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8/28/17

TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY - REVIEW


As Terminator 2: Judgment Day enjoys a 3D re-release in theatres this Summer, there's no better time to revisit James Cameron's blockbuster masterpiece. The film was originally released back in 1991 and it was a huge hit, surpassing the original Terminator commercially and critically.

Arnold Schwarzenegger is back as the Austrian killing machine who terrified us all years prior except, this time, his mission is not to murder Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) but protect her son John Connor, played by a young Edward Furlong. The main threat being another Terminator, Robert Patrick's T-1000, a liquid metal shapeshifter who is even more unstoppable than the T-800. Terminator 2 keeps a lot of what we loved about the original film but presents a brand new character dynamic, big action set-pieces, more groundbreaking special effects and an altogether more epic experience. The Terminator was essentially a slick yet gritty robot slasher flick with a sci-fi edge, this sequel builds up the apocalypse we caught a glimpse of the last time and complicates things further as two very different robots, and a mother and son, battle for the future of humanity. While it does have its harsh, gory moments and a lot of moody, intense drama, the tone of this movie is slightly lighter as the relationship between John and the Terminator is somehow surprisingly sweet.

As good as the whole cast is in this film, it's Linda Hamilton who is the most impressive as her character is transformed from a slightly naive waitress to a worn, dead-eyed badass we first meet doing pull-ups in a mental institution. It's still shocking that this role didn't land Hamilton at least an Oscar nomination. The film looks fantastic thanks to some stunning cinematography and it uses a mix of stop-motion, practical effects and CGI to bring its characters and story to life. Some of the action sequences and stunts are the best you'll see in any movie from the epic bike and truck chases to the Cyberdyne building scene and the intense finale in the metal factory. So many lines and moments from this film have since become iconic that watching it again is like visiting an old friend. On the big screen, some minor flaws stand out a little bit more but those wrinkles are completely outweighed by the talent involved. Arnold Schwarzenegger gives one of his best performances as the T-800, injecting some humour into his heartless machine who becomes an unlikely yet believable father figure to John and even earns a pissed-off Sarah Connor's respect.

The Terminator was the perfect slasher and this sequel is the perfect actioner: every scene is crafted with care and the result is a stylish, nail-biting, explosive action sci-fi flick with time travel, robots, explosions and lots of big guns (including some Guns N' Roses).  

Classic.

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