Set in 1995, the film finds Sarah Connor locked away in an insane asylum and her ten year old son John living with foster parents that he hates and they hate him. As with the first film a Terminator is sent back in time, however this time the Terminator is sent to protect John from a much more advanced killing machine. The plot is actually pretty simple when I put it like that, aside from a side-plot involving the company Cyberdyne which will one day become Skynet it’s a basic ‘Escape the bad guys’ plot. However it manages to feel a lot more intelligent and that’s impressive.
The performances are great all around, newcomer Edward Furlong did a good job with John Connor, he’s a little annoying at times but he does admirably when showing how he’s coming to terms with finally realising his mother was right all along and even shows signs of the great leader he’s going to become.
Arnie returns as the T-800 Terminator, only he’s a good guy this time. I’ll admit to liking Arnie more in the first film but he’s just as bad-ass here as he was last time and the scenes where he’s learning from John are quite nice. His match is met by the villain of the film, the T-1000, a liquid metal machine(?) that can imitate anything it touches and create knifes and stabbing weapons with it’s arms. The T-1000 is played by Robert Patrick who gives the killing machine a very sinister appearance, he’s mostly cold, detached like any good villain is but he shows little flairs of emotion, little things that make him seem more human and that made him truly terrifying.
The main star here is Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor, like I said for the first film Sarah use to be this timid, meek girl until she was broken down and built back up again in order to be this great fighter and this film shows the result of that. Sarah is as bad-ass as the best of them, unafraid to show her strength in order to get what she wants and packs quite a punch. However Sarah isn’t all there, she’s on the verge of insanity, driven mad with the knowledge of the future she dreams of nuclear destruction, of Kyle, she even almost kills an innocent man for crimes he’s yet to commit. Much like the first film she has a genuine arc, it’s less pronounced than before but her growing acceptance of Arnie’s Terminator as a friend and ally is a good one.
If you want any proof that James Cameron is the right man for the job look at Aliens, Piranha 2 and this. He’s the master at sequels, making them bigger and better than the first films and here he surpasses himself (the show-off). What Cameron does amazingly is that he manages to make the film keep a level of action that stays high through out the film, it jumps at certain points but not once does it falter or even get boring, for a film that’s two and a half hours long that’s goddamn impressive. The action scenes are some of the best around even after all this time, from the Mall fight leading to the often imitated three-way chase scene in the sewer and the hospital breakout to the entire last 50 minutes of this film. You want proof Cameron can do action, the entire last act of this film is essentially three action scene, the break-in and destruction of Cyberdine complete with police attack, the helicopter chase and finally the hunt through the steel mill but the way Cameron directs it they all flow seamlessly together creating one long action scene. It’s 50 minutes long, these days you’re lucky to get 15.
The SFX in this film are great as well, slightly dated but f*ckin incredible, major props to the work done on the T-1000, those liquid effects on his body and the way he manipulated himself and those around him were amazing. The nitrogen scene especially was just spectacular.
In fact the only thing I can think to criticize this movie for is that it has a very 90s feel that it can’t escape and even then that’s not that bad.
Overall, this film takes everything what made the first film great and improves on it in everyway, it’s one of the best action films around, it’s iconic and it’s brilliant. You probably seen it already so definitely check it out again. If you haven‘t seen it, what the f*ck man?