The 1991 sci-fi action movie Terminator 2: Judgment Day takes place in 1995 Los Angeles. The stars of this movie include Arnold Schwarzenegger as The Terminator, Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor, Robert Patrick as the T-1000, Edward Furlong as John Connor, and Earl Boen as Dr. Silberman. The story is written by James Cameron (The Terminator) and William Wisher (Exorcist: The Beginning). It is produced and directed by James Cameron.
The film opens nearly eleven years after the events of The Terminator. First, a visually identical Terminator to the one that almost killed Sarah is sent back in time to protect John Connor, the future leader of the human resistance. Then, a T-1000, a more advanced Terminator that can shape-shift, is sent back by Skynet to kill Connor. John Connor himself is only ten years old at that time. His mother, Sarah, is in a mental institution for attempting to blow up the computer factory and claiming that Terminators are real. While John is at the mall, he spots the T-1000, disguised as a police officer. Thinking that it’s just another cop trying to bust him, he flees into a back hallway where he encounters the other Terminator who is armed with a sawed-off shotgun. Now caught in between, John is told by the older Terminator to get down as he fires at the newer Terminator. As the Terminator and the T-1000 engage in physical combat, the young Connor escapes to the parking garage. After throwing the Terminator out a store window, the shape-shifter catches up to John as he tries to get away on a dirt bike. The Terminator gets up and follows John and the T-1000, who has stolen a truck to pursue Connor. As the bad Terminator is about to run over the boy, the good Terminator rescues him on his motorcycle and causes the other to crash. After they are a safe distance away, the Terminator explains to John what is going on. They decide that the T-1000 will go after Sarah next, hoping John will make contact with her. The two go to the mental hospital and get Sarah as she is attempting to escape. Sarah, thinking this Terminator is the one from the first film back to get her, runs away. The Terminator saves her from the hospital nurses and together they all escape as the shape-shifting terminator tries to stop them but is thrown off their vehicle. They decide to flee to Mexico and secure the help of an old friend of Sarah’s to get more weapons. After she has a dream about the nuclear holocaust, John’s mother decides to prevent judgment day by killing Skynet’s creator, Miles Dyson. So she heads off by herself back to the city, but when she encounters the man she is unable to bring herself to kill him. The Terminator and John arrive just in time. The cyborg tells Dyson the story of Skynet and all of them go to Cyperdyne Systems to destroy all of the information he had obtained from reverse-engineering the arm and microchip from the Terminator in 1984. Meanwhile, the T-1000 overhears the police radio and is able to locate John so he can kill him.
It is interesting how the film portrays life in a mental institution. In T2, we see that what happens inside the hospital confirms the many myths people have about mental hospitals which, of course, is not reality-based. We witness Sarah Connor in her cell being examined by some young doctors as if she were some sort of monster or other non-human being. Also, when Silberman is counselling her, the other nurses stay in the room to sedate her in the event of an emotional outburst. Finally, when it’s time to sleep, Sarah is strapped to the bed like a dangerous psychopath.
Another fascinating feature of the movie is the resounding success of it as compared to its predecessor, not that it itself was bust. Many viewers may notice that Terminator 2: Judgment Day has very similar events to the first movie and, because of this, could simply be classified as a reimaging rather than just a sequel. For example, towards the beginning of the film, the Terminator is thrown out of a store window, just like he had been forced out of the rock bar window in The Terminator. In addition, there is also an emotional outburst by Sarah Connor towards Dr. Silberman, very much like the one Kyle Reese had while being interrogated by the cops back in 1984. There is another scene where the Terminator and John Connor help Sarah escape the mental hospital as the T-1000 attempts to murder John. In the first film, the Terminator attacks the police station in hopes of finding and killing Sarah before Reese can rescue her.
To wrap, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, despite its obvious parallels to its predecessor, is a classic that set the bar extremely high for subsequent sci-fi films.