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Terminator 2

Terminator 2: Judgement Day

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In the future, an artificial intelligence program called Skynet launches a full-scale war against its human creators. Originally designed to make life easier and assist humanity with everyday tasks, the program becomes self-aware and suspicious of its masters. As a result, it accesses nuclear weaponry and begins launching them at targets all over the world. Unaware that this was the result of Skynet gone mad, the countries hit by the initial attacks fire back at the U.S. in retaliation.   

Fast-forward to the year 2029. The planet is now a nuclear wasteland. Few human survivors remain and those that do fight against Skynet’s army, which consist of humanoid machines called terminators. In an attempt to win the war, Skynet sends a terminator back in time in an effort to wipeout the man who is the leader of the human resistance before he is even born. John Connor is that man. He is the one who organized humanity and motivated them to fight back against the machines. Skynet attempts to kill Connor by killing his mother Sarah (Lind Hamilton) in the year 1984. A terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is sent to kill Sarah, but it fails due to the help of one resistance fighter (played by Michael Biehn) sent back to protect her.  

Terminator 2

The events of this movie take place 10 years after that. John (Edward Furlong) is 10 years old and living with foster parents. His mother, Sarah, is living in a mental institution. She tried to blow up a factory of the company that will eventually be responsible for creating Skynet. Along with everyone else, John believes she is insane and holds a lot of anger towards her. He thinks all this stuff about Skynet, the terminators, and the future wars is a bunch of bullshit made up by his crazy mom. In his defense, Sarah (played by Linda Hamilton again) is kind of nuts. She’s right, but is completely off her rocker and lacks credibility. As a result, he never sees her, acts out against his foster parents, and is kind of a punk in general. He spends his days doing things like stealing people’s ATM cards and playing hooky.

Meanwhile, two “people” are sent back from the future once again. This time Skynet is tries to kill John directly. The first person sent back is Arnold, again playing the role of the Terminator. Specifically, he is a T-800, the most common type of terminator. They are the most common type of terminator, because they are the first that look and act human. Previous models hadn’t perfected the look of a real human, but the 800 series changed everything. They are infiltrators. They carry out their job by blending in. The other person sent back is a mysterious guy – who assumed the identity of a police officer – played by Robert Patrick. Both men immediately begin combing the city of Los Angeles, so that they can carry out their mission and find John.

Terminator 2

Both “men” track John down to a local mall, where he was hanging out at an arcade.  Robert Patrick’s character is the first to find John. John has no idea who the guy is, but runs because he thinks the officer wants to arrest him for the cash he has been stealing from ATM machines. As runs frantically throughout the inner workings of the mall, he is confronted by Arnold’s character. It appears that even though believed his mother to be insane, he immediately knows who the man is, as he has a look of sheer terror on his face. It is at that very moment he realizes his mom was telling the truth. I imagined she described – in detail – her experience with the first terminator, because John is scared before the terminator even has a chance to do anything to him. What he doesn’t know at that point is that both men are terminators. One has been sent to kill him and the other to protect him.

The two of them engage in a brutal fight and John manages to escape. Robert Patrick’s character pursues him in a relentless car chase across town. Arnold’s character eventually catches up and rescues John. The two of them flee the scene and the terminator informs John that the other terminator is an advanced prototype. He is faster, stronger, and more durable than the standard issue T-800. He also has a few tricks up his sleeve. He is known as a T-1000. He is the only of his kind.
After things calm down and John comes to the realization that he really is the leader of the future human resistance, he feels he owes it to his mother to break her out of the mental institution. Not without some complications, he and the T-800 eventually succeed in rescuing her. The three of them spend a lot of time fleeing and planning for out to deal with the T-1000.

Terminator 2

Sarah has plans of her own too. She intends to continue her personal mission of destroying Cyberdyne  – the company responsible for creating Skynet. I mentioned earlier that Sarah really is nuts. She isn’t crazy in the sense that she made the story up about the terminator, Skynet, and the future war, but rather knowledge of all that has taken a toll on her. Finding out that billions of lives will be lost and her son will be the one that leads the fight against the machines responsible for all those deaths has eaten away at psyche. She doesn’t want to prepare John for what he has to face, she wants to prevent it from ever happening. She can’t cope with the knowledge of what is to come and who can blame her? It does sound rather horrible. She has constant nightmares about it. So as a result, she becomes obsessed with changing the future.

How exactly does she plan on changing the future you ask? She wants to kill the man whose research leads to the creation of Skynet. Miles Dyson (Joe Morton) didn’t have nuclear war in mind when he began working on this project. His intention was to create pilots who never tire, assembly line workers who don’t need to stop for a lunch break, and to eliminate human error. When he began working on this project, he had no intention of it being used for military application. He’s a really nice guy who wants to better humanity through his inventions. Sarah doesn’t know this – nor would she really care – all she wants to do is prevent the future war.  Like I said earlier, she’s completely obsessed. If murdering this one man means an end to the war before it even starts, she’s going to do it.

Terminator 2

Forget Avatar or Titanic, this is James Cameron's masterpiece. I wouldn’t hesitate to say it’s one of the best movies ever made as far as I’m concerned. The Terminator is an awesome movie.  I loved it growing up. I still do. I remember watching countless times, especially as the release of Terminator 2 approached. But this movie blew me away. It’s one of those rare cases in which a sequel is better than the original. This movie is so tightly written and executed from top-to-bottom that it only works as an excellent sci fi/action movie, it’s a legitimately good film too. I

As much as I like the original, this is superior in every way. The effects are phenomenal. The action is bigger and better, which doesn’t always work with sequels. Sometimes movies go for broke in the sequel and it reaches absurd level. This was a time where action sequels were still real too. CGI was only used sparingly. They still took the time to use make up, really blow things up on set, and use stunt people instead of digitally inserted characters. The bottom line is it looked real. There was none of this overly cartoony and fake looking stuff you find in a lot of modern action movies. And for the first time ever, we actually got to watch two terminators go at it. This was long before superhero movies came along and probably one of the first instances in which we got to watch two larger-than-life characters beat the hell out of one another.  This was relatively new territory and like I said above, it simply looked like it was really happening.

Terminator 2

The acting is fantastic too.  Linda Hamilton completely transformed herself into more hardened version of Sarah Connor. Linda Hamilton was definitely channeling Michael Biehn's performance from the first movie. The intensity he had as Kyle Reese is present again in this movie, only this time it is through the character of Sarah Connor. Her voiceover's are also very well done and add some nice depth to the film. Details like this are what make this movie better than the original.  As funny as this may sound so many years later, this is Arnold's best performance as an actor. I know what you are thinking (he can’t act), but I challenge you to tell me you aren't moved by the humor and genuine emotion he portrays as the curious, but deadly cyborg; especially during his encounters with John Connor. He makes you care about a machine. Speaking of John Connor, Edward Furlong, really nails this role. No, he's not the future "legend" we hear about (through Kyle Reese), but a young punk  with a heart – who is battling his own several issues and at such an early age. He was poised and certainly didn't look out of place in a movie filled with much older, more experienced actors. Robert Patrick takes over as the villain in this installment. In the first one, it was Arnold's relentless version of the T800. In this movie Patrick plays the relentless, virtually indestructible, superior T1000! When this lean – and not exactly intimidating looking man first shows up on screen – I literally remember audience members laughing at him. It was a very “This guy is going to take on Arnold?” type of reaction. Well you know that saying about not judging a book by its cover? You learn that very quickly and you soon begin to fear this menacing character. I never thought I’d be saying that after seeing Arnold’s portrayal of a killer robot in the first movie, but Mr. Patrick is fantastic in this role. He’s one of the best villains to ever appear on the big screen. It was truly an iconic role.

Rating: A big, fat thumbs up.

This movie review was given the He said, She said seal of approval on October 26, 2010. It was revised on December 13, 2013.

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