#12- Terminator II: Judgment Day (1991)

Click here for Commenting Rules and how GOI's final list came together

Who's List Was This On
- The 'Bright' One: #6
- Adam Kaplan: #13
- David "MVP" Eckstein: #14
- Cubsfan4ever1: #21

Directed By: James Cameron
Written By: James Cameron and William Wisher Jr.
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Edward Furlong, Linda Hamilton, and Robert Patrick

The Plot

In the future, when the machines revolt against mankind, John Connor leads the human resistance to fight back for humanity. After the machine's attempt to go back in time to kill John Connor's mother, Sarah, (Hamilton) before John is born fails, the machines try again in Terminator II. This time, they try to kill a young John Connor himself (Furlong). The machines send back the T-1000 (Patrick) to kill John Connor so the humans send back The Terminator (Schwarzenegger). Instead of The Terminator trying to kill a Connor, it is sent back to protect the Connor's against the T-1000.

Why This Movie Is Great

This movie is great because it is one of the best action movies ever made. Terminator II: Judgment Day sets the bar for action movies. This movie was made by guys for guys. There is no love story here. There is no B plot with some sappy romance to compliment the action. This movie is just straight action. Pure and simple. Everything guys want out of a movie, Terminator II: Judgment Day delivers.

Even though this movie was made in 1991, it still holds up. Even before Jurassic Park was released and before Cameron revolutionized special effects 18 years later in Avatar, Judgment Day's special effects are incredible. This movie could be released tomorrow and still its special effects would be praised, despite the amazing advances movie technology had accomplished in the two decades since the release of this film.

Ah-nuld was very smart when selecting his movie choices. He knew what his body type was and he knew that he was an action star through and through. But what made Schwarzenegger great was that he choose the right action movies. Movies like the first two Terminators, The Running Man, Commando, and Predator. Movies that seem to have transcended the action genre. Action movies are a dime a dozen. Hollywood believes that males (especially young males) are the target audience where they can get their money (as someone who was once a teenage male, I can attest to the accuracy of this belief. I saw every shitty movie under the sun just because it "looked cool". Because of this, action movies seemed to get churned out like a Willy Wonka factory producing chocolate. But Schwarzenegegr movies (especially throughout the first half of his career) are the ones that get remembered. Schwarzenegger was great in the Terminator movies as both the good guy and the bad guy.

Speaking of bad guys, what Cameron did with the T-1000 was just fantastic. Even though it looks like it is created from the goo from The Secret World of Alex Mack (kudos to you if you understood that reference), the design of the robot and its execution was brilliant. The T-1000 is not just any robot, it's a super robot. The T-1000 surpasses what the imagination could think of about androids. It's built to be better that any Terminator machine and that's how the movie plays off of it. Mere mortal bullets and everyday things barely scratch the T-1000. Plus, the helicopter scene with Patrick towards the end of the movie was just pure moviegoing entertainment.

Robert Patrick plays the T-1000 perfectly. It's not supposed to be the charismatic over-the-top, remember-able villain like Gary Oldman in Leon: The Professional, Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight, or Christoph Waltz in Inglorious Basterds. Patrick plays the villain so stoically- like it should be. It's a killing machine; it has one job and one job only- kill John Connor.

Cameron is also known for having movies with powerful lead woman (see: the first Terminator and Aliens). Traditionally, action movies are filled with male action stars, but Cameron helps to buck that trend. Not only did he make Ellen Ripley more of a bad ass in Aliens, but Sarah Connor in the first two Terminators is a certifiable BA. John Connor doesn't have a father to protect him- he has his mother. This was and is a pretty revolutionary trait all things considered.

Lastly, we get to Edward Furlong, who was 13 when this movie was filmed. He's almost like a modern day James Dean- he does a few great movies (American History X and Terminator II) and then is never seen again (Though Furlong is not dead- as much as it seems like is). He was great as a young actor in Cameron's classic and helped you sympathize with him and his plight. If you don't care about John Connor then this movie becomes meaningless.

All four main actors in Terminator II: Judgment Day along with the great vision of James Cameron helped make the movie the classic sci-fi action/adventure the standard for all other action movies. The plot is simple, it's one villain against three heroes. This simplicity (along with some stellar explosions, fights, and special effects) helps this sequel stand the test of time and make it earn a spot on Game Of Inches' 25 Greatest Movies Of The Past 25 Years.

FUN FACT: Right now, the #1 and #2 highest grossing movies of all time (Avatar and Titanic, respectively) are James Cameron movies. Those are also probably his worst two movies he's ever created. Some great classics Cameron made are: Terminator, Terminator II: Judgment Day, Aliens, True Lies, and The Abyss.