Time: 137 Minutes
Age Rating: Contains violence and offensive language
Arnold Schwarzenegger as T-800 “Model 101”
Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor
Robert Patrick as T-1000
Edward Furlong as John Connor
Joe Morton as Miles Bennett Dyson
Earl Boen as Dr. Peter Silberman
Director: James Cameron
In this sequel set eleven years after “The Terminator,” young John Connor (Edward Furlong), the key to civilization’s victory over a future robot uprising, is the target of the shape-shifting T-1000 (Robert Patrick), a Terminator sent from the future to kill him. Another Terminator, the revamped T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger), has been sent back to protect the boy. As John and his mother (Linda Hamilton) go on the run with the T-800, the boy forms an unexpected bond with the robot.
Just before Terminator Dark Fate rolled around, I decided to re-watch Terminator 2: Judgement Day. The Terminator back in 1984 was such a hit, and became an instant classic upon its release. 7 years later however, James Cameron made a sequel which not only was at the level of the original (and for some surpassed it), it also became one of the best iconic action movies of all time. Nearly 3 decades later it still holds up rather well.
If you don’t know anything about this movie, I’d recommend stopping reading this review right now and watching this movie (of course watching The Terminator beforehand if you haven’t seen it already). I remember when I saw this movie on DVD around the age of 13 not knowing much of the plot, and it was definitely better for it. The Terminator from 1984 was more of a thriller, Terminator 2: Judgement is more of an action movie. Despite this, it’s not just an action movie with explosions, there’s also lot of time spent with the characters. I’ve seen the movie multiple times and I’ve seen both versions, the theatrical cut and the extended cut. The extended cut adds more character development and story, and so I’d recommend that version. Also the ending of the extended cut works if you count Judgement Day as the official end of the Terminator series. On top of the entertainment and thrills, Terminator 2 also has an emotional payoff at the end. So all around, Judgement Day handles its plot very well.
Arnold Schwarzenegger reprises his role as the Terminator, this time as not the antagonist he initially became known for in the first movie. As I said, I went into the movie not knowing for sure that he’d be protecting John Connor, so that was quite a surprise. He definitely was convincing as a terminator fighting this time on the side of the main characters. Edward Furlong is the young John Connor and his acting is a little mixed. The worst is early on when he’s just being a kid on his own, and occasionally in some of the scenes where he’s showing emotion he’s underacting, overacting or is coming across a little forced. As the plot continues on he gets better. He’s great when paired with Schwarzenegger, those scenes where the two of them interact are amongst the highlights of the whole movie, especially with the Terminator learning more about being human. Linda Hamilton also returned from the first movie as Sarah Connor, she was good in that movie but she’s great here. She’s a lot more hardened and experienced and she gets to do a lot to do here. Can’t wait to see her again in Dark Fate. Robert Patrick this time plays the Terminator antagonist as the T-1000. After the success of Arnold’s Terminator, it would be easy to just assume the next model would be just an even larger Terminator. This time they decided to go with a smaller liquid metal Terminator and he worked very well. He can definitely blend into a crowd and certainly acts more human than the T-800. Yet you can still feel through and through that he’s a machine and he’s very threatening. He’s a strong challenge for the Terminator, John, and Sarah Connor.
James Cameron directs this, and once again his work here is absolutely stellar. Direction-wise, Terminator 2 certainly moved from a thriller with the slasher feel (with the terminator as the killer), to a much more action movie feel. The visual effects are very effective and have certainly advanced from the first movie from 1984. The effects with the T-1000’s liquid metal may be a little dated now, but you can definitely tell that for 1991 this was something special. Despite the use of CGI, there’s still quite a lot in the action scenes that’s practical, and all the action scenes are fantastic. They go much larger with the action and it is great, from the chase scenes to gunfights to Terminator on Terminator action, all of it was filmed very well and still holds up well today. The soundtrack was also solid, though I certainly remember the synth score from the first Terminator a little more. The main theme for Terminator 2 however has cemented itself as the absolute main theme of the series.
Terminator 2: Judgement Day is fantastic and still holds up after all these years. The cast are mostly great, James Cameron directed it excellently, and it definitely deserves its recognition as one of the greats. Whether you like this movie or the first more, I think it’s generally accepted that both of these movies are excellent and essential viewing.