Terminator 2: Judgment Day, 25 Years Later

T2So July 3rd was the 25th anniversary of the debut of the film Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991), and I have to admit, it’s my favorite movie from the franchise (although I’ll always have a soft spot for the original 1984 Terminator).

So I decided to watch it again for about the billionth time, but with the idea that it was now a quarter of a century old.

Each “Terminator” movie reset when judgment day, the day when Skynet decided to blow us all to hell, would occur. I can’t watch one film and think too much about the others because it gives me a headache.

Arnold, of course, is Arnold. It’s why we watch the Terminator films, particularly the first two, to see him in his prime, to see him being totally badass as the Terminator.

Since his CPU chip is reset to “learning mode” in the film, Arnold gets more of a chance to act than he did in the first film. OK, Arnold will never be known as a great actor (though he’s gotten better over the years), but his famous one-liners and the presence he brings to the role is more than worth the price of admission.

Linda Hamilton turned in a great performance as the tortured Sarah Connor, struggling under the weight of knowing the future, and desperate to stop it, not only for her son’s sake, but for all the children.

Edward Furlong was compelling as John Connor although there was no way he was going to pull off being ten years old.

“We’ve got Skynet by the balls now,” is one of my favorite lines, although every time he screamed and his voice broke made me wish his balls had already dropped.

Most people probably don’t think about Joe Morton and S. Epatha Merkerson who played Miles and Tarissa Dyson in the movie. I found them to be a fun couple (how Morton could have kept a straight face when he know Merkerson was about to lick him on the back of the neck, I’ll never know). I don’t know about real-life, but they had good on-screen chemistry.

Earl Boen played a wonderful dick psychiatrist and was perfectly placed to “follow Sarah Connor’s case” on staff at the mental hospital where she was incarcerated. In the first Terminator movie, he had a fun role but missed out on the action. This time around, he must uncomfortably confront the fact that Terminators exist, rewriting his own version of reality.

Robert Patrick as the T-1000 looks like a regular person until he starts killing people with his “liquid metal” body. I hope he had fun in the role which didn’t even allow him to crack a smile (something that Arnold did which ended up being appropriately “cringeworthy”). Yes, I was glad when he was melted into slag at the end of the film.

Lots of explosions. Lots of shooting, all of it very satisfying.

Problems.

It would have taken a miracle for Arnold’s Terminator to find John by randomly riding his motorcycle around L.A. At least Patrick’s Terminator as a police officer, had a photo of John and could narrow down his search.

When Patrick’s Terminator materializes from the future, he looks like Robert Patrick, but the police officer he mimics doesn’t. Why doesn’t Patrick’s terminator look like the police officer for the majority of the film?

I get why the Terminators had detailed files on human anatomy, but why would they be programmed to have detailed files on Miles Dyson. Who cares?

During her psych review, Sarah is pretty animated to the point of violence, but later that night, while being interviewed by two detectives, she seems almost catatonic. Even Silberman says she’s become increasingly disconnected as time goes on, but earlier that day, she tried to strangle him. Kind of sloppy writing here.

When Sarah tries to kill Dyson at his home, both Dyson’s wife and his son Danny (played by DeVaughn Nixon) are both present, but Danny’s (presumably) younger sister (who isn’t listed in the cast for the film at IMDB.com) is in her bedroom asleep. With all the shooting and screaming going on, why doesn’t she wake up? Even after John and the Terminator arrive and things calm down, we don’t see what happens to her or to Danny after John takes him back to his bedroom.

When trying to get Sarah and John out of Cyberdyne and past the cops, I would have thought that the Terminator would have come up with a better way than to let him get so shot up that he obviously couldn’t pass as human. Even Sarah said he wasn’t much use if he didn’t look like a person.

I’m glad to see Sarah’s Spanish had improved since the first film, but although John presumably was also fluent in Spanish, it was obvious that Furlong spoke hardly a word. Hamilton must have done her homework.

Conclusion.

T2 is a film that has held up well with the passage of time. All the things that made it fun in 1991 are still fun today. None of the Terminator movies are without their flaws, but T2 is the movie I can forgive the most, and I’ll watch it again and again as one of the best Arnold Schwarzenegger/Terminator films in my collection.

Here’s a little celebration of the 25th anniversary at HitFix.com. Enjoy and remember, “the future’s not set. We have no fate but what we make for ourselves.”

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