Cyberpunk Review » Terminator 2: Judgment Day

March 11, 2006

Terminator 2: Judgment Day

Year: 1991

Directed by: James Cameron

Written by: James Cameron & William Wisher Jr.

IMDB Reference

Degree of Cyberpunk Visuals: Very High

Correlation to Cyberpunk Themes: Medium

Key Cast Members:

  • The Terminator: Arnold Schwarzenegger
  • Sarah Conner: Linda Hamilton
  • John Conner: Edward Furlong
  • T-1000: Robert Patrick
  • Rating: 8 out of 10



    Overview: Often sequels are just made to cash in or earlier successes with a rehash of the existing story. To Cameron’s credit, he comes up with an entirely different take from the original Terminator movie, yet still maintains some level of believability to the story. Cameron certainly ratchets up the FX, but doesn’t forget the essentials that made us love the original (a well told story). Arnold Schwarzenegger returns as the Terminator, but this time he’s the good guy. Sarah Conner’s transformation from the girl next door to toughened soldier, willing to do anything to see to her son’s viability and stopping the enemy.




    The Story: In Terminator 2: Judgement Day (T2), over 10 years have past since the events of the first movie, and the Skynet from the future has made one last attempt (um, well, until T3, that is – I believe the final last attempt will be Terminator versus Predators) to destroy John Conner. This time, they have skipped the “retroactive abortion” ploy, and are targeting him directly. This time, they are sending a more advanced unit – the T1000 – an android made out of liquid metal. The T1000 has the ability to copy virtually anything it touches, but prefers to assume the form of a police officer (Robert Patrick) to aid in its pursuit of John Conner.




    John Conner of the future, in a desperate attempt to save the gains made, captures, reprograms and sends back Cyberdyne Systems model 101 (Arnold Schwarzenegger) to protect John Conner in the past. His primary mission is to ensure John Conner’s survival by any means necessary. A secondary aspect of his programming states that he must take orders from John Conner.




    John Conner is currently living in a foster home, as his mother has been committed to an insane asylum by the good Doctor Silberman (Earl Boen). Now, disenchanted to learn that his mother has basically fed him a fantasy his whole childhood, he has become a troublesome youth. He spends his time stealing money from ATMs, jerking off with friends, and playing video games.




    As the plot evolves, the familiar chase and pursuit feeling from the first movie returns, only this time we get the added benefit of Terminator on Terminator conflict. John Conner eventually hooks back up with his mother, and they decide to make an attempt to eliminate Cyberdyne Systems in the present, thus, eliminating the apocalyptic future that awaits the human race. Unfortunately, the T1000 has other plans.




    The Acting: The most impressive aspect of T2 is the personal training Linda Hamilton put in to make her transformation to a soldier absolutely believable. She really looks the part, and for a short time, almost comes across as a terminator-like powerhouse. Her acting is also spot on, as is Edward Furlong and Schwarzenegger. Robert Patrick puts in a serviceable job as the T1000, but still pales in comparison to Schwarzenegger’s character in the original. Joe Morton is also decent as Cyberdyne System’s top scientist, Dr. Miles Dyson.




    The FX: T2 is remembered for raising the bar on CG enhanced FX. Cameron transformed the T1000 into almost as large a phenomena as Schwarzenegger’s Terminator became in 1984. The liquid metal effects had the benefit of looking ultra-cool while not requiring the detail necessary for facial features. In this way, Cameron really played to the strength of the available technology. However, over time, as FX have continued to evolve, the impact of the T1000 has been significantly diminished, while the original Terminator is more embedded in our psyche than ever.




    The Bottom Line: While T2 is a very well made film, personally, I still like the original lots better. Simply put, the movie is a very well made sequel, and still includes the best android fight on film. But in my mind it’s not nearly as sophisticated in terms of the whole Time Travel angle, and worse, it invalidates a key part of the original story – that nobody goes through after the first pairing. One wonders why they Skynet of the future didn’t just send the T1000 back to the same time as the first movie – then they’d have 2 Terminators pursuing Sarah Conner (or 3, 4, or 5 depending on how many Terminator movies we finally end up with). Still this is a minor point, and I know of many who disagree with me about the original being better.


    T2 Page 2: More Screencaps–>>


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    March 11, 2006

    Desirina said:

    Man I love this movie. I like the first movie just as much though - I don’t really understand people who only like the T2. I’m not sure I agree about Robert Patrick though… he’s not really MEMORABLE in the way that Arnold was, but there is something about him that is just so… creepy. I mean really creepy. It’s stupid when he talks though.
    Another thing I really like about T2, besides the incredibly cool character of John Connor as a kid, is the way they fit in the “no fate but what we make” idea without it being incredibly cheesy. Or at least I think it is fairly subtle.

    SFAM said:

    Hi Desirina, I agree - the “There’s no fate but what we make” idea is a pretty cool philosophical thought, and I didn’t mention it at all (It really needs to be though). Cameron really did work hard to differentiate this movie from the original. Also, I just realized I didn’t mention the score above. The score, while very similar to the original score, truly did almost as much to immerse the audience as the FX.

    And maybe I’m not saying this well, but when this movie was released, T2 was almost a mini-phenomena - T2, and Patrick’s portrayal was really big then (and yeah, he’s definitely creepy). But I agree it was a different type of admiration than the original Terminator got. In retrospect, it was more tied to the truly “WOW” quality of the FX back then - they really were a significant step up. At least I remember at the time that Patrick’s T2 seemed to be far more popular when this movie was released, but this sentiment clearly faded, whereas the original Terminator is still “the shit.” I attribute this sentiment to us over time being less impressed with the FX now than we were then.

    And while I too have issues with people hating the original, I would certainly understand many others rating T2 as a 9 or possibly even a 10. In a sense, once you’ve hit 8 stars, this pretty much indicates the movie has great quality and is wonderfully made - a lot of people could easily differ by a point or two.

    […] shooting its pilot episode. Apparently, the Sarah Conner Chronicles takes place right after T2, and will have male and female terminator […]

    March 19, 2007

    Anonymous said:


    July 11, 2007

    CaRLoS oLiVeRa said:

    I still liked the first Terminator movie compared to T2. The first Terminator was more brutal and more darker. “The first Terminator movie had that “horror element” in it: “from the future comes a killer cyborg - the Terminator. It has no emotion and its purpose - to kill.”

    Though I will admit that “T2: Judgment Day” surpassed the first Terminator in many aspects, it is because this sequel had a bigger budget “- 102 million dollars compared to the low-budget 6.4 million of the first one.” The main reason why the majority prefer this sequel over its predecessor.

    But! even if the first Terminator’s low-budget, I say that it was PERFECT in all aspects. And up to this time I believe that T2 had never really beaten the first Terminator.

    The character of Robert Patrick, the T-1000 (The Human Lead as we call him) wanted Sarah Connor to suffer in pain for the latter to tell where her son John is hiding. So the T-1000 showed some human traits right? By inflicting pain and suffering to get a purpose? The T-1000 is also a cyborg. It shouldn’t have feelings? The T-1000 has all the ability to capture and destroy John Connor without the aid of anyone.

    CaRLoS oLiVeRa said:

    In addition to the human traits that the T-1000 had shown.. In the finale.. When the T-1000 was thrown into the hot acid.. “The T-1000 was screaming. He was showing emotions of fear and pain. Right?

    The T-1000 has the ability to copy, impersonate any human it touches. Their looks. Their voice. Everything. But to exhibit human emotions? “The Cyberdine Systems Model T-101 couldn’t even cry.. Why did the T-1000 screamed in pain?”

    Anonymous said:

    “He’s a good lookin’ boy. Do you mind if I keep this picture?”

    October 26, 2007

    jj said:

    this movie iis the best

    February 28, 2008

    Anonymous said:

    He spends his time stealing money from ATMs, jerking off with friends, and playing video games.
    He spends his time stealing money from ATMs, jerking off with friends
    jerking off with friends

    March 20, 2008

    tehprion said:

    I don’t think he was screaming in pain, more like dismay. But that would be even more human-like. Maybe by copying those people he somehow copyied emotions from them in an effort to better blend in, which is what an assassination droid should do. If he was programmed to learn from humans it would explain how he gets more sadistic towards the end. That would make it one of the best cyberpunk-themed films ever!

    April 19, 2008

    Anonymous said:

    This is like, my favorite movie ever! Arnie is so awesome and Linda Hamilton is one of my favorite actors!

    April 29, 2008

    fghvh said:

    its a realy good its better than no. 1 & 3

    May 15, 2008

    P350 said:

    The T1000 wasnt screaming in pain, it was still struggling to complete its mission. Even though it had lost the control over its own ability to hold its form… or whatever. Its a well told story with no major holes. You cant over analyze a movie otherwise it terminates (god that was fucking terrible…) the fun and enjoyment of seeing the story.

    August 8, 2008

    maria said:

    muy bueno!!!lastima el 3 el actor q hace de jonh conner no va para nada q le paso a el actor de la 2?o por lo menos buscar uno parecido y mas lindo aguante Edward!

    MARIA said:


    October 17, 2008

    Shrike said:

    “Robert Patrick puts in a serviceable job as the T1000″

    You gotta be fucking kidding me >_>. This has got to be the worst written review I’ve seen from any cyber-related site.

    October 18, 2008

    hugo zuniga said:

    es lamejor pelicula que evisto

    January 28, 2009

    Anonymous said:

    (”The character of Robert Patrick, the T-1000 (The Human Lead as we call him) wanted Sarah Connor to suffer in pain for the latter to tell where her son John is hiding. So the T-1000 showed some human traits right? By inflicting pain and suffering to get a purpose? The T-1000 is also a cyborg. It shouldn’t have feelings? The T-1000 has all the ability to capture and destroy John Connor without the aid of anyone.”)
    While I agree that the T-1000 has the ability to capture John Conner on its own, it also is programmed with a basic knowledge of psychology. I think that causing pain to Sarah Conner gets John Conner to do a “180″. Making the mission of the T-100 end more efficiently. Although, having that character “learn” emotions would be interesting… Almost Agent Smith-like.

    Adam Daub said:

    I can only imagine that the Terminators (someone above me posted something similar) were all programmed to calculate situations and use human compassion to their advantage. This is actually a basic war tactic used by most military forces (i.e. shoot one guy, wait for the other to help him, shoot them too)This is a good example of a reason why he used John’s mother suffering. It was simply a way to draw him out.

    As far as the screaming part is concerned, I can imagine it was really just something used for dramatic effect to give the audience satisfaction that “the monster is dead.” It’s a very typical/cliche hollywood climax routine. However, if you want to get technical about it, it could have simply been all the mechanics that cause speech and movement to be malfunctioning at the same time. Do I think the writers thought that deeply into that scene? No.
    I really don’t think that scene warrants over-analyzation. Now if the terminator had say begged for his life, cried, or something even more over-the-top I could see some concerns for plot holes.

    July 7, 2009

    Rosie said:

    Why did Sarah and John Connor assume that Judgment Day had been averted in the final scene . . . especially since they had obvious proof that it had not been averted?

    July 9, 2009

    Burnt_Lombard said:

    Because there’s always $$$ in genre sequels. Since they watched all proof get destroyed in molten steel they probably thought it was averted. Although if it was clearly no robots would be sent back in time.

    As great as the first 2 terminators movies are, they’re full of paradoxes. If you have to go back in time to prevent John Connor from being born, Clearly you failed; He’s Alive!

    Time travel will make your head explode.

    June 13, 2010

    ShadowGunner49 said:

    This really is one of my favorite Sci-Fi movies of all time man, you should have given it a 10 man!

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