Science fiction and fantasy                                            

Terminator 2: Judgement Day

directed by James Cameron

Terminator 2: Judgement Day poster  
Mankind continues the battle against the rise of the machines in this sequel to The Terminator. Arnold Schwarzenegger again plays a terminator unit, but this time he's on the side of the humans as a reprogrammed T-101. He has been sent back from the future to protect the young John Connor (Edward Furlong) against an advanced T-1000 model (Robert Patrick).

John Connor is a young tearaway, in serious need of some discipline and guidance. But his mother Sarah (Linda Hamilton) is unable to give him this, since she's being kept in a secure psychiatric institution. So John is in the care of foster parents. Although Sarah seems to be so determined and hard that it's difficult to believe an army could stop her, she hasn't been able to escape the institution, and her warnings of a coming apocalypse have fallen on deaf ears.

Made from an advanced liquid metal alloy, the T-1000 can disguise itself as anyone it touches, and form knives from its hands. This means that there are some pretty impressive special effects, at least for the time, as this terminator shapeshifts and moves through walls and other obstacles. The road chases are also noteworthy, not only for their edge-of-the-seat action, but also because of the scale of the destruction. They look very expensive.

Linda Hamilton puts in a memorable performance as the fierce and troubled Sarah Connor. But perhaps the most interesting relationship in the movie is between the young John Connor and the terminator robot. Robbed of a father figure, he latches on to the T-101, and even tries to teach it a few things about human compassion and mannerisms.

As well as battling to protect John, the Connors take the fight to Cyberdyne Systems in an attempt to prevent Skynet from ever being built. Never mind that if they succeed then the Terminators would never be built, never be sent back through time, and the future war would never happen. The time paradox is a minor technicality. The story instead concentrates on the flaws of human nature that make the development of ever more destructive technologies almost inevitable.

Terminator 2: Judgement Day features some astonishingly dramatic scenes as it works towards its climax, not to mention more than its fair share of catchy one-liners. James Cameron's sense of timing can't be faulted. Although Robert Patrick's T-1000 doesn't have the physical presence of Schwarzenegger's terminator, its resilience and single-minded persistence make it just as terrifying. Burn it, freeze it, pump it full of bullets, and still it comes back for more.

This movie looks great, and has no shortage of visual excitement. It takes a fantastic premise and infuses it with a meaning that's relevant to our times. The result is a film with a lot more heart than the vast majority of high-octane blockbusters.

Film Details

Decade: 1990s

Categories: Films

  Science fiction

Classification: 15

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5 star rating

Review © Ros Jackson
Read more about James Cameron