Top 365 Films – #028 – Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)

Top 365 Films - Terminator 2 Judgement DayDIRECTED BY: James Cameron

STARRING: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Edward Furlong, Robert Patrick, Joe Morton and Earl Boen

BUDGET: $94m

EARNED (Worldwide): $519.8m

AWARDS: 4 Oscars (Best Sound, Best Sound Effects Editing, Best Visual Effects and Best Makeup) and 2 BAFTAs (Best Sound and Best Special Effects)



A cyborg, identical to the one who failed to kill Sarah Connor, must now protect her young son, John Connor, from a more advanced cyborg, made out of liquid metal.


Almost ten years have passed since the events of the first Terminator film where a cyborg was sent back in time to kill Sarah Connor and her unborn son John, the future leader of the human resistance. Now John is a young boy while his mother Sarah is imprisoned in a mental hospital and another Terminator, the T-1000, that happens to be more powerful than the last one is sent back to kill John Connor. The rules have changed however when another Terminator is also sent back through time and his mission? Protect John Connor at all costs. The battle to prevent Judgement Day has begun.


Often considered to be one of the best sequels (let alone best sci-fi action film ever made) to the debate over whether or not the sequel truly surpasses the original, one thing is for certain though is that Terminator 2: Judgement Day is one hell of a ride. The biggest change of all here in terms of the story is Arnold Schwarzenegger reprising the role of the T-800 and this time is the hero of the piece with the mission to protect John Connor as Skynet send another Terminator, more advanced, to take him out of the equation before Judgement Day and end the resistance in the future. James Cameron does a terrific job in upping the ante here from the action sequences here to expanding the story from the original as we see Sarah Connor’s transformation from the first film being hunted by the Terminator to being a complete badass here played brilliantly once again by Linda Hamilton who commands your attention whenever she is onscreen, as does Arnold Schwarzenegger in the role he’ll often be remembered for as the T-800, protecting the young John Connor and obeying literally his every word coming from a young Edward Furlong, who gives a really good performance here amongst his elders. Robert Patrick is absolutely chillingly creepy as the T-1000, a Terminator here that can shapeshift into other people it comes into contact with as well as sharp pointy objects. To this day the special effects haven’t aged a day, in particular the effects used for the T-1000 and the editing is smoothly done in working with the action sequences especially, it’s a thrilling sequel that lived up to the expectations after the original. Shame that Cameron didn’t continue with this universe rather than going off to venture to Avatar saga at this rate.


FAVOURITE SCENE: The motorcycle and truck chase sequence down an old drainage canal, whilst the T-800 joins in the chase on a Harley. The whole sequence of the chase, right down to the way the T-800 reloads the shotgun, is bloody quality.

FAVOURITE QUOTE: ‘Hasta la vista, baby.’ – The T-800

DID YOU KNOW?: In the audio commentary, James Cameron says that not only was the biker bar scene filmed across the street from where LAPD officers beat up Rodney King, but that they were filming the night of the beating. To date, this is the only sequel to win an Academy Award when the previous movie wasn’t even nominated. A female passer-by actually wandered onto the biker bar set thinking it was real, despite walking past all the location trucks, cameras and lights. Seeing Arnold Schwarzenegger standing in the bar dressed only in boxer shorts, she wondered aloud what was going on, only for Schwarzenegger to reply that it was male stripper night. Special F/X guru Stan Winston and his crew studied hours of nuclear test footage in order to make Sarah Connor’s “nuclear nightmare” scene as real as possible. In late 1991, members of several U.S. federal nuclear testing labs unofficially declared it “the most accurate depiction of a nuclear blast ever created for a fictional motion picture”. For Sarah’s nightmare of the nuclear holocaust, some of the materials used in the miniature Los Angeles model that mimicked all the destroyed masonry were Matzos crackers and Shredded Wheat. After each take, it would take on average two days to set the model up to shoot again.


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