Monday, July 20, 2015

Movie Review: Terminator 2 - Judgment Day

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Great action and special effects in a fun film
Cons: None
The Bottom Line:
Action and sci fi
Combine for a fun movie
Holds up well today

I Can See Why So Many Consider This Sequel Superior to the Original

After watching the first Terminator movie a couple of weeks ago, I was quite anxious to move on to the sequel.  After all, I have heard over and over again how it was a rare case where the sequel was better than the original.  I didn’t have to wait long since I’d recorded Terminator 2: Judgment Day off TV.    The result?  I can see why everyone praises it so much.

The movie picks up 10 years after the first one, and we get to meet John Conner (Edward Furlong).  Unfortunately, he is living with a foster family that hates him since him mom, Sarah (Linda Hamilton), is in a mental hospital for sharing and acting on the events of the first film.

Even worse, two more terminators are coming back from the future to try to kill John Conner so he will not be able to lead the uprising against the machines in the future.  While one is the old model that Sarah encountered in the past (Arnold Schwarzenegger), the other is a new upgrade that can heal and disguise himself as anything or anyone (Robert Patrick).  Which one will find John first?  Will Sarah get free of the mental hospital in time to help her son?

This movie is an action movie, pure and simple.  Since most of the story takes place in the (then) modern world of 1991, much of it plays out as pure action.  Yes, two of the main characters are unstoppable robots, but really, how are they that different from the typical action hero?  No, really.

And those action scenes are tons of fun.  There are some chases in pretty unique places around LA, where the film is set, and they keep you riveted to the screen.

Yet the story actually holds together better than a typical action movie.  In fact, there’s a great twist to the story in the first half.  Sadly, it’s such a part of pop culture most people know what it is already, but if you do go into the movie unspoiled, you’ll really enjoy it.  I enjoyed watching it play out even though I knew what was coming.  There is one part of the story that feels a little forced in the second half, but I soon got on board and it sets up a wonderful climax.

Earlier I dismissed the science fiction aspect of the film, and now I’m going to contradict that.  After all, time travel does play an import part of the story.  Yes, the movie does fall into the typical time travel traps, but it’s easy to ignore that because the film is so much fun.  While the movie is at its heart an action film set in 1991, the science fiction elements do give it something that makes it stand out from the others and make it something special.

The special effects actually stand up pretty well almost 25 years later.  Our glimpse of the future looks much better than the original, that’s for sure.  The more advanced of the terminators sets up the need for some pretty advanced effects for 1991.  Today, we’d think nothing of it, but back then it was jaw dropping stuff.  Honestly, knowing how advanced they were for the time, I find them pretty impressive today.

The acting is top notch as well.  Yes, it is an action movie, but we get some slower moments that develop the characters, and the actors hit those out of the park as well.  Schwarzenegger is the only exception since she’s still a little robotic, but since he’s playing a robot programmed to kill, it works.

So if you’ve missed this film like I had, you’ll want to fix that today.  Terminator 2: Judgment Day is fun escapism, and if that’s what you are in the mood for, you’ll be glad to you sat down to watch this film.

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