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I consider Terminator 2: Judgment Day as the greatest science fiction film ever made, both effects-wise and in terms of character and plot. It's been released in 1991 and I still haven't found a better sci-fi movie yet.
T2 has a clever story and clever characters: a young teenage boy who is thrown into a battlefield with little idea of what's going on, and the (supposedly emotionless) Terminator sent to bodyguard him from a technologically weaponized menace. They have almost nothing in common, at least not yet, but have to stick together for John's survival, and yet John feels that his Ax-Crazy violent, PTSD-driven mother needs to be dragged into all this. The irony in the characters that are combined and working together cannot be overstated.
My personal favorite scene of the movie was when John and Terminator argue over whether they should go save Sarah or not. John wants to but Terminator dismisses her life as insignificant, so then comes Terminator putting his hands on John and keeping him there like a squirmy bird begging for release from a cat. And John's screams drags in two burly men who come for his help, but they complain about John resolving his issue with Terminator before they even arrive, so then John shows those two men what trouble they asked for.
Edward Furlong was perfect as John Connor, he had the most emotional acting out of all actors who played John. He was capable of a great variety of emotions especially fear, such as when the Terminator is gripping on him and won't let him go rescue his mother as he screams for release. I believe Furlong was the best character in the movie that is adult-oriented. He is the only actor for John Connor.
This movie often makes me take great interest in my own hand, my own arm and fingers every day amazed at what I can do because of how T-800 and T-1000 admire or show off their arms.
As far as action movies go, I honestly don't know any in the genre that manage to surpass T2 both in terms of action scenes and in actual narrative. It's where the Terminator series hit it's peak, and they really should have stopped making movies after it.
I really should't have to explain the plot- who doesn't know the premise of Terminator at this point? Super advanced death robot disguised as a human comes back in time to kill John Conner, the leader of the resistance and the only thing hindering the advanced AI of Skynet. A simple set-up, though this time it leads to some very interesting moments such as an encounter with the individual who would help create the Terminator's, Sarah Connor's mental state and becoming what she despises the most, and the idea of a Terminator coming to understand the concept of humanity.
The special effects are still phenomenal, even moreso when you realise the movie is more than twenty years old. The T-1000 is just a marvel to watch, and every time you see that liquid metal monster in action you'll be amazed at the spectacle. And of course the other action scenes are top notch- from the truck chase, to Sarah's nuclear dream to the final battle at the steel mill. They all make for great spectacles that, to me at least, surpass the kind of action scenes you'll find in modern movies.
The acting is also quite exquisite- Hamilton and Furlong put in great performances as the mother and son, and Robert Patrick manages to make for a very intimidating Terminator in his own right. Even Arnold puts in a surprisingly good performance, both using his usual imposing stature and build that made for such a fearsome figure in the original movie, but also adding in the idea of his Terminator taking on human aspects with surprising effectiveness. Despite his reputation, it's a very good performance.
In conclusion: a must-watch.
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