Terminator 2: Judgement Day (1991)

July 06, 2011 By Mike B
Movie Review

What Worked?

Terminator 2: Judgement Day is the Godfather II of summer action films. James Cameron hit his peak with this film, and there’s nothing else like it. It’s an action film with incredible stunts, timeless special effects, and an iron heart. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, and Robert Patrick have never been better.

This is the film that solidified any doubts that James Cameron is a legendary director. Everything in this film works like the perfect machine. The script balances the action and thrills with genuine drama. It does a wonderful job on commenting on fate versus freewill, as well as our obsession with technology. The pace is perfect, as we are always engaged in the story of preventing the war of man versus machine. As for the special effects, this film was done in the days where special effects were still “special.” It uses the right amount of special effects, and doesn’t drown the screen with it. It also mixes CGI with animatronics so that the T-800 and T-1000 look genuine in their inhuman actions. For a film in the early 90s, Terminator 2 gives many CGI-filled films today a run for their money. The action is so memorable because there’s emotional drive pushing it, from the semi-truck chasing the Harley, to the Cyberdyne break-in, and to the showdown at a steel mill, the action is always riveting.

Arnold Schwarzenegger is one of the most popular action stars, and his claim to fame are the terminator films. He was successful playing the villain in the Terminator, but he became  a full-blown star with his role as the T-800 in Terminator 2. Schwarzenegger is cold, calculating and built for the part as  the perfect killer, but he also shows that he is a protector. As he learns to blend in through interacting with a young John Connor, the T-800 becomes the ideal guardian; one that will never leave your side, let you down or turn his back. Schwarzenegger is so good at being a bad-ass, but the reason we’re attached to him is because he is almost like a surrogate father for John.

Linda Hamilton is amazing in her role as Sarah Connor, as she evolves from a helpless woman to a lean, battle-tested, lethal warrior that will do whatever it takes to keep her son alive. Hamilton, as Sarah, is a soul tortured by a hellish future that isolates her from present day society. She maintains a tenderness to her character, but also becomes a triumph for women everywhere, as she is tough as nails. Opposite Hamilton, Furlong, and Schwarzenegger is Robert Patrick as the T-1000. Patrick keeps a quietly vicious stare on his face that sends chills down your spine. He’s calm, collected and wholly frightening as the liquid shape-shifting villain.

Terminator 2 is the ultimate summer action movie, as it set the standard for big-budget summer blockbusters. It’s still as entertaining as it was  20 years ago. Looking past the entertainment, it also contains a very rich plot concerning how fate is anything we make it to be. It also goes deeper in showing that if a machine with the sole purpose of killing can learn that murder is not the answer, maybe people can too.

Potential Drawbacks:

Edward Furlong does a solid job in this film, but there are some instances where he can seem a bit off. Some may also feel that this is a watered down, family-friendly version of the first film.

Film Recommendations:

The Terminator
True Lies



Constructive debates are welcome, but personal attacks are not. If you feel a comment is offensive or considered spam, please feel free to flag it.

Latest Reviews

  • Lock starring Tom Hardy
  • Locke

    One of the best places to have time to yourself and really think about your life is in your car;...

    Read Review >>
  • Expendables 3 Once again, Sylvester Stallone and company are back to spill blood and yell out manly things. Expendables 3 continues the old school action of the...
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Back in the 90s, the turtles in a half shell hit the big screen with three live action movies that were ridiculously fun to watch for kids. Michael...
  • Guardians of the Galaxy We've ventured off into space before, but we've never done it with such a likable bunch as Star Lord, Groot, Gamora, Drax, and Rocket. James Gunn's...
  • See more reviews »