In what is routinely considered to be, by leaps and bounds, the best movie in the Terminator franchise, and one of the best sequels ever made, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Terminator 2: Judgement Day is now available on the Netflix streaming platform.
When James Cameron brought to life, in 1984, the thoroughly lethal and virtually unstoppable T-800 Model 101 Terminator, there weren’t high hopes for a massively successful movie, much less the breeding ground for a franchise. Arnold Schwarzenegger himself at the time called the original film “…some shit movie I’m doing,” and it wasn’t until he saw the first 20 minutes of the completed film that he realized they may be on to something.
The Terminator was made for a paltry (even at that time) $6.5 million, bringing home over $78 million and in the process born something more formidable than the Terminator himself – a franchise.
It took James Cameron and Arnold Schwarzenegger another seven years before Terminator 2: Judgement Day would see the big screen but by that time, special effects had graduated in leaps and bounds, allowing Cameron his vision.
This time, Arnold was back but not as the lethal assassin hunting down Linda Hamilton’s Sarah Connor. No, this time Arnold was sent back from the future to protect her son, John, from the even more lethal T-1000, played here by Robert Patrick with deadly glee.
John, played by Edward Furlong, is living with foster parents while his mother Sarah (Hamilton) rots away in a mental institution after being arrested for trying to bomb a computer factory. For years before her arrest, Sarah has been preparing her son to become the leader of the resistance against Skynet, the A.I. that is given control of United States‘ nuclear missiles and thusly causes the nuclear holocaust known as Judgement Day.
Knowing John is the resistance leader, Skynet sends a new, even more, deadly Terminator back to kill John. The T-1000 has the ability to take on the shape and appearance of just about anything it touches. It can transform its arms into blades at will, as well as any other lethal shape. Upon its arrival, it immediately kills a cop, accessing the cop car’s computer to track down John Connor.
Meanwhile, the future John Connor has a plan to save his own life. He sends back a reprogrammed T-800 Terminator to protect himself. The problem is, for his younger self and eventually his mother, the reprogrammed T-800 is the exact same cyborg who tried to kill her in the first movie. They think he is back trying to finish what he couldn’t.
It takes some convincing here. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s T2 gets much more dialogue in this one than he did in the first and he is finally able to convince Sarah and her son he is there to help, not to kill. Through all the chasing and escaping the T-1000, Sarah realizes just who is responsible for the Skynet creation and they set out to find Mils Dyson (Joe Morton).
Of course, the T-1000 is never far behind and while Sarah and John tend to Skynet business, the ultimate showdown between the superior T-1000 and Arnie’s T-800 ensues.
Arnold Schwarzenegger reportedly took home $15 million to reprise his role as the T-800 cyborg. His fee was well spent as Cameron, who co-wrote the film along with William Wisher, was given a budget that neared $100 million to direct the sequel, rewarding Tri-Star Pictures with a $521 million box office hit.
Terminator 2: Judgement Day is 30 years old and has not lost one ounce of its thrilling power. The movie stands head and shoulders above the rest in the franchise that has seen a total of six films (to include the first two), a television series (The Sarah Connor Chronicles), and a couple of web series. The film is often on par with films like The Godfather: Part II when mentioned as the best sequel ever made.
For Arnie, he is the franchise. After the first three films, Schwarzenegger skipped the fourth in the series (Terminator Salvation) though his likeness was computer-generated for the film. He did return for the fifth (Terminator Genisys) and the sixth (Terminator: Dark Fate) which also saw Linda Hamilton finally reprise her role as Sarah Connor.
To date, the Terminator franchise has brought home nearly $2.1 billion in box office gold. It is one of the most successful franchises of all time, though none of the five movies have topped Terminator 2: Judgement Day at the box office.
As for Arnold Schwarzenegger, his feature film status is legendary. The list is long and noteworthy, so we won’t bore you with it other than name a few titles – Conan the Destroyer, Predator, Twins, Kindergarten Cop, Last Action Hero, True Lies, and The Expendables.
Next up, Arnie is going back to the past for two films, one being The Legend of Conan and the other, a sequel to his hit film Twins, where he stars once again with Danny DeVito as brothers Julius and Vincent, who come to find out they have a third, Eddie Murphy, in Triplets.
For now, do yourself a favor and go check out one of the greatest sequels ever made. Terminator 2: Judgement Day can be seen on Netflix.