Monday, March 12, 2012

Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

              This is the sequel that does a franchise proud by essentially copying the previous films plot idea and adding new elements to create a thrilling continuation to the storyline.  The main premise from the original film remains intact, even Arnold Schwarzenegger.  The new T-1000 terminator (Robert Patrick) brings freshness to the film which fits absolutely perfectly.  Regarding the terminators, there are two, one to protect and the other to destroy, John Connor (Edward Furlong) that is.  This is for all intensive purposes an action flick but it excels beyond that with a driving story that connects the action sequences in a nicely wrapped package.  I know there are people out there that like to fuss over the time travel aspects of this film and let me clarify that it’s a science fiction movie as well.  Besides is there anyone on earth that knows how time travel actually works?  Has anyone done it?  Well, my point is that if you get hung up on if the time travel is accurate or not you might miss one of the greatest action films of all time with the perfect man to lead it, Arnold. 

                The story begins as the terminators enter the film early.  The circular, bubble like, time travel method that brings them to the past is amazing from a visual standpoint.  It’s simple but effective in believing a time traveler has arrived.  Heat seems to melt everything in the immediate bubble like area to provide protection for the sent terminator.  For me it’s a neat mention as those details always capture my eye.  Arnold gets the first introduction, naturally, which is done in remarkably suitable fashion.  He acquires a motorcycle, biker cloths, a shotgun and some cool shades.  The T-1000 conveniently gets the guise of a police officer which will help it in various ways later to accomplish the task of killing John Conner.  I like the explanation that the T-1000 is a prototype which is obviously an early model of the T-1000 series.  It can take the shape of people in relevance to their size and only by contact with the person.  That creates a nice limitation for the T-1000 so it can’t simply change to anything it wants.  It can’t become complex objects or devices but rather crude basic objects like, oh say, a metal blade!

                Let’s talk about the humans now, Sarah Conner (Linda Hamilton) is considered insane and locked up in a correctional facility.  Her story is interesting and changed since the events from the previous film.  The character development with her is a determination to prevent the coming Skynet catastrophe.  You also see a side to her troubled person as you can see she wants to be able to have a normal life as a mother with her son.  A part in the story really shows the inner demons she struggles with which is a welcome moment in the film to slow all the action sequences.  John Conner is another character that gets developed throughout.  His voice remains to be unbearable at times and possibly will make you laugh if his voice cracks at any particular moment.  The scene where Sarah scolds him for being stupid enough to risk everything to save her from the correction center is a genuine moment.  He sheds some tears as he only wanted to save her in such a radically changing part of his life.  He struggles to find a path in his young life without parents for the most part and its neat to see him bond with the terminator, in an almost father like way.  He treats the machine like a toy and playmate at times, subtle yes so keep an eye for the scenes.  It sounds odd but it really brings a story in an action type of film.

                The movie progresses very nicely until Sarah attempts to kill Miles Dyson (Joe Morton) the eventual creator of Skynet.  She reverts to her killer state and has Dyson at gun point but freezes suddenly, as she nearly pulls the trigger.  At that moment I felt her character flaw as I was certain her decision to save the human race would push her to kill Dyson without hesitation.  It’s possible she saw Dyson’s family at that point and they were at the brink of death, she didn’t want to destroy a family; deep down.  It stems from her desire to have that normal family.  If that’s true or not I don’t know, it’s just what I thought.  The attack of Cyberdyne is the scene I feel dips in the story.  They want to destroy the remains of the first terminator and risk all to do so.  It’s not a terrible idea and it’s not poorly executed.  I thought it had a bit too much action for its own good though.  John’s command for Arnold to not kill anybody, established earlier in the film, is weak overall and dampens the whole setting specifically at Cyberdyne.  A terminator not killing nameless foes is banana’s, that’s right bananas.  They blow up the entire building, which anyway is going to kill someone, Dyson at least.  I did find it funny when the one security guard was locked up in the restroom and upon finding his buddy the other guard leaves without helping him.  Where’s the camaraderie?  You’re going to leave your guy on the floor locked up?  I’d be rather angry with you my friend.  The action sequences ensue and while somewhat inventive at times do drag along.

                I never get how Arnold knows it’s the T-1000 in the helicopter when they are fleeing Cyberdyne.  Is it a terminator thing?  There is no scene that reveals he should know but it’s of little consequence.  At the conclusion of the final car chase the T-1000 gets frozen with liquid nitrogen, while Arnold spats off, “Hasta la vista baby” and shoots him.  You do feel a bit of sorrow as the T-1000 trashes Arnold the inferior terminator.  In the end Arnold does blow away the T-1000 into a molt of lava, very fitting.  He also has his arm severed off and stuck in a huge gear which they never destroyed.  They destroy the remains of the first, and then Arnold dies for the second consecutive film, only he could pull that off by the way.

                The film wants to send a message that humanity should put aside war and learn to find peace or nothing but self destruction will occur.  I agree with it, it’s sad that the world can’t get along.  We know the special effects are amazing and Arnold possibly turns in his best career performance.  Robert Patrick delivers as the T-1000.  The story is solid and blends into an incredible action film.  The science fiction action genre has a winner here.  Epic music!

                Rating: 9.5 of 10

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