Terminator 2: Judgment Day

Terminator 2: Judgment Day [1991]
Tri-Star Pictures
Terminator 2: Judgment Day [1991] is the sequel to James Cameron’s first film and the smash hit, The Terminator [1984]. This installment of the franchise follows Sarah Connor’s now 9-year-old son, John Connor. He is protected by a cyborg identical to the one that hunted Sarah all those years ago, from an even bigger threat — a faster and more advanced cyborg sent from the future, but this time to kill John.

A milestone in blockbuster history. T2 (along with 1993’s Jurassic Park) changed the way directors make blockbusters. The budget for this film was roughly eight times larger than its predecessor. Cameron uses every bit of that budget to its absolute potential. T2 is one of the first films of that time to use highly experimental computer-generated effects. Cameron mixes the state-of-the-art effects (at the time of filming) with some of the best old-school practical effects ever put to film.

Unprecedented style. By 1991, Cameron had his style of filmmaking down pat. The film is extremely slick, loaded with tons of blue lighting, and the action scenes are huge in scope and never lose focus. The action scenes are larger than life, and all of them display things we had never seen done on film before, and for years to come, directors would try to copy (unsuccessfully). Cameron never loses focus of the most important part though — the story and the characters. The characters are all fully realized and integral to the story. There’s not a weak spot among them and there’s not a wasted moment either.

Speaking of characters… We see a ton of returning faces in the films; most notably Linda Hamilton and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Both of their performances expand upon the ones displayed in the first film and have become increasingly more complex over the course of the two films. Newcomer Edward Furlong as the essential main character to the film —and the franchise as a whole — doesn’t play your typical whiny kid, but instead a bad-ass just like his mother. His performance is the best and most fully realized version of John Connor in the entire franchise.

One of the best action films ever made. Despite its two-and-a-half-hour runtime, never does the film slow down, get boring, and never does the film seem overlong.

Mind-blowing, perfectly directed, iconic, and the best of the franchise.

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