This is of the edited TV-14 version of the film and all thoughts below should be read as such. A review of the uncut version would likely be more negative as edited versions help to address my complaints for a product…typically.
It’s time to look at the sequel to the first Terminator. This was the big film and you could say that this is what really put the franchise on the map. As well received as the first film was, the second would show us what the series could do with a real budget. We could get some more action now and a new villain who may even be stronger than the Terminator! I enjoyed this one more than the first and it got rid of one of my main negatives with the first film.
Sarah may have survived her last ordeal, but she is now being kept in an asylum as the police don’t really believe the fact that she destroyed a Terminator. They just think that it was a random guy with a cool pair of shades who managed to take everyone down. When The Terminator does appear again, Sarah prepared for the end, only to fnid out that he is on her side now along with her son, John Connor. Sarah doesn’t have much time to celebrate this as she decides to destroy Skynet before it is ever created. Can she get past the new Super Terminator from the future?
First off, the film did a good job of being very action packed like the first one. The Terminator shows up and quickly starts to mess his opponents up and then we meet the new and improved Terminator. With two enemies gunning after her, Sarah wouldn’t have stood a chance. Luckily, the first Terminator is on the side of the heroes for now. Like the last film, something is basically always happening and the film keeps up with a quick pace. With the budget improved, the liquid Terminator can really show off his strengths.
Time to talk about one of the plot devices, which I thought was a little iffy. In the first film, Kyle mentions that Skynet sent a Cyborg into the past so the humans countered with him. In this film, we find out that Skynet actually sent two Cyborgs and we used the time loop to our advantage to reprogram the first one and send it after the second. Hmmmm……I don’t think that this adds up too well. I guess you could say that we were able to reverse engineer the Terminator from the arm and chip that survived the first film, but how did the main characters get it? Also, adding in the fact that two Cyborgs were sent just seems like a mild retcon. Reprograming the original Terminator is another iffy part.
Regardless, plot holes rarely hurt films and they are just fun to look at. You can also make the case that they aren’t plot holes and that I just need to refill my Popcorn and continue with the review. Just keep that in mind since in Genysis…..it seems like more time twists are going to occur.
The Terminator is an iconic character and I’ve always known him as a good guy so it’s nice to see him be a protagonist here. He’s still a Cyborg and doesn’t really feel emotions, but he starts to get the hang of them by the end. He seems like a nice guy even when he’s shooting everyone as he is still trying to help John. Deciding not to destroy humans anymore was also a pivotal part of his character development. This film was also where he got his famous sayings and iconic weapons like the Mini Gun. (I love that weapon in just about every shooter. It’s just so good!) He was definitely the best character in the film.
Now, I know that many people consider Ripley Scott to essentially be the ultimate female protagonist of her time. She was tough and knew how to fight. Alien did come out before the Terminator films so it’s a valid reputation although I was never very impressed by her. That being said, I’d say that Sarah is much more impressive than Ripley and especially in the first part of the film as she breaks out from the Asylum and helps the Terminator fight against the new one. (I’ll just call him the T-1000 from here on out) She did start to lose some of her edge in the second half as she panics when trying to destroy Skynet and the dreams overtake her, but by and large, she was a very impressive hero. Not backing down from the T-1000 shows just why I consider her to be in the top 3 female movie protagonists. (Humans only and only counting her depiction from this film. Let’s ignore what happened in the first film)
There are a few dogs around like last time and they manage to stay uninjured. I wanted to quickly reassure all of you that the film didn’t make the big mistake of including animal violence. That would have been quite sad. Unfortunately, John is a very unlikable character and easily one of the worst in the film. Just about every scene where he has a “tough” moment is sad. He is in the rebelling phase and he actually steals money from people to use at the arcade. He’s certainly no hero and I can see why the Resistance is getting blasted by the Terminators. The film tries to push the argument that the humans will win and the Terminators are scared, but I can’t picture the humans winning. They simply don’t have what it takes at this point.
As for the T-1000, he’s a good villain. He starts to show some mild emotion at the very end like when he shakes his finger at Sarah, but for the most part he is not very emotional. His liquid metal abilities make him quite the threat and it’s safe to say that The Terminator doesn’t stand much of a chance against him in a fist fight. The original Terminator does seem to physically be stronger than the T-1000 though and he was winning in pure fisticuffs until the T-1000 started to use his Liquid Abilities. With them, he is very hard to destroy and his regeneration is also impressive. He made for a very good villain and it’s going to be tough for the future films to top him.
The soundtrack is excellent and I would expect nothing less from the Terminator series. As much as I enjoyed the music in the first film, this one managed to top it. A lot of the themes are very epic and make you feel the intensity of the scene. The iconic main theme is also very pronounced here and I can see why it is still remembered today. A good soundtrack really makes all the difference in a film and Terminator 2 certainly did a good job with it.
One of the things that holds the film back a little is still the fact that it can be pretty violent at times. Thanks to me seeing the edited version, it wasn’t too bad. Usually, the screen would cut away when a character got stabbed so while you can tell how the character was destroyed, it’s not brought to the screen’s view too often although you can usually see the corpse in the background as a quiet shock moment. Naturally, the film could have certainly trimmed the violence down without affecting the story and the film could have easily been PG-13 level if they really tried although I’m not sure if the rating was around back then.
There was one scene that nearly made me take away a star though. To show that the Asylum is not a safe place, we get a scene where the guy in charge of guarding the prisoners is actually a psycho himself. The scene literally has no point to it and it just serves to show us that there are always shady characters around. It was still a pretty distasteful scene though and nearly brought the film down. Had it gone any further than what was shown, I certainly would have had to cripple the score a little more. Luckily, it never went that far.
I did actually feel bad for the two guys who tried to help John when they thought that the Terminator was about to attack him. They came to help only to get some broken bones out of the ordeal when John thought that it would be funny to inflict a little pain. Once again, John proved that he was definitely not a very heroic protagonist and someone that you couldn’t root for. I can only hope that he is better in Terminator 3.
The best scene in the film is probably when the Terminator meets up with the T-1000 in the Asylum as the heroes finally manage to find Sarah. That’s where the film really got interesting and the death race got going. That’s the kind of moment that I hope to see in Batman vs Superman or in the Infinity War. Two big characters finally meeting up and the other characters as witnesses. That scene will definitely be remembered as a classic.
Overall, Terminator 2 was a worthy successor to the first film. It’s really going to be tough to top this installment as we had a great villain and good heroes in Sarah and the Terminator. John was a really bad character, but at least he wasn’t too integral to the plot so it was easy to ignore him. The sci-fi elements are always fun to watch and the opening scene with the future really showed off just what the series could do with a big budget. I definitely want to see more of the future soon since that plot looks super interesting. In Florida, they had a ride where a great part of the movie inside took place in the future. Something like that would make for a great film. There may be a few plot points that I found iffy, but you can safely jot it down to the time travel aspect. I definitely recommend this if you saw the first Terminator film and if you’re looking for an intense time travel film, this is what you’re looking for.