Anthony's Film Review

Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

The second Terminator movie from James Cameron is a masterpiece in action and science-fiction...

Terminator 2: Judgment Day, which was written, produced, and directed by James Cameron, is a great example of a movie sequel that seamlessly mixes the familiar with the original. It repeats the plot premise of its predecessor, but makes it better in plenty of ways. The result is that the movie is not a total rehash of the first movie, bur rather a follow-up that is as fresh as the original was when that was released. And with great action, characters, and thrills, this is a film that fans of The Terminator from 1984 will surely love and that filmmakers should learn from if they want to make great sequels.

Before I get into this movie, let's quickly review the main events of the first Terminator movie. In the future, an army of killer robots, controlled by a supercomputer called Skynet, will work to destroy the human race. But there is a resistance among surviving humans, led by a soldier named John Connor. Still, the machines have a clever plan. Instead of fighting Connor directly, they send a killer cyborg, a Terminator (played by Arnold Schwarzenegger), back in time to kill Sarah Connor (played by Linda Hamilton), the mother of the future resistance leader, so that the future will be rewritten without John existing. But that cyborg's mission fails, and Sarah survives to give birth to John.

In Terminator 2, things get very interesting. Linda Hamilton reprises her role as Sarah Connor, who is now a patient at a mental institution because the apocalyptic future she knows will come is, unfortunately, dismissed by psychiatrists as a delusion. Meanwhile, 10-year-old John Connor (played by Edward Furlong in a debut performance) is a troublesome kid who is unhappy with his foster family. As you can imagine, this is a critical situation, because John is all by himself without his biological mother to protect him. And this comes at the worst possible time, because Skynet once again sends a killer machine to this time period, this time to take out John himself. The only hope for survival comes in the form of another robot sent to protect John.

While Sarah and John Connor are definitely memorable characters here, the ones who really steal the show are the two robots. The killer robot this time is T-1000 (played by Robert Patrick), who is even scarier than the physically strong villain from the first Terminator movie, because he has shapeshifting ability, allowing him to heal physical damage, disguise himself as anyone and anything, and pass through physical barriers. As for the heroic robot, it's the Terminator played once again by Arnold Schwarzenegger, now a good guy because he has been reprogrammed in the future to be on John Connor's side. Both Patrick and Schwarzenegger plays their roles perfectly, and it's exciting to see the two robots duke it out.

Here is what I shall say about the action. It's great. It's simply great. This is not a movie that delivers action in short frequent bursts. Instead, the action occurs between segments of plot development, and keeps us riveted for several minutes at a time. Consider, for instance, the first action scene where T-1000 makes his first attempt to terminate John. The young boy flees on foot, then on motorcycle as T-1000 pursues him in a big truck, just as the Terminator comes to save John's life. Later, there is intense action at the mental institution where both Sarah and John are in danger from T-1000. I will not describe the action you'll see later, but believe me when I say that it is riveting and intense.

The other thing that is great about Terminator 2 is the relationship between John Connor and the Terminator. Unexpectedly, there is an interesting mutualism between the two. John comes to trust and bond with the Terminator, who becomes a real father figure that the boy has never had before. In return, the Terminator learns some traits of humans and, while remaining a machine, becomes a little more human-like and respectful of human life. While an exciting action movie is great, being able to put depth into the non-action elements, like characters and themes, truly makes a film shine.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day is, no doubt, an outstanding sci-fi action thriller. James Cameron has conceived and presented a captivating story. Plus, the principal cast is phenomenal, whether it's Arnold Schwarzenegger as a violent yet heroic cyborg, Robert Patrick as a cold heartless killer machine, Linda Hamilton as a tough woman who sees a frightening future, and Edward Furlong as an innocent kid turned hero. I think this movie is one of Cameron's best directorial works, and Schwarzenegger's role as the Terminator this time around is perhaps his most iconic. Really, when it comes to sci-fi action movies, this one definitely puts others to shame. For them, I might utter the Terminator's memorable line from this movie: "Hasta la vista, baby."

Anthony's Rating:

For more information about Terminator 2: Judgment Day, visit the Internet Movie Database.

In addition, check out my reviews of the following:

The Terminator Films


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