Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

Rating: ****
Producer: Gale Anne Hurd
Director: James Cameron
Music: Brad Fiedel
Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Robert Patrick, Eddie Furlong, Joe Morton

Another terminator (appropriately creepy Robert Patrick) is sent back in time to try to eliminate John Conner (Eddie Furlong) as a kid, since Skynet's attempt to kill Sarah Conner in the first film failed. Yeah, don't think about it too hard or it'll give you a headache. The entire film is a big budget, non-stop, effects laden action romp that really delivers the goods. Unfortunately, it suffers from a lame story and the ever-growing egos of Cameron and Schwarzenegger. The movie gets too soft in several places, throws in a heavy-handed "anti-war" message, and Schwarzenegger delivers his terminator persona with too much human quirkiness and charm. Nobody likes a funny terminator. It doesn't quite live up the original in its unflinching intensity, but apart from these quibbles it's still an awesome film and an amazing visual spectacle.

Notes on the special edition: The special edition of "T2" offers James Cameron's original version of the film featuring more insight into the characters and their motivations. Restored scenes include a dream sequence with Michael Biehn that serves as a critical plot device, the terminator brain surgery scene that allows the terminator to become a thinking machine, additional dialog, and several scenes that indicate that the T1000 (Robert Patrick) is malfunctioning (a confusing continuity problem with the original cut). The director's cut is a definite must-see for any fan of the material.