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Disclaimer: If you are a viewer that mainly prefers arthouse-type movies,
then you might as well ignore this review. In addition, if you're not able
to take a few sci-fi leaps of faith, ignore this review, as well. We'll
be better off.
This is the finest action movie of all time. And, yet, believe it or not, it's not the action in the film itself that makes this be the case. This is especially odd in a movie with a $100 million budget (in 1991!), with multiple huge explosions, with thousands of bullets fired, and scores of stuntmen used.
This movie is what it is, a perfect 10, because it takes the vision of one of the most imaginative directors on Earth, and realizes them almost perfectly with all the tools that fit the task -- actors, stunts, puppetry, models, and CG. Without the vision, this film would be nothing. Without the tools, this film would be nothing.
But, a little bit of background is due. This is the sequel to the Terminator (1984), whose premise was that a near-indestructible cyborg is sent by evil self-aware machines from the near future to destroy the mother-to-be of the military commander who would lead the humans to a victory over the machines. Oh, and this terminator machine would come from a time of war between men and machines which followed a nuclear exchange that left billions of people dead, first. In Terminator 2, John Connor (the commander-to-be) is about 12 years old, and his mother (Sarah) is feverishly trying to prepare him for his fate, even as she tries to stop the factors that will lead to the nuclear war and the entire terrible future that made all this necessary. The machines now send a superior, more intelligent, shape-shifting cyborg (T1000) into the past, to kill John himself. Meanwhile, future-John reprograms the ex-evil Terminator (T101) from the original film, and sends him into the past to PROTECT John against the T1000.
That's your basic plot. It does involve travel into the past, so it immediately presents a time-travel paradox which can't really be resolved. In order to even try watching this movie, you MUST LOOK PAST THE PARADOX. If you don't, this movie has zero credibility, and is not worth your time.
What happens after the two terminators appear in the past is a wild ride rife with macho action, dark reflection on the nature of man, and a few rays of hope, here and there. Schwarzenegger (the good terminator) and Patrick (the bad one) make for such effective foes that the times they meet on-screen are completely breathtaking (and odd, given that you repeatedly see the relatively slim T1000 through Arnie through a wall or two). Hamilton, as Sarah Connor, is a wonderful character -- tough beyond all belief and completely focussed on preventing the nuclear war and ensuring John's safety, yet clearly a little out of her mind with paranoia and anger; amazingly, you see actual character development (specifically, when John and T101 arrive at Dyson's house to prevent her from doing what she wants to) in her otherwise 2-dimensional character. And Furlong, as John, is not bad himself as the extroverted kid who's confused by the fact that everyone except his mom tell him his entire upbringing was based on a lie. The bit players all do their jobs well, particularly Earl Boen who plays the semi-sadistic mental hospital warden that stands between Sarah Connor and her son (until the T1000 makes a chilling entrance).
With these players set in motion, it's up to the script to deliver the real substance of the movie. (One often sees great performances in mediocre films... here the story transcends the performances -- an impressive feat.) The script delivers. The film is absolutely filled with great, classic moments (I counted TEN all-star ones during my last viewing), and they're evenly spaced through the movie. I mean, who doesn't cheer (at least inside) when Arnold steps out of the biker bar, fully clad in leather when "Bad to the Bone" music starts to blast? The guy absolutely bleeds coolness. And the T1000 absolutely bleeds evil. But, with so many great moments, you'd think the pacing would be a little uneven... not really! The film shifts from place to place with an ease that makes perfect sense, never giving you the time to start being a little nitpicking jerk, always driving forward, but always doing so thoughtfully and with attention to detail.
Of course, this wouldn't be an action movie without some action. There's plenty of it, and it's perfectly done. The CG effects for the shape-shifting T1000 were cutting-edge for the time, and still look great (whoever said differently below is simply incorrect) -- even if they're completely commonplace today. The stunts are completely insane in scale (at one point, a helicopter flies under a highway overpass; at another, a motorcycle jumps from the 2nd floor of a building into a flying chopper). (Probably, only the Matrix and the Lord of the Rings movies compare in terms of the level of stunt insanity.) And the gunplay is delivered in perfect Cameron-Schwarzenegger style (as opposed to the slo-mo John Woo-style) -- you'll see lots of heavy automatic and explosive weapons, and you'll see them used well. The film is violent, and somewhat bloody, but ALL of the mean-spirited violence is dealt by the evil characters, not the ones you root for (Quentin Tarantino fans: sorry). And then the truly amazing scenes that bypass acting are shocking and memorable -- just wait until the nuclear detonation sequence.
I'm not sure what else you would want in a movie. Probably moral content, and the movie has a very clear pro-human, anti-war message. The message is a bit stale, and the delivery IS, at times, a little heavy-handed (and some moments with the T101 seem just a bit unrealistic, towards the end), but the movie has heart, and that you cannot deny. Plus, it simply rocks. 10/10
A Terminator(Arnold Schwarzenegger) was sent from the future to kill
the unborn son of Sarah Connor(Linda Hamilton) in the original. Now,
that Terminator has been sent back again but with a different
assignment: Protect John Connor. John Connor(Edward Furlong) is now
about 10 years of age and must evade a new Terminator sent to kill
him;The T-1000(Robert Patrick). Sarah, John, and The Terminator journey
together on their quest to stop Judgement Day, with a trailing,
shape-shifting Termiantor trailing from behind.
This is the greatest of the Terminator trilogy. I have watched three times in the past year and have not found anything that Cameron could have improved on. The move is a masterpiece in every aspect of film. Schwarzenegger's acting might not be incredible but this is the perfect role for him. He isn't supposed to show emotion or feelings. He is a machine. I hate almost every one of his movies besides this trilogy because he is a horrible actor but he works perfectly into this role.
The special effects are incredible beyond belief. The shape-shifting T-1000 is some of the greatest animation I have witnessed in cinema history. It absolutely blew my mind when I first experienced this visual extravaganza. The animation looked so real(remembering this was a good ten years). The movie included fast-paced action along with some clever sci-fi drama/horror. The idea of a vast army of machines taking over the world after sending off warheads to every major city should be scary enough. But the T-1000 has very little lines and is just creepy enough to make twitch when you see him.
Sci-fi movies can rarely be made in such way that can be looked at as works of art. This is one of the few exceptions. The prediction of judgment day with Hamilton watching a playground full of kids be burnt to the ground is an absolute brilliant portrayal of Armageddon. The theme that men will destroy themselves is also shown throughout the movie also and is even said by The Terminator" It's in your nature to destroy yourselves". This brings the movie to a whole new level of sci-fi.
Overall, Termiantor II: Judgement Day is an absolute must see classic. If you have not seen it, buy it! Because once you have seen it, you will want to do so anyways. It is fast paced and highly enjoyable for just about every audience.
I highly recommend this movie.
This superb sequel surpasses the excellent original in every department
and quite simply you won't see a better action film. Set 15 years after
the original Arnie may return as the good Terminator trying to protect
John Connor but he's a redundant piece of scrap metal compared to the
The opening hour and the last half hour is absolutely breathtaking with action sequences that still remain unsurpassed. Their's also a wonderful piece of storytelling 3/4 of the way through where Dyson relises the terrifying consequences of the project he's neglecting his family for.
The performances are memorable particularly Linda Hamilton's Sara Connor and simply put, they'll never make a better action film.
Who said sequels aren't any good? "Terminator 2" is the ultimate
sequel, a big bad wolf ready to chomp the head off of anyone who
crosses its path. It's dark, it's mean, and it's one tough movie. It's
not as bleak as the first film, at least in terms of visuals, but
rather has a new kind of bluish-tint that supplies a great backdrop to
the ongoing battle between man and machine.
If there was ever a contemporary mainstream visionary director, it is James Cameron. Here we've got Cameron's real thoughts on the series, those repressed by a low budget in the original film. He lets loose here, filling every frame with hard-boiled action and special effects. He introduces a liquid metal Terminator that he wanted to use in the first film, but graphic processors and CGI were not advanced enough in 1984, at least not advanced enough to work on the low means he had to film the original. So his original dream is finally unveiled, and good golly, is it wonderful.
Yeah, he's "back." Arnold (like he needs any introduction?) returns as The Terminator, Series T-101, Model T-800, an indestructible cyborg sent from the future to assassinate Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) in the first film. Well, it's 1991. New film. New mission. He has to save the future resistance leader of mankind who will ultimately defeat the machines of the future, John Connor (Edward Furlong), Sarah's 11-year-old son. (Though his age has been switched from 11 to 13 and back to 9 over the years, with no help from the third film that takes place in 2003, yet claims he was 13 in 1991 though his age doesn't match with his age in the third. We'll just leave it at 11 in this film. Got that?)
Another model Terminator, the T-1000 (Robert Patrick), has been sent back to 1991 programmed to annihilate John Connor. Which explains Arnold's appearance. Arnold, an undoubtedly lesser opponent compared to the T-1000, has to help save the day and learn to appreciate humanity. It won't be easy. First, he has to find John Connor, who is a rebellious angst-driven pre-teen living with foster parents. Then, together they have to break into the local loony hospital and release Sarah from the clutches of Dr. Silberman (Earl Boen), who believes Sarah is delusional. (You may remember Silberman as the psychiatrist from the first film, too.) Then, they have to stop a computer chip designer (Joe Morton) from creating the first version of a SkyNet computer, modeled after a destroyed chip his employment company discovered at a large mechanical warehouse. (Which is, of course, the chip from the destroyed T-800 of the first film.)
Whew. On with the film analysis, right? Where to start? This isn't as fierce or brutal as the first film, but it's got plentiful action sequences, a large budget, great special effects (even compared to those gracing the screen nowadays), not to mention a great character study of the machine we loved to root against in the first film. Of course, this Terminator has no memory of the first film, since he wasn't in it--SkyNet creates hordes of the same version machines on a large conveyor belt and ships them off to fight in the war. Some are sent back through time. So, with that in mind, John Connor's resistance found an extra Arnold lying around in an abandoned warehouse, programmed him to keep John Connor out of harm, and sent him through the time portal.
Sarah doesn't trust him. In a deleted scene available on the Ultimate and "Xtreme" edition DVDs, Sarah says, "You don't know what it's like to try and kill one of these things!" It's an important scene that should have been left in the final cut. In it, Sarah is about to destroy the machine's central processing chip located inside his head, when John stops her. It's important because it focuses on the fact that Sarah still doesn't trust him, and came close to destroying him purely out of prejudice, without giving him a chance. As much as I don't like it when people go on about hidden meanings in films that obviously are not meant to have hidden meanings and are purely little flubs made by directors unrightfully analyzed for deeper meaning(s), "T2" clearly has an underlying message: One, don't judge a book by its cover. Read it first. Two, if an emotionless killing machine can learn to appreciate life, why can't everyone? And three, the most important fact of all: Never mess with a muscular man who walks into a bar completely naked and requests your clothes and means of transportation.
I suppose the question on most interested viewers' minds is this: Is "T2: Judgment Day" better than its predecessor? Well, in some respects, yes. In others, no. It lacks the fierce brutality and darkness of the first film, but makes up for it with spectacular visual effects and action sequences. It lacks the horrific central focus of the first film (futuristic, indestructible cyborgs with no feelings being able to unemotionally kill), but it makes up for this with a new focus of humanity, coming to accept your future, and how it would look if two colossal killing machines entered into an arena together.
In some ways, I like the first better. But then I think about the second film and I have a hard time choosing. I suppose if I had to choose I'd choose the first film. And let me just state for the record that I'm glad I don't have to choose.
Normally when people tell you about a sequel that was better than the
original or just as good, Terminator 2 is always guaranteed to be in
their list; why? Because this is THE action movie of all action movies,
next to Die Hard, this is the movie that isn't just about the action as
well, but has an incredible story and message behind it that will
always stay with you. Terminator 2 like the first Terminator film has
memorable lines, moments, and incredible effects. This is the film that
made you believe in "liquid metal" machines. Robert Patrick's
performance is flawless, to be honest I found him a million times more
terrifying than Arnold in the first Terminator, because Robert looks
like this normal average guy, but he's not like Arnold where he gets
shot and you can clearly see he's a terminator, Robert goes back to
human looking and won't stop. Not only that you don't know how to stop
him. Linda Hamilton returns and gives a great performance as Sarah
Conor who is no longer a meek little girl, she has turned into a strong
woman who will do anything to protect her son and the future. Arnold is
back and he's better then ever! No wonder in the future they made
several terminators that look like him, he's great entertainment.
Eleven years after Sarah Connor destroyed the original Terminator that was programmed to kill her, two Terminators arrive in Los Angeles from the year 2029. The first is a Terminator identical to the one that Sarah first encountered, while the second is a new model which assumes the identity of a police officer. John Connor is now a 10 year old living with foster parents. Sarah's experiences have made her tougher and more vigilant, but also desperate to warn humanity about the coming apocalypse. After attempting to bomb a computer factory, Sarah is arrested and remanded to the Pescadero State Hospital for the Criminally Insane under the supervision of Dr. Silberman. Meanwhile, the Terminators locate John Connor in a mall. After John is rescued and a chase through the L.A. storm drain channels, the original Terminator escapes with John on his motorcycle. The Terminator explains that he is reprogrammed by the future John Connor to protect and obey John's younger self. The other Terminator is a T-1000, an advanced new prototype programmed to kill John. It is made of "a mimetic polyalloy", a liquid metal that allows it to take the shape and appearance of anything it touches. It can also form into knifes and stabbing weapons. Learning that the T-1000 will likely kill Sarah and then mimic her to lure John, John orders the Terminator to help free her. Initially, Sarah is terrified by the Terminator; but after seeing it fight off the T-1000, she accepts that they need its help. As they escape the city, the Terminator informs John and Sarah about Skynet, the sentient computer system that will nearly wipe out humanity in an apocalyptic nuclear attack on "Judgment Day".
Terminator 2 is one of the best films of all time, this is a film that I absolutely adore and if someone hasn't seen it, there's something seriously wrong. This story is a special one: humans, are we our own worst enemy? Arnold's line "It's in your nature to destroy yourselves" is something that always sends chills down my spine because it's true. I loved the relationship between Arnold and Eddie Furlong, interesting to see a terminator take the place perfectly of a father and you see the pain in Eddie's eyes of never wanting to let go of the terminator. Like Sarah Conor said " The terminator wouldn't stop, it would never leave him. It would never hurt him or shout at him or get drunk and hit him or say it was too busy to spend time with him. And it would die to protect him." meant a lot to me. Like I said, if for some odd reason you have seen this movie, do see it! I promise you that it's just an excellent film and one that will always stand out against cinematic history.
Terminator 2 is the best film I have ever seen hands down. It surpasses the original in almost every way except the first film had a darker moodier atmosphere. But Terminator 2 has much much more, more character development, better acting strong direction, and THE most amazing visual effects ever!!! Cameron's and Schwarzenegger's best movie. A true classic. The Best!!!
What can I say about "Terminator 2: Judgment Day" that hasn't been
better said already? All I can say is that when I first saw the movie
(at only 9 years of age) it had an effect on me. It blew me away! It
opened up my eyes, and even at the tender age of 9, made me realize
what I wanted to do with my life: I wanted to make movies, and I wanted
to make movies like "T2".
As I'm watching the film, I glance over at another patron and this woman, her eyes wide, was gripping the arms of her chair so tightly I thought they were going to break. When I saw that reaction, that mind-numbing, adrenaline rush of pure excitement, knowing that that movie had them completely, that is when I knew I wanted to make movies and give people that same reaction.
And now, over 10 years later, "T2" is still my favorite film of all time and I watch it religiously. I have written several scripts and treatments all because of "T2" and I have tried to match that exquisite balance of wonderful story/interesting characters/jaw-dropping effects/non-stop action.
"T2" was the sole-guiding factor in my life - because of it, I KNEW I wanted to make movies in any way, shape or form.
If you'll excuse me, I seem to be running out of air. Gotta watch "T2" a little bit more...
Terminator 2 perhaps shows that Cameron was at least was cognizant of
life and its meaning. I mean, this IS the movie where the end of the
world has the most impact outside of Dr. Strangelove, right? One of
those outstanding dream scenes in movies, one of the ones that actually
works because it's true in its savage simplicity, Linda Hamilton's
Sarah Connor sees herself in her 1984 waitress get up with baby John in
a playground and then everything gets wiped out by the BIG BOMB
(Dmitri) that also incinerates Hamilton into BBQ.
So it's with this kind of thought that Terminator 2 means to be the most kick-assingest blockbuster of its (or all?) time while trying to keep the loss of life very small - or, rather, the "Bad" Terminator who was designed by the wizards at ILM can kill to its mission's content - I mean, DAMN, it still looks great, and in its silver-liquid-chrome simplicity much more, for me, impressive than the clanging junk of Bay disasters. It's arguable, of course, that the Terminator (T-800) does kill some people, incidentally, or, you know, all that gas from the gun he shoots could make some people really screwed up but, hey, "He'll live" is enough.
But if Cameron is "soft" at all here, it doesn't show too much... well, okay, Lil' John (hehe) does squeak and squak those early 90's amorphisms "No Problemo - chill out - listen to Kriss Kross - etc", and Edward Furlong is one of the things that just does not hold up here. He's serviceable at best, annoying at worst. He can cry okay though.
But it's Arnold, in his swaggering low-key and then with an occasional grin awesome leading man turn, and especially Linda Hamilton who make this tight script so compulsively watchable. Hamilton makes Connor into what Cameron likely saw in his one-time wife/collaborator Bigelow - a take-no-prisoners soldier who can take charge and has muscles and can probably knock you upside the head (maybe that's why they divorced, he couldn't take all that woman... but I digress, at any rate he moved around a lot till his current wife) And there is also a vulnerability still to Sarah that makes her so endearing.
She can never be completely hard, though time and experience and the dread of what's to come had scarred her, so by the time she has the chance to kill the Man Who Destroys The World, she can't do it. A scene like that is probably more emotionally gripping than so many other scenes that try in these blockbusters (something like Days of Future Past, which is a cousin of this flick, gets there). The fact Hamilton wasn't able to parlay such high caliber performance work into a better career is kind of sad, but at least this stands as a benchmark of a woman action hero, one of the two Cameron Wonder Women really.
So, blast your Guns N Roses, say hi to the kid from Salute Your Shorts (that's him, right, Connor's friend in the first act?) and ride your motorcycle through LA - it's a bad mother-jammer of a blockbuster that holds up enough to look over its faults (i.e. some dialog isn't tight, like the voice-over, it's alright but whatever - perhaps it was ambitious enough to best The Perfect Action Movie, which the first Terminator just was).
I am not a big fan of sequels,as most of them disappoint,but T2 certainly does not.In fact,it's a rare case,at least in my opinion, of a sequel actually surpassing the original film in terms of greatness.As in 99.9% of his films,Arnold Schwarzenegger is the good guy once again,but you don't mind once you witness the incredible villain performance of Robert Patrick.This film is nothing short of a beginning to end thrill ride.Let us not forget the talents of Linda Hamilton and Edward Furlong,who gave great supporting efforts.Thumbs up!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A strange lightning forms a circular opening in mid-air, and in the
sudden flare of light we see a figure in a sphere of energy... It is
the figure of a naked man... 'Terminator' has come through... He
stands, and impassively surveys its surroundings...
His physique is massive and perfect... His face devoid of emotion... He's not here to kill Sara Connor... His mission now is to protect the future savior of mankind, her son John... Thirty years from now, Terminator was reprogrammed to be John Connor's protector here, in this time... Terminator would never leave him... Terminator would never hurt him... Terminator would die to defend him against any danger...
But Skynet, the computer which controlled the Machines, sent an advanced prototype back through time, to destroy the leader of the human Resistance, little John...
T-1000 is very menacing... His features are handsome bordering on severe... Its face is simple, unformed... His eyes are gray ice, penetrating... He is certainly not built like Terminator with complex hydraulics and cables... He is human-shaped but far from human...
Arnold Schwarzenegger is perfect as the super-hero... He never threatens, that's a human thing! He just takes... He can jerk any knife out without slowing a stride... His hand blurs out like a striking cobra...
We watch him smashing the cover plate off the phone's cash box with the heel of his hand... And when the bullets rake his chest, he doesn't even draw back... We observe him in slow motion how he fights for control, how he jumps his bike, sweeps a street kid off his machine with one arm and swings him in front of him...
Robert Patrick is a super-villain, a perfect chameleon... He can change shape and color... He can imitate anything it touches, anything it samples by physical contact, any object of equal size...
He is a 'killing machine' with the ultimate skills of mimicry for infiltration of human society... He looks and acts exactly like a 'cop' but with quite a few surprises... His arms and fingers can be turned smoothly into something else... He spins at a sound... His blow is lighting fast... He pulls the trigger so fast it almost seems like a machine-pistol... He is cool, alert, confident in his power... His expression emotionless and judgmental...
Linda Hamilton is not a mission priority... She is the same woman we remember from last time... Her body is straight and taut... Her arms are lean and muscular... Her eyes peer out through a wild tangle of hair like those of a cornered animal... Her voice is a low and chilling monotone... Her expression cold and impassive... She is defiant and intense... She looks hard...
Hamilton seems to have the weight of the whole world on her shoulder.. She draws her knife from its belt sheath, and idly starts to carve something on the table top, the letter "N." Something changes in her eyes... Her face is an impassive mask... We see the forces at war behind her eyes... She has become a 'Terminator,' intending to change the future somehow...
Edward Furlong is young John Connor... He is a ten-year tough delinquent, targeted for termination... He has short yellowish hair and a sullen mouth... His eyes reveal an intelligence as sharp as a scalpel... His interactions with his 'protector' give the movie effective moments of psychological depth...
He reluctantly shows his friend a shot of his mother, pregnant, in a jeep near the Mexican border... John doesn't know it now, but he will carry the photo with him for over 30 years, and give it to a young man named Kyle Reese, who will travel back in time to become his father...
Joe Morton is Miles Dyson, the star of the Special Projects at Cyberdyne Systems Corporation... He is a man in a hurry, a man with much to do... He's brilliant, aggressive, driven.. In a few months he creates a revolutionary type of microprocessor... He can be the man most directly responsible for 3 billion deaths on August 29th, 1997... The survivors of the nuclear fire called the war Judgment Day, will live only to face a new nightmare, the war against the Machines...
His face, his posture, his ragged voice express soul-wrenching terror... This is a man ripped out of normal life into a grim world... He looks up, through his pain and incomprehension, and asks himself: Why is this nightmare happening?
The level of violence in Cameron's film is pretty intense... The special effects are outstanding... They look realistic... The action scenes are amazing, very well executed... James Cameron tries to provide a message of peace... The music score is almost perfect... The plot is intriguing... The motion picture features excellent performances...
'Terminator 2: Judgment Day' is a blazing big-budget sci-fi thriller, very creative, to be entirely experienced... A definite must-see movie...
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