Director: James Cameron
Cast: Arnold Schwarzenneger, Linda Hamilton, Edward Furlong, Robert Patrick, Earl Boen, Joe Morton
Synopsis: Given that the T-101 was unsuccessful at killing Sarah Connor prior to John’s birth, they send back a more advanced model to kill John himself when he is still but a teenager. The resistance manage to send back another protector, this time a T-101 they have reprogrammed to protect John, and obey his commands. However, the T-1000 that has been sent by the machines is made of liquid metal, capable of taking any shape, and more than a match for the T-101.
A review by Film Nerd.
This film cements for me a belief that James Cameron is the master of the sequel. He has an ability to make a superior film to the original, despite the high quality of the predecessor. He made a sequel to Ridley Scott’s masterpiece Alien, and here he surpasses his own original. Seriously, if anybody could make a Titanic 2, this is the man.
Why am I so enthused?? Simply put, there is not a flaw with this film. On a very superficial level, it revolutionised what could be achieved with computer graphics. The liquid metal effect rightfully won awards, it simply was unmatched by anything seen on-screen before, and remains flawless by today’s standards. The dated look of the original that I quibbled with in my previous review simply was not an issue. In addition to this, you have a great story, believable character arcs, and incredible acting, each point which shall be covered in further detail.
I will start with the story. The narrative of this film is truly the platform on which everything else lies. Sure, the stakes are higher for our heroes, with a more substantial villain, but there is more to it than that. It addresses all the questions of what life would be like with the knowledge of humanity’s impending destruction. Sarah Connor has been institutionalised. If you heard a woman raving about machines taking over, killing us all, and giving a specific date, would you not think her mad. And the son, raised with this knowledge then told his mother is nuts leaving him with nothing in which to believe anymore would become an absolute delinquent. Then throwing this pair right back into the thick of it with another assassination attempt, there is vindication, but perhaps even more desperation as the fate of humanity seems almost sealed. Throw in a protector that is identical to the model that once tried to kill Sarah, you have quite a heady mix.
I shall discuss the acting and the character arcs together, as they are intertwined. Edward Furlong is John Connor. In his first film role, I will admit at times he grates on my nerves. I also remember, though, as a teenager at that time, his attempts to seem cool seemed much more realistic to me. So I guess the thing that makes him annoying is that he is a believable teenaged. When called on to show real emotion, however, he does not fail. His sense of justice is also very clear early, and it is feasible that this kid can grow up into an almost mythical savior. The T-1000 (Patrick) basically mimics Arnie’s performance from the original, yet as his mission is identical this seems the most intelligent choice. Linda Hamilton reprises the role with the hardness developed by the end of the original, and perhaps has the toughest role. She is convinced of the impending “Judgement Day”, the nuclear attack initiated by the machines, she fears for her son and for her race, and she is in a race against time to do what she can. So she has to be tough for most of the film, and yet softness does come through when concerned with the safety of her son. Finally, Arnie, though still having to play the automaton, gets greater scope here, The MacGuffin that his CPU has been switched to learing new skills allows for greater personal interplay with his charge, and of all the ironies, the greatest heart in the film derives from this relationship between boy and machine.
There are many films I can type for hours about, about theme, context, how impact is established. Judgement Day may not be a serious drama, and its science fiction element will alienate anyone who is not a fan of that genre. But this is regardless an incredible film. It entertains at both the adrenalin level, at the level of emotional satisfaction, as well as at the level of self-evaluation. This is the true peak of the franchise, with Cameron completing the story he set out to tell.
5 stars (out of a possible 5)
Terminator 2: Judgement Day on IMDB
Terminator 2: Judgement Day on Rotten Tomatoes