The Retroactive Review: Terminator 2: Judgment Day
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Terminator 2: Judgment Day

Back in 1984, Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) destroyed the Terminator, a cybernetic killer programmed to kill her. If the Terminator had accomplished its mission objective, John Connor would have never been born. Without John Connor, the machines would have easily vanquished the human race.

It’s 1995 and much has changed since Sarah’s first encounter with the Terminator. She is filled with purpose and become a warrior for the future. She’s desperately tried to warn humanity about the war that is coming – the inevitability of machines ruling over mankind. These kinds of psychotic revelations have led authorities to commit her to Pescadero State Hospital, a mental institution.

Meanwhile, John Connor (Edward Furlong) is living in angst with foster parents. He’s been lectured constantly by his birth mother about his importance – his destiny. Her deranged ramblings warned him of killer machines, and his future as the leader of a resistance against them.

As the Connors’ live out their existence in 1995, two men travel back in time from 2029. The first is a Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger), identical to the one that Sarah destroyed. The second one, however, is a more deadly killing machine. T-1000 (Robert Patrick) is made of liquid metal, allowing it to emulate anyone or anything of equal size.

In 2029, the grownup John Connor has sent the terminator back in time to protect his younger self against T-1000. It’s a bit twisted and complicated and full of time travel paradoxes, but it’s also extremely cool.

T-1000 begins to search for his target in very much the same way the original Terminator tried to eliminate Sarah Connor. He uses a directory and finds all the John Connors, until he compiles the data necessary to pinpoint the one he needs. Meanwhile, the good guy Terminator must convince Sarah Connor that he’s on their side, and get her and her son to safety.

The rest of the film is a heart pounding, action-packed ride through this wonderful world that James Cameron has created. Huge chase sequences have us rooting for the Terminator as he constantly tries to escape a more advanced cybernetic assassin. Hamilton, Furlong, Schwarzenegger and Patrick are all terrific in their roles, and the special effects (courtesy of by Industrial Light and Magic and Stan Winston) still hold up today against Hollywood’s computer-generated elite.

Hands down it’s my favorite “Terminator” film, and no doubt one of the best science fiction / action flicks of all time. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s portrayal of an almost fatherly terminator in this sequel is his greatest role to date. To me, it’s truly one of the few flawless films out there – it has the ability to outdo most new releases 17 years after its theatrical release.

It baffles me when I hear that someone hasn’t actually seen “Terminator 2: Judgment Day,” because it’s just one of those defining films for me. I grew up with this movie – though I was only in first or second grade when it came out. I saw it later on VHS and was blown away by the level of realism Stan Winston and the guys at ILM had created on screen.

It’s a beautiful, fun escape. I highly recommend viewing it – and hey, even if you have seen it – why not get some friends around and watch it again and appreciate how great of a film it really is.

5 Stars (out of 5)

Written by: Adam
Posted on: Thursday, June 19, 2008

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