Terminator 2: Judgment Day ★★★★★

Getting to watch Terminator 2 was far tougher than it should have been when it was released. In fact, for a while it seemed to be the film that didn't want me to see it and, when I did see it, the circumstances were not exactly comfortable.

1) So, me and my best friend decided we were going to mosey along to a pokey old cinema called Cine City in Withington, Manchester (I think it's a Sainsbury's now). There were only about 6 people in. He had already seen it before. Two drunk blokes walked in. One of them jokingly asked if they could have some of the Milky Bar I'd bought. I nervously declined. They laughed. My best mate laughed at them. They thought he was taking the piss and threatened him. I barely noticed the film due to sheer terror. We legged it as soon as the end credits hit. Strike 1!

2) A holiday to Malta. Now, back in the early 90s, pirate videos were one of the biggest source of tourist income for the island. You'd go down the street and shop after shop would have racks of the new releases standing outside their stores. Early in the holiday I'd already snapped up Predator 2, The Lawnmower Man (don't ask) and Freejack (and again). Then the Terminator 2 ones started appearing. "OH PLEASE DAD PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE!!!" No. He wasn't having it. Only three videos maximum or customs will have us. Even offers to leave Freejack behind were not going to change his mind. Left for Luqa Airport in low spirits. Strike 2!

3) It's in the video shops! YES. Now it's time. Except....it isn't. Because it's got a 6 week waiting list for it. And they only have 2 copies. BOLLOCKS. Just....BOLLOCKS. So I waited and waited. And waited. I didn't punch any of my school friends who asked if I'd seen it yet. Then it was time. I had it. And do you know what? It barely worked because TOO MANY VIEWINGS HAD WORN THE FUCKING THING OUT. Strike 3!

I think in baseball parlance that meant I was out. I can't even remember when I ended up seeing it properly and happily after that. My mind tends to block out happy events and preserve the traumatic ones. Of course, it was eventually worth it but the things you had to go through in those days, sometimes, to watch a film you really wanted to see were horrendous.

It's quite interesting these days how the films that I desperately so much want to see have changed. Back then it was Terminator 2 and Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade. These days it's Berberian Sound Studio (TONIGHT!!!) and The Baytown Outlaws. Will either of those films be as loved by me as the two I've already seen? Almost certainly not.

Then again, I think that the art of making an action blockbuster that also happens to be a very good film with lots of great ideas, storytelling and performances has been lost, especially by Hollywood. Terminator 2 is an incredible film that manages the trick of having way more flaws than its predecessor yet has way more moments of iconic wonder and sheer excitement than the original.

I just wonder if I would have loved it that much if it had been so easy to watch it in the first place?

Steve G liked these reviews