a game changer in 1991 and James Cameron bought so many new things to the table not just for the Terminator franchise but for movies in general.

Arnold Schwarzenegger provides a career best performance in his return to the role of The Terminator. Schwarzenegger shows so much versatility in the role as he makes the transition from intimidating villain to loveable hero. He does everything perfectly in this movie, he nails the hero role, he’s actually hilarious (something he never manages to achieve in the later sequels...) and he provides so much emotion without doing much to show it. A lot of the above comes from his entertaining chemistry with Edward Furlong’s John Connor. Some of the best scenes of this movie are the scenes of Furlong talking to Schwarzenegger and trying to teach him how to blend in. I’d say Furlong also provides a career best performance but I’m sure that’s a given; Furlong hasn’t always been the best actor but he absolutely nails this role. 

Robert Patrick is the perfect villain as the T-1000. Whereas Schwarzenegger’s villain in the first movie was terrifying by saying very little and very clearly acting like a killing machine with little attention to anything else, Patrick brings a personality to this villain and tries his best to blend in and convince people that he is actually a cop looking for John Connor. When he does begin chasing The Terminator and John as well as when he’s killing people, he shows absolutely no emotion, providing a certain unnerving feeling that he doesn’t care what he does and he has no limit until he gets what he wants. The real scene stealer in this movie is Linda Hamilton who returns as Sarah Connor. Gone is the shy, reserved and vulnerable waitress from the first movie and in comes an incredibly strong female lead who has clearly been broken down from the events of the first movie and now just thinks and acts like a soldier. Hamilton’s scenes within the psychiatric hospital are truly effective and emotional thanks to her phenomenal performance which is then evolved into a feeling of empowerment and strength once she gets out. It’s a truly influential role that clearly set the bar for strong female characters and demonstrated that action heroes don’t have to be male to pack a punch and inspire.

The special effects in this movie are still mind blowing to this day. From the post apocalyptic battle in the opening sequence to the first time we see the T-1000’s liquid metal form, this is a movie that hit a bench mark in how far visual effects can go in a movie and it still hasn’t aged a single day. This makes me question how Rise of the Machines, Salvation and Genisys got it so wrong. If effects like that were available back in 1991 then why are we getting generic and bland looking CGI in the later movies? Even the trailer for Dark Fate looks as though it’s taking the same route as the other later sequels when it comes to effects but that might (and hopefully will) change before the film’s released. The cinematography in this movie feels completely different to the first movie and for the better too. This is a movie that has a very dark and threatening tone during it’s nighttime scenes and a bright and safe feeling during its daytime scenes, making the viewer all the more vulnerable for the more suspenseful scenes that happen during the day. The soundtrack is incredible. With a score on an epic scale to make this movie sounds as huge as it looks, the movie also makes magnificent use of sound effects with every little noise sounding just as detailed as the next.

Overall, Terminator 2: Judgement Day is one of the greatest movies of all time in any genre. It’s a timeless movie that only gets better with age and boasts mind blowing action, breathtaking special effects, phenomenal acting and a lot of clever, funny, emotional and captivating storytelling from James Cameron at a time when he was at the height of his career.

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