The only real way to improve a movie is to give James Cameron the rights to direct the sequel. It almost worked for Alien, so why wouldn’t it work for Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Whereas Cameron didn’t make a better film than Alien with his Aliens sequel, he manages to scrape a few extra marks that put his Terminator 2: Judgment Day ahead of the original.
Arnold Schwarzenegger is responsible for some of the greatest action movies of all time. Commando is a personal favourite of mine; Predator is a great movie and he was absolutely fine in the otherwise poor The Expendables. His output at The Terminator, an iconic and defining character for both his career and cinema at the time, isn’t one that I’m particularly keen on. Some of the lines are iconic, and most of them stem from Terminator 2: Judgment Day. But even then, it’s the performance of Schwarzenegger that make these lines stick in our minds so well.
Without a doubt the worst part of this movie is the performance of the young John Connor, portrayed here by Edward Furlong. He’s clearly going through puberty at the time of filming, which does explain the whiney and ear-piercing voice he manages to produce throughout. Linda Hamilton’s reprisal as Sarah Connor doesn’t do much better either, with the performance coming off as a bit lacklustre more than anything.
But cinema fans don’t watch Terminator movies for the cast, they watch it for some great action moments, and Cameron provides exactly that. It’s definitely more memorable than the first movie in that regard, and I presume it’s because of the heroic turn Terminator makes right at the beginning of the movie. No longer is the action against him, but he’s the star of the show, taking on the villainous T-1000, played by Robert Patrick.
An excellent piece of cinema that only James Cameron could’ve directed. Dark, packed to the brim with action, and a long ass movie, Terminator 2: Judgment Day has all the tropes of the 80s action movie but crams them head-on into a decent script and some moderately strong performances. Arnie’s leading man performance never wears thin, and it’s here that he gets the most personality. Ironic since he’s playing a robot.