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TERMINATE? NEVER!

     

For Hicksflicks.com, Friday, Nov. 1, 2019

EDITOR’S NOTE: Just when you thought the ‘Terminator’ series was played out, here comes another one. Although there are now six films in the franchise (and a two-season TV series), the newest, ‘Terminator: Dark Fate,’ is said to be a direct sequel to the second film, ‘Terminator 2: Judgment Day.’ So, here’s my review of that film, published in the Deseret News on July 6, 1991.

James Cameron, whose vivid imagination, stylish directing talent and roller-coaster action mentality has already knocked our socks off cinematically with "The Terminator," "Aliens" and "The Abyss," does it again with "Terminator 2: Judgment Day," the sequel to his first film.

"The Terminator," fans will recall, was about a killer cyborg — a robot with a human shell (played by Arnold Schwarzenegger) — who came to present-day Los Angeles from the post-apocalyptic future. He was a killing machine with a single-minded task — to kill Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton), a seemingly harmless waitress.

Eventually we discovered that after a nuclear holocaust in 1997, computers and robots took over the Earth. But humans started to fight back, led by one John Connor — Sarah's future son. The Terminator's assignment was to kill her before she conceived and gave birth to John.

In "Terminator 2," no less than two Terminator robots come to modern-day Los Angeles from the future. The first, again played by Schwarzenegger, is the same model as the first film's cyborg. The second is an advanced model (Robert Patrick) made of a liquid metal that is apparently impervious to everything.

 

Linda Hamilton, left in 'Terminator 2: Judgment Day' (1991) and in the newly released 'Terminator: Dark Fate.'

But their tasks are completely different — one is assigned to kill Sarah's young son John (Edward Furlong) while the other is assigned to protect him.

Meanwhile, John is a troubled street kid living with foster parents in the suburbs while his mother is locked up in an asylum.

It isn't long before the two Terminators are tracking them both down amid all kinds of mayhem, from trucks driving into drainage ditches to helicopters swooping through tunnels to an ultimate Battle of the Terminators.

As with the first film, Cameron freely borrows (steals?) from numerous other sci-fi pictures, ranging from forgotten B-movies to recognized classics — most prominently "Westworld" and "Futureworld," the "Mad Max" movies and even Cameron's own "The Abyss."

But no matter. "Terminator 2" is such a wild ride you probably won't care.

While this sequel is not quite as violent as the first "Terminator" — and nowhere near last year's Schwarzenegger epic "Total Recall" — it still has enough R-rated material to make any parent leery about sending a child into the theater.

And there are two killings early on — one where someone gets a sharp knife through his mouth and another where someone gets it in the eyes — that seemed like the kind of gore that should remain relegated to slasher trash like the "Friday the 13th" pictures.

     

Robert Patrick, 'Terminator 2: Judgment Day' (1991)

But on the whole, "Terminator 2" has more than enough story, action, thrills and eye-popping special effects to satisfy even the most numbed moviegoers.

Schwarzenegger is very good in his role — the robot in these films remains his most convincing acting assignment. And Hamilton is excellent, a much tougher, more self-reliant character than in the first film — though her use of profanity occasionally goes way too far. (A friend commented to me that in her jungle fatigue wardrobe she could pass for a Soldier of Fortune fantasy — a most apt description.) And young Furlong is also very good, especially when he's called upon to provide humor in his repartee with the cyborg.

There's also some nice work from Joe Morton as a computer programmer who tries to help Schwarzenegger and friends alter the future, and though he's hardly his match physically, Patrick, as the second cyborg is chillingly effective — and it's an interesting idea to have him throwing Schwarzenegger around like he's so much luggage.

"Terminator 2" is the summer's hottest fantasy-adventure, and it should easily topple other candidates for the season's top box-office contender. It is rated R for considerable violence, profanity and some male nudity.