Monday, April 13, 2015

Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

Director: James Cameron
Writers:  William Wisher Jr. , James Cameron
Cast:       Arnold Schwarzenneger, Linda Hamilton, Edward Furlong, Robert Patrick

A cyborg, identical to the one who failed to kill Sarah Connor, must now protect her young son John Connor, from a more advanced cyborg, made out of liquid metal. So we've got Arnold back, but this time as a hero, and it is explained away as: John Connor from future was able to reprogram it and sends it back in time to protect a young John Connor.

In the first terminator film, the terminator and the human soldier comes back in time using a time machine which was supposed to be destroyed. So that was the last chance for the things from future to affect the outcome by tweaking the events in the past. In T2, it is not explained how they were again able to come back in time. Only possible explanation is that both machines and humans have a set of time-machines each with which they are trying to affect things in the past. That kind of sucks because why can't they just go back to 1984 and try to kill Sarah Connor again. Things happening in T2 will be just one such attempt of many meaning that at the end of the day it doesn't amount to much in the large scheme of things. 

The version I watched was about 154 minutes long while the theatrical one was 137 minutes. The extra 17 minutes includes among other things a dream sequence involving the father of John Connor. The film can be divided into three halves: first one with Arnold saving John and helping John save Sarah from the mental institution she is in, second one in which they are on the run and goes to south where Sarah and John had stayed earlier training to fight, and the last sequence involving the assault at the cybernetic corporation who were developing the Skynet technology out of the things recovered from the terminator in the first film. Basically the first and last are kickass action set-pieces while the middle third is painfully boring stuff linking the two. Cameron tries to pull of some humor between John and Arnold which doesn't always work and Sarah is a nagging presence throughout. Sarah decides that she is supposed to alter the nuclear war fate, logic of which is presented in the film in a very underwhelming manner, and decides to kill the scientist who is developing the chip that will lead to Skynet and details about him are provided by Arnold. 

Overall it is a good watch but the film as a whole is uneven. They could have done away with the melodramatic parts and decided to go for all out action. I don't know whether the shorter theatrical cut might have changed this a bit. The story was anyway not going to be as interesting as the first. You do get a very early 90s vibe in the way it was filmed and I was kind of reminded of Natural Born Killers, maybe because of the desert. The kid playing John Connor is not very good, partly due to script,  and Home Alone vibe doesn't go well with The Terminator franchise. All that said, the action sequences were great making use of the whopping $94 million budget and the CGI was cutting edge stuff for early 90s. Shame that Cameron got a hard-on for CGI and went on to make thoroughly average films like Titanic and Avatar since then. I haven't seen 'True Lies' which came after T-2. As for the Terminator franchise, two other films came out both of which were supposedly crap. Another one, titled 'Terminator Genisys, featuring Arnold is slated for release this year and I have not interest in watching that. 

Rating: 3.5/5