Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) Review

James Cameron’s original Terminator is a brutal and brilliant low budget Sci-Fi horror that not only catapulted him and a certain muscle bound Austrian into the lime light but also birthed a franchise that has spawned four films, a TV series and countless comics, books and computer games.

The rule in general is that no sequel is ever as good as its predecessor however with Terminator 2: Judgment Day Cameron came pretty damn close taking the original movie in a totally different direction with a bigger budget, bigger effects, bigger stunts, bigger story and even a bigger baddie.

For anyone unaware of the plotline somehow, either because they are a Cyberdyne Systems employee or perhaps Skynet wiped their memory, the year is 1995 and Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) the target of the original Terminator 10 years before, has been thrown into an insane asylum after trying to warn the world about Judgment Day an impending nuclear holocaust caused by an artificial intelligence talking over the world and trying to wipe out humanity.

Her son and future savior of mankind John Connor (Edward Furlong) lives with a foster family and spends his time using the skills his mother taught him to rob cash machines and slack off from school with his friends. Believing his mother to be as crazy as everyone else does he is unaware and unprepared when The Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) appears again in LA setting out to find him.

But this time the unstoppable robot killing machine is not alone and a newer model, the liquid metal T-1000 (Robert Patrick) has also been sent back. What do they want and what will they do to get it? If you really don’t know I suggest you stop reading this right now and go watch the movie immediately.

Screening in the UK in 1991 Terminator 2: Judgment Day was in cinemas recently in a new 3D conversion overseen by James Cameron and this latest version which looks even better than it did the day it was released is now available on Blu-ray packed with extras including a new 55-minute documentary with exclusive interviews with Cameron and the cast as well as much more.

The vital question is has this epic blockbuster survived the test of time seeing as it smashed box offices, created catch phrases and stood on the forefront of special effects with its ground breaking computer generated scenes.

The answer is yes as although the fashion and some of the more family friendly Furlong and Schwarzenegger scenes can come across as dated the action packed set pieces are still amazing and the story and characters are just as engaging as ever.

While Schwarzenegger crafted an iconic villain in the first film Robert Patrick’s performance is even better imbuing the liquid metal monster masquerading as a clean cut police man with an inhuman edge that is chilling in every scene he inhabits. Totally selling a seemingly ridiculous character everything from his movement to his voice is measured and deliberate building an unforgettable baddie that became just as iconic as Arnie’s.

On the other side is one of the most dramatic cinematic transformations between films ever seen as Linda Hamilton takes Sarah Connor from a useless over emotional screaming victim to a hard nut physically skilled military maniac, perfectly portraying what would happen to someone not only experiencing the events of the first movie but also with the weight of saving the world on now perfectly toned her shoulders.

One of the most powerful female anti-heroes since Ripley her unhinged edge and fighting prowess make her more than a match in round two against the T-800 and T-1000 however some of the most powerful scenes are between her and her messiah son including her breakdown when he arrives to stop her assassinating Skynet’s creator Miles Bennett Dyson (Joe Morton) in a brilliant moment showing the emotional damage her life has delivered.

The car chases, shoot outs and huge set pieces still look spectacular even against modern Hollywood movies showing the skill of Cameron’s direction and the work that went into making the movie.

Fast, fun and hugely entertaining Terminator 2: Judgment Day still brings all the big budget thrills and chills you remember and even if you have seen it a thousand times before the stunning transfer plus the extras make this a release you will be glad came back just like Arnie promised.

Movie Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Trailer:

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