TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY

a film by James Cameron released through Tri-Star Pictures in 1991

For a movie that wraps itself in platitudes about the sanctity of life, Terminator 2's insufferable writer-director James Cameron sure makes some interesting choices.  This is a very violent movie, and not even in the conventional machine-gunning fashion.  No, here we have the villain, the quasi-robotic T-1000, stabbing people in the head with its metallic 'finger': blood-drenched herky-jerk convulsions abound.

Well, that's the villain, after all; shouldn't we feel how wicked he is?  If so, why do we also need to witness little kids being barbecued by a nuclear blast?  That's o.k. because it's 'just a dream'?  If life is so precious, shouldn't the loss of life be handled more discreetly, as Christopher Nolan manages to do without sparing the audience an emotional pummeling?  This paradox recalls movies like The End of the Affair (1999), where the characters agonize over their adultery while the audience is granted a front-row seat to that sin's rollicksome couplings.

On the plus side, Brad Fiedel's wonderful score takes advantage of a much bigger budget, while still maintaining the eerie synths and metallic screechings employed in The Terminator  (1984).  Also, the audience, perhaps unfamiliar with the preceding film, is given ample opportunity to catch up with the smart, natural-sounding dialog that provides exposition without sacrificing character development, particularly as young John Connor bonds with his protector.  And the action and effects are universally hailed.  They hold up even today, especially the icily limb-shorn T-1000.

For sheer spectacle and superficially bravura entertainment, it's hard to top Terminator 2.

 

★★★★☆

Best for ages 18+

 

 

FEATURING

ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, LINDA HAMILTON, ROBERT  PATRICK, EDWARD FURLONG, EARL BOEN, AND JOE MORTON

2023 Ian C. Bloom