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Terminator 2 Judgment Day (1991)
Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Robert Patrick
Director: James Cameron
Director of photography: Adam Greenberg
Composer: Brad Fiedel
Price: Rs. 299
T his has been a James Cameron week. There was “Terminator” on telly, there is “Avatar” playing to packed houses and here is “Terminator 2: Judgment Day”, that rare breed of successful sequel. When you think of the other sequel that was a spectacular success, “Aliens”, also directed by Cameron, then you begin to wonder whether the king of the world is sequel king as well.
All this is, however, pointless speculation. “Judgment Day” is easily one of the most satisfying action films in forever. “The Terminator” which came out in 1984, told the story of a relentless killing machine, a terminator (Schwarzenegger), who came from the future, 2029 to be precise, to 1984 Los Angeles to kill a woman named Sarah Connor.
In the future, the machines turn on the humans and set off a nuclear war. The humans who survive are hunted down and killed. The humans' fight back is led by John Connor, Sarah's son. So the machines send the terminator into the past to finish off Sarah.
The resistance send a warrior, Kyle Reese, to protect Sarah. The movie was an adrenalin-filled chase from start to finish with unforgettable set pieces and iconic lines—who can forget “I'll be back”? “The Terminator” also proved a break out movie for Schwarzenegger and Cameron.
“Judgment Day” picks up the action 10 years later. Sarah is in Pescadero State Hospital for the Criminally Insane and John is running wild much to the dismay of his foster parents. What starts off just another day rapidly unspools as a terminator arrives from the future to destroy John and another warrior is sent to protect him. What follows are absolutely breathtaking chases with action set pieces bigger and better than the first movie, with every possible automobile being blown with satisfying crashes and great balls of fire.
It is interesting that in the beginning we do not know who is the Terminator and who is the good guy. Schwarzenegger turns out to be the good terminator, T 800 while the feline Robert Patrick is the sophisticated killing machine, T 1000, an advanced terminator created out of a mimetic polyalloy. He takes the shape of everything he comes into contact from tiles to people and things. The shape shifting set the bar for a whole new generation of special effects.
The movie worked because it offered all that the previous movie did by way of big explosions, breathless chases, super cheesy lines and charismatic stars, and also something new in the form of the T 1000 and the bond between T 800 and John. Their exchanges as John teaches the Terminator to be cool (hasta la vista baby) and human, up the emotional quotient.
Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor is tough as nails and still given to making apocalyptic statements in voice over. Schwarzenegger radiates star power — he was quite the monarch of the action movie genre.
There is an illuminating making-of feature, where Cameron, the computer graphics people from Industrial Light and Magic and the special effects team speak of how the movie came together. Schwarzenegger comes across as a fun guy. As the makeup guys slaps on the terminator look, he comments how the camera is jealous of his good looks, which is why in every movie he has to wear make up to look like the others!
“Judgement Day” won Oscars for Sound Effects Editing (Gary Rydstrom, Gloria S. Borders), Visual Effects (Dennis Muren, Stan Winston, Gene Warren Jr., Robert Skotak) Makeup (Stan Winston, Jeff Dawn) and Sound (Tom Johnson, Gary Rydstrom, Gary Summers, Lee Orloff ) and was nominated for Cinematography (Adam Greenberg) and Editing (Conrad Buff IV, Mark Goldblatt, Richard A. Harris).
In the making-of feature, “Judgement Day” is called the conclusion of the saga. And it should have been — considering how soulless “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines” was and how pointless this year's “Terminator Salvation” was.