Ter­mi­na­tor 2 still thrills

Sunday Star-Times - Escape - - FRONT PAGE -

fans and new­bie young­sters sim­ply must make the ef­fort to ex­pe­ri­ence it on the big screen.

Twenty-six years af­ter James Cameron took the helm for the sec­ond time, the thrills are man­i­fold and still stand up to scru­tiny. The Ter­mi­na­tor movies’ themes of fate, pre­des­ti­na­tion, self­less duty and nu­clear dev­as­ta­tion are pretty en­dur­ing (per­haps even more so as we re-en­ter a new age of nu­clear threat…). Re­mark­ably, Cameron’s script de­liv­ers not only the one-lin­ers we can re­cite along with an ex­tremely buff and ac­tu­ally rather hand­some Arnold Sch­warzeneg­ger, but se­ri­ous ideas around for­go­ing fame and cor­po­rate greed in or­der to save the world. Good­ness knows that par­tic­u­lar mes­sage is as timely as any.

T2 gets tricky with time travel, as John Con­nor, leader of the fu­ture’s re­sis­tance against a pop­u­lace of mur­der­ous ma­chines, sends a cy­borg back in time to pro­tect his mother and en­sure his own sur­vival.

While the first film riffs more on com­pli­cated (for me, at least) is­sues of rewriting his­tory/the fu­ture, Ter­mi­na­tor 2 earns its place as king of this fran­chise by over­turn­ing au­di­ence ex­pec­ta­tions of who the goody and baddy will be, po­si­tion­ing Sarah Con­nor as one of the first se­ri­ously kick-ass ac­tion hero­ines (along with Aliens‘ Ri­p­ley, also directed by Cameron) and in­tro­duc­ing an un­bro­ken-voiced Ed­ward Fur­long as the young Con­nor.

Best of all, though, is Robert Pa­trick’s turn as the su­pe­rior model ter­mi­na­tor whose abil­ity to morph into dif­fer­ent forms and in­abil­ity to be de­stroyed still comes off as ut­terly, ex­hil­a­rat­ingly bril­liant. Mod­ern CGI doesn’t hold a can­dle to Cameron’s 1991 spe­cial-ef­fects, and even when you know what’s com­ing, the ef­fect is very spe­cial in­deed.

You may have seen Ter­mi­na­tor 2 a mil­lion times, but this is a true clas­sic that never gets old. – Sarah Watt

Ter­mi­na­tor 2 has been re­mas­tered and re­leased in 3D.

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