Terminator 2 is a rare beast. A sequel that betters the first installment and still holds up 25 years later.
Time travel, a dystopian future, gun wielding robots, attitude, car chases, strong male and female leads, groundbreaking special effects and enough action to satiate even the hungriest of fan’s appetite. Add to that a tale of morality and humanity and you end up with one of the greatest sci-fi movies of all time – ‘Terminator 2: Judgement Day’. The film was released on this day (July 3rd) in 1991 in U.S. cinemas. Yes, unbelievably T2 is a quarter of a century old!
Arnold Schwarzenegger will never be heralded as a master of character acting, but when it comes to playing slightly dumb muscle-bound leads in sci-fi action movies there are few that can match the former Mr Universe and Governor of California.
Arnie had found fame in ‘Conan The Barbarian’ (1982) and ‘Conan The Destroyer’ (1984). In the same year as the latter he made the leap into science fiction starring in the first ‘Terminator’ film, a role in which he portrayed a killer robot – ideal for his limited acting range. Despite his limitations Arnie found a rich vein of form with subsequent movies of a similar ilk that saw him quickly become a beloved Hollywood star.
‘Predator’ in 1987 boosted public awareness of this hulk of a man further and remains high on my list of all-time sci-fi classics. His 1990 outing as Douglas Quaid in ‘Total Recall’ makes the list too. But for me, and many others, ‘Terminator 2’ is the pinnacle of Schwarzenegger’s career.
T2 not only cemented Schwarzenegger’s Hollywood status but did wonders to promote female characters in strong lead roles thanks to Linda Hamilton’s wonderful portrayal of Sarah Connor. In the film Hamilton reprises the role from the first Terminator movie but comes back ten times more kickass in the sequel. Playing Connor’s son in the film was Edward Furlong who excelled in his first notable role as John Connor, future leader of the human resistance and the target of of the new and improved T-1000 unit sent back in time to kill him.
The T-1000, an upgraded version of Arnie’s T-800, much sleeker and more deadly, was undoubtedly one of the biggest stars of the film thanks to the CGI effect that gave actor Robert Patrick the appearance of being constructed of liquid metal. Patrick brought something special – and eerie – to his terminator. A calmness, a slight sense of the disturbed and a dry humour that has subsequently been channeled by actors portraying terminators in later movies in the franchise.
The Terminator franchise may have long overstayed its welcome and even though we find ourselves in an age where sci-fi action movies have evolved beyond the formulas used to create the classics of the late eighties and early nineties, for me, ‘Terminator 2: Judgement Day’, written and directed by James Cameron, will remain one of the greatest movies of its genre of all time, even twenty five years after its cinematic debut.
Why not free up a couple of hours and revisit a great film on its 25th birthday?