Terminator 2: Judgment Day
The Terminator is back, this time with even more plot and special effects…
Written By: Andrew Lowe
Date: 4th July, 2015
Well after the success of the original Terminator film it was only a matter of time, according to everyone involved, before a sequel was made. The only question was how to bring back Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Well that proved easier than people thought. It was never really addressed in the film itself, rather explained in a teaser released for the build up. Basically it showed an assembly line for the terminators and they would all look like Arnie. And at this point it would seem that he could make Terminator films for as long as he wanted.
The story starts by showing more details of the future war. Basically showing John Conner co-ordinately the defeat of Skynet by the Human resistance. All with a voice over by Sarah Conner (Linda Hamilton) explaining that two terminators were sent back in time, one targeting her and failed. The other would target John himself when he is ten years old.
We see the T-800 Model 101 (Schwarzenegger) appear in Los Angeles, naked. He walks to a biker bar and, after fighting several bikers, takes some clothes and one of the Harley Davidson motorcycles and some guns.
At the same time, the T-1000 arrives, naked as well. A cop hears the distortion of the T-1000’s arrival and starts investigating. The T-1000 then appears to knockout the cop, take his clothes and police car. Before he takes off he uses the car’s police computer to find out details of John Conner’s location, which also states that John Conner is 10 years old, and born in 28th February 1985. This is something we will come back to later.
Now something to bear in mind, if you had never seen the trailers or heard any of the marketing for the film, you wouldn’t know that the T-800 terminator was the good guy, and you wouldn’t even know the T-1000 was even a terminator at all. The film gives nothing away at this point. But the marketing executives had to ruin it by giving it away in the full trailer, just like they have with Terminator Genisys (Quick advice, avoid the trailers if you don’t want that twist ruined, and it would have been quite a good surprise too!).
John Conner (Edward Furlong) is ten years old and lives with his foster parents, after Sarah has been committed for being captured trying to blow up the Cyberdyne buildings, telling people about the upcoming war with the machines and accusing the company for covering up the remains for the previous terminator she crushed.
After spending at least 6 months in a high security psychiatric hospital (it was never said for definite how long she had spent there), Sarah has changed a great deal since the original Terminator film. She has become an expert in weapons, strategy and toned herself so that she is perfect shape. However her time in the hospital is tough, especially with the physical and borderline sexual abuse that takes place from the guards.
John doesn’t fit in with his foster parents, as his whole life has been turned upside down with Sarah being committed and told every she told him was a lie. He ends up riding off on his dirt bike with a friend heading to a video arcade, after making a stop to steal money from a cash machine (or ATM if you’re American).
The T-800 and T-1000 (in disguise as a police officer) both stop by John’s house at different times looking for him. Both take a picture, and continue looking. The T-1000 asks kids if anyone has seen him, which eventually leads him to the arcade, while the T-800 spots him on his bike and follows him.
Eventually both Terminators confront John in the back corridors of the mall where the arcade is. The T-800 protects John from the T-1000, and shows off his liquid metal properties. This after over twenty years still looks totally amazing, and even watching the making of documentary, I’m amazed that a large majority is animatronics.
This leads to one of the famous scenes, which has John, on his dirt bike, being chased down the L.A. river (which has been redirected for filming). This leads to the T-800 coming to the rescue and causing the T-1000 to crash his truck in a fiery wreck.
After John realises the T-800’s mission is to protect him and has to obey his orders. The T-800 also explains that the T-1000 is a shape-shifter and can mimic people and his highest probability of success would be to impersonate Sarah, to which the T-1000 would kill her in the process.
After which John orders the T-800 to help him free Sarah from the hospital, as they arrive John orders the T-800 not to kill anyone. However the T-1000 had already arrived and has already murdered & impersonated several members of the hospital.
While John, the T-800 and the T-1000 are at the hospital, Sarah was already in the middle of a break out. After almost making it out she runs into the T-800 and runs for her life, confusing him with the one that was sent to kill in the original Terminator film. Sarah is then captured by the hospital staff, which the T-800 soon subdues.
However the T-1000 has caught up with them, and shifts through the bars of one of the doors, shocking everyone who watched it. This leads to another chase out of the hospital with the T-1000 in close pursuit, but is soon given the slip. Sarah, John and the T-800 head south down to the Mexico, and on the way stops off to retrieve weapons from an old friend near the border.
Sarah has a dream about the apocalypse, and gets information from the T-800 about the creator of Skynet. She then heads back to L.A. in order to kill Miles Dyson, who is in the middle of creating a new CPU based on the original T-800 that Sarah encountered, which leads to the building of Skynet.
Sarah stakes out his house and after a failed attempt with a sniper rife, she breaks in and shoots his shoulder. Whilst holding a gun to his head prepared to shoot, Sarah realises she can’t do it. John and the T-800 break into the house and try and calm the situation. Dyson is told all about the future and agrees to destroy all of his work.
Dyson takes everyone to Cyberdyne Systems, where they start destroying all of the research. Security however tip off the Police, which leads to a huge gun fight, of which Dyson is fatality shot and triggers the explosives as dies. The T-1000 overhears the police activity and heads to the building.
The T-800 destroys all of the police cars, steals a SWAT van, and escapes with John & Sarah. The T-1000 has taken control of a police helicopter and follows them. During the chase, the helicopter crashes into the van and wrecks both vehicles. The chase continues in a small pickup truck and a large semi-truck with a tanker full of liquid nitrogen.
The chase leads them to a steel mill, and crashes both vehicles, spilling the liquid nitrogen over the T-1000 who is frozen still unable to shift shape. The T-800 shoots him into millions of pieces and heads deep within the mill. The heat from melts the T-100 in to liquid form again, but is severally damaged, and goes looking for John again.
The T-800 attempts to give John and Sarah time by fighting the T-1000. However it is outmatched and deactivated. The T-1000 continues after John again, even impersonating Sarah after they are separated. However Sarah manages to almost knock the T-1000 in to molten pit. This is when the T-800 who managed to reactivate himself, is able to finish off the T-1000 by knocking him in the pit.
The T-800 then realises that Skynet could still be a possibility thanks to his CPU, and so asks Sarah to lower him into the molten pit, as it can’t self terminate. He is slowly lowered down as John and Sarah watch, meaning the end of Skynet and Judgement Day.
This is a very enjoyable movie, the action is all very enjoyable and from a period when CGI was used sparingly. So everything is very real. The story is truly engrossing, the tone is friendlier than the first film, and there certainly is less violence. However it still has story problems.
The film really contains two stories. The first is taken from the original Terminator film, and that is a robot from the future is tasked with eliminating a person and a protector has been sent back to stop it. The only difference this time, is that they are both terminators. So it is far to say this sequel is actually a remake in some sense.
The second is to stop Skynet from ever being created. This is why the film is too long and to be honest very uneven. I would have preferred something more focused. Truthfully I would have preferred no sequel at all, as I stated in my Terminator review.
The performances are truly excellent again. Arnie is back in the best role he ever did in his career. The only criticism is that he maybe tries to inject a little humour that to me seems out of place.
Linda Hamilton’s role as Sarah Conner is completely different from her last performance, and she plays every scene perfectly. She has transformed from the damsel in distress to a hard-nosed battle hardened warrior. This is perfectly displayed when she first is confronted by the T-1000 in the lift of the hospital. She immediately grabs a gun from the T-800 and starts shooting. Her first instinct now is to fight. During the film you believe that maybe she has gone too far and lost her humanity, but it does come back just when you think she has become a killing machine, like a terminator.
Edward Furlong is good as the young John Conner and plays it with a wit and charm that fits the part very well, all in one area. There is no way on earth that he looks ten years old, and there is no way a ten year old would act this way. Once you forget the problems with age, it is a very enjoyable performance and one that fits with the rest of the performances in the film.
Overall I enjoyed the film. It has some of the best special effects, and as proven by Terminator Genisys, they can’t be beaten today. The acting was first rate. The story if too long and bloated is still intelligent and good. The main question really is that after watching the original Terminator did you think it needed a sequel? The answer to that will determine whether you think this is brilliant or just good.