Terminator 2 Judgement Day (1991)
Director: James Cameron
Ten years after the demise of the original Terminator, Sarah Connor (Hamilton) is now in a nuthouse, looking particularly buffed up (damn!). Meanwhile, two Terminators from the future arrive in our time to cause mucho ruckus. One is a new “liquid metal” morphing model named the T-1000 (Patrick) sent to assassinate Sarah’s young son John (Furlong), the other (Schwarzenegger) is an older model (T-800), programmed to protect the precocious brat. Get the firepower and let’s rumble like it's 1991!
"I promise I won’t kill anyone"-- The Terminator
I’ve seen "Terminator 2: Judgment Day" countless times and it always terminates me to wide grin, rollercoaster fun times oblivion. The movie has aged very well with the special effects in particular holding up better than some of the digital garbage that I’ve been seeing onscreen now of late. This sequel to the small budgeted and truly badass original "The Terminator" can be enjoyed on a multitude of levels. How do I love thee Cyborg? Let me kill the ways.
As a sequel: "Terminator 2" not only retook and played on key moments that appeared in the original (the Terminator’s arrival, the future scenes, the Mack truck madness, the ending at the factory,) but thanks to its bloated budget, jacked them up production value-wise to give way to an enthralling display of eye candy. It also complemented the first film by layering the storyline with more themes and smartly tying the events that went down in the first to the sequel. I also appreciated the sly tributes to the original through little winks that hardcore fans should pick up on: The Terminator going through the window, the lines “Get out” and “Come with me if you want to live”. All that was missing was a repeat of the line “Fuck you, asshole” delivered with a heavy Austrian accent and I would’ve hit the ceiling ventilator in a burst of fanboy joy.
A Social Commentary: The original Terminator was basically an intelligent, lean, mean, horror sci-fi machine with mostly high octane entertainment on its plate. Cameron delivered the goods and then some in this sequel, but he also went heavy on the “message” jive. This flick explored, at some lengths, the human condition and our self destructive nature while also acting as a cautionary tale in terms of the advancement of technology and the nuclear missile armament. That’s a lot of substance to digest and yes, it feels “preachy” at times, but being the great cook that he is, Chef Cameron made it flow down well and had this mook thinking deep thoughts (By Jack Handy) on occasion.
An Action Film: BOO FUCKING YA! This crazy bastard is all about exhilarating, excessive, inventive and quite extensive action sequences smashing through the screen for our viewing pleasure with the Cyberdine Police Team clean house sequence, that ended with the T-1000 getting to a helicopter in quite a money way, being my favorite. We get lots and lots of big ass guns and all kinds of explosions that popped my wood out of the shack (what does that mean?). The one-track minded villain, played deliciously by Robert Patrick, also helped "up" the excitement quotient of the physical shenanigans with his intense and frightening presence. The man was cold, mucho menacing and simply relentless. The sight of him running after John Connor on his bike was one to behold. Adrenaline junkies raise your sleeve, tap that vein and shoot this up!
A Special Effects Bonanza: This sequel is a staple in the evolution of CGI technology. James Cameron and his team took what they learned via their work on "The Abyss" and brought it to the next plateau here. We get all kinds of gnarly, eye-popping visual morphing effects that reminded me of “The Thing” in terms of creativity. The T-1000 breaking through the helicopter window to then pour inside and the frozen/shattered T-1000 were definitely my favs. Although watching the flick today, the CGI didn’t have the same whoop-ass effect on me that it had when I first saw the movie, but it still held up like a hooker on coke and got much respect from yours truly. Props to Cameron and his crew for pulling it off!
A Drama: The more gripping dramatic angle here for me was Sarah Connor’s quest and despair. Played by an incredibly toned and focused Linda Hamilton, I felt the woman’s pain. I felt it when it came to her being away from her son, her unbearable knowledge of Judgment Day and her eventual mental break at which point she somewhat became a sort of Terminator herself. I have never seen a sequel take a lead character from the original to such a polar extreme in terms of personality. You gotta respect that! It made for an emotionally engaging character. I also got a few heart tugs off John and The Terminator’s constantly fluctuating father and son like relationship where both characters would teach each other something throughout the picture. NOTE: That “thumbs up” in the end always breaks me down like a…you guessed it…beeyatch. Sniff Sniff…
A Comedy: This is the aspect of the flick that I liked the least-- although some of the more circumstantial humor worked on me (The line “Nice bike" always gets me), while the more extensive gags involving The Terminator and John Connor didn’t. What I loved about the original Terminator was that it was a brutal offering with an endearing dark tone and hardly a smile in sight. I like my steak raw and the light repartee between John and The Terminator here, softened up the edge at times and felt like a device to cater to a larger and more mainstream audience. I missed the bleakness of the original through this approach.
Pet Peeves: I have very few negative feelings towards this film, but I will say that I find it odd for a movie with such a large budget to occasionally showcase some really shoddy effects, simple ones at that. Like the obvious blue screen in the car (hey man, just shoot it in real time on a real road) or the Arnold obviously tucking his real arm in his coat while that apparent fake arm dangles at the end thang. COME ON!
But overall, T2 is an ultimate movie-going experience that offers you so much in one sitting and in high quality at that. Insane action, poignant drama, sometimes effective humor, thought-provoking themes and lots of KABOOM and rat-tat-tat for you green. Hasta La Vista Baby indeed!!!!
There’s isn’t much gore, but the violence is pretty potent. We get bodies burned up by a nuclear blast (awesome effect), a cigar burnt on chest, lots of broken limbs, a spike in the mouth (nice!), spike in the shoulder, spike in the belly (lots of T-1000 spiking peeps in here), ripped off flesh to reveal robot arm, a crushed robot arm, bashed in robot head and a slew of impalings. And how many kneecaps get shot off in here again? I lost count…YEAHHHHH!
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s (The Terminator) star status is apparent in this sequel. He got more to play with this time around as the Cyborg character. The one-liners are many and Arnold delivers them with his own special brand of charm. Gotta love Arnie! Linda Hamilton (Sarah Connor) is all about intensity and carved in muscle tone. She really impressed me here both on a physical and acting level. Easily her best performance ever. This was Edward Furlong’s (John Connor) first movie and it showed-- he has many “off” moments but thankfully they never got to a point where the film was hurt by them. Miles Dyson (Joe Morton) gives a very likeable show; I felt for the guy. Robert Patrick (T-1000) had a cold, feline-esque demeanor and killer eyes. He was the role and the first time around, he scared the crap out of me. Cameron favorite Janette “Vasquez” Goldstein (Janelle) showed up and kicked acting ass as per usual. Earl Boen (Dr. Silverman) returned from the first one and yes, he still played a smug jerk. He worked then and he worked now.
T & A
We get Linda Hamilton looking like she can snap my dick in half with her fingers. The lady is so fit, it’s not even funny and yes...she sizzles. The ladies get all the fun with Robert Patrick showing his ass and Arnold displaying his buff stuff (no ding dong shot this time gals…sorry)
Cameron once again proves that he’s a master at designing killer scenes, delivering psychotic build up to then, kick all kinds of bootie with the left hook payoff. The man loves his bluish hues, his slow motion and sure knows how to orchestrate mind-numbing action scenarios. Grade "A" for AMAZING job from Titanic boy!
The Brad Fiedel score was freaking amazing and brought so much mood and impact to the film. We also get “Bad to the Bone” by George Thorogood (didn’t work for me, too jokey) and “You Could be Mine” by Guns 'n Roses (kool song).
Distributor: Artisan Entertainment
IMAGE: The 16:9 Widescreen 2.35 image is simply impeccable, easily one of the film’s best transfers.
SOUND: The same can be said about the Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound which totally amplified the experience that was the film. We also get an Ex- Dolby headphone option, but don’t ask me what that is cause I just don’t know.
T2 - EXTREME DVD
This disc offers the special edition version of the film, with roughly 16 minutes of deleted footage re-edited into the flick, so expect to see the “Terminators Chip scene”, the Kyle and Sarah dream sequence, more with that abusive orderly, The Terminator learning to smile, the T-1000 killing the yapping dog and a couple of more bits. The theatrical cut of the film is available in CD-Rom format to be watched on your computer and as an Easter Egg (I hate those damn things) on the first disc. To access it, when you arrive at the menu, highlight SENSORY CONTROL and press the RIGHT arrow on your remote 5 times. "The Future Is Not Set" will pop up, go on it, press ENTER and the theatrical cut will kick in.
Audio Commentary: James Cameron and writer Bill Wisher come in to talk about the film’s roots, comment on the special effects and how they went about getting them done. They also address the script changes throughout the shoot and the nuclear war connotation while giving us lots of trivia about the process. This was a very insightful commentary with Cameron owning the floor. Take a backseat Bill...he’s the king of the world.
Interactive Mode: With this option "on" you can watch the film with a constant Text Commentary rolling on and giving out behind the scenes info. If you press “enter” when the Cyberdine logo appears, you either get video segments or a slide show with audio commentaries which address various behind the scenes elements of the film. I had a blast with this one! There’s all kinds of info tossed our way! Set a day aside for this feature.
No Feat but What We Make (~ 24 minutes): This feature focused mostly on the visual effects of the film, mainly the use of the CGI. I can’t really say this whole CGI exploration thang really interested me, but that’s my own shite. If special effects are your thang, you should get a lot more out of it.
T2 On the Set (~ 8 Minutes): I LOVE behind the scenes video footage and this feature was a hoot. We get to see cast and crew on location or on set and even at a firing range having a blast with a multitude of guns. I also dug the interaction between the actors and seeing Linda and her twin sister (fantasies kicked in). This looked like a fun ass set to be on and even though more than 8 minutes would’ve been nice, I’ll take what I get and say: thank you.
For all you lucky bastards who actually have this CD-Rom software on your computers, you’ll get to see the theatrical version of the film in Microsoft Media 9. You also get two features called the “Infiltration Unit Simulator and T2 FX Studio”, in which you can take a pic of yourself and turn yourself into both Terminators. I also heard there’s a game on this where you can fly a Skynet simulator plane. Sounds like fun times-- too bad I won’t know until I shell out the bucks for some of that CD-Rom stuff.
This DVD is an overall solid disc. Hit it, kill it and kill it again!
Although I preferred Cameron’s more intimidate, vicious and less mainstream original movie, there is no denying the power of this crowd-pleasing ride. If I had to associate a film to the words “popcorn fun” and “summer blockbuster”, T2 would be it. The ambitious action set pieces and the slam dunk visual effects gave me an eyeful and had me wiggling in my hot seat like a sausage without a bun (what???). Tag to that, some actual hefty substance within the candy and some bang-on acting all around and you get a movie akin to a Chinese bordello-- lots of chow and all you can freakin' eat! Dig in again guys and bring on Terminator 3!
The budget for this film was $98 million.
Cameron asked Special Effects man Stan Winston to direct a teaser-trailer for this film with a budget of $150,000. Winston put together a trailer showing a futuristic assembly line building a multitude of T-800s. The awesome trailer was shown only in North America.
In Sarah's dream sequences, the Sarah Connor in the waitress outfit in the playground was played by Linda Hamilton's twin sister, Leslie Hamilton Gearren. Leslie was also used as a double in scenes involving two "Sarah Connors" during the last block of the film.