Arnold Schwarzenegger returns as The Terminator in this explosive action-adventure spectacle. Now he's one of the good guys, sent back in time to protect John Connor, the boy destined to lead the freedom fighters of the future. Linda Hamilton reprises her role as Sarah Connor, John's mother, a quintessential survivor who has been institutionalized for her warning of the nuclear holocaust she knows is inevitable. Together, the threesome must find a way to stop the ultimate enemy - the T-1000, the most lethal Terminator ever created. Co- written, produced and directed by James Cameron (The Terminator, Aliens, Titanic), this visual tour de force is also a touching human story of survival.
Arguably the finest movie of its kind, Terminator 2: Judgment Day captured Arnold Schwarzenegger at the very apex of his Hollywood celebrity and James Cameron at the peak of his perfectionist directorial powers. Nothing the star did subsequently measured up to his iconic performance here, spouting legendary catchphrases and wielding weaponry with unparalleled cool; and while the director had an even bigger hit with the bloated and sentimental Titanic, few followers of his career would deny that Cameron's true forte has always been sci-fi action. With an incomparably bigger budget than its 1984 precursor, T2 essentially reworks the original scenario with envelope-stretching special effects and simply more, more, more of everything. Yet, for all its scale, T2 remains at heart a classic sci-fi tale: robots running amok, time travel paradoxes and dystopian future worlds are recurrent genre themes, which are here simply revitalised by Cameron's glorious celebration of the mechanistic. From the V-twin roar of a Harley Fat Boy to the metal-crunching Steel Mill finale, the director's fascination with machines is this movie's strongest motif: it's no coincidence that the character with whom the audience identifies most strongly is a robot. Now that impressive but unengaging CGI effects have come to over-dominate sci-fi movies (think of The Phantom Menace), T2's pivotal blending of extraordinary live-action stuntwork and FX looks more and more like it will never be equalled. --Mark Walker
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