It’s rare to find a sci-fi franchise that closes the door behind itself, but “Terminator 2: Judgement Day” did just that. Nobody even contemplated producing another Terminator movie because it was so excellent. “There’s no need to get greedy,” Hollywood seemed to declare as a group, flinging its hands back as if to protest, “I couldn’t possibly take another mouthful of this delectable, wealthy, internationally renowned intellectual property.”
Future messiah John Connor (Edward Furlong) has grown from a foetus to a nine, ten, or thirteen-year-old in the years between “The Terminator” and “T2,” depending on which bend in the series’ maze of continuity you like. Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton), his mother, has started doing a lot of pull-ups and bombing IT businesses. Half of these interests are frowned upon by the legal system, which gently begs that she remain institutionalized due to her outlandish idea that artificial intelligence would blow up the earth in the distant future of 1997.
TERMINATOR 2 Clip
All that’s needed for the movie now is to dump a nude Austrian into a truck stop parking lot. It delivers.
There are no shorts in Terminator 2, only Schwarz.
The time travel hijinks that the “Terminator” flicks can’t get enough of are back. Robert Patrick’s T-1000, a highly advanced nanorobotic cluster of death and shape-shifters, sits in one corner. Skynet, the artificial intelligence that Sarah Connor can’t get enough of, has sent the T-1000 back in time to kill John Connor before he can become the military leader that the future anti-robot resistance admires. If you’ve ever seen a football team surrender and run nothing but Hail Mary passes for the whole fourth quarter of a game, you’ll realize how aggravating it is for Skynet fans to see this play used again.
A T-800 — a less advanced, more meat-and-potatoes Terminator seized and reprogrammed by John’s resistance in the future — sits in the other corner. In a cybernetic, hyperviolent, time travel-based reworking of “There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly,” the T-800 is sent back in time to protect young John from the T-1000.
Despite Sarah’s dislike for John’s new social circle, young John and his new pet murderbot forge an unexpected relationship and yoink Sarah out of government custody. After some back and forth, the trio sets off with two objectives: avoid being killed by the shape-shifting robot and assassinate Miles Dyson, the man whose discoveries directly led to the birth of Terminators, theoretically putting the apocalypse on hold for the time being.
There would be days like this, the motherboard predicted.
After a great deal of persuasion, John, Sarah, and the T-800 persuade Dyson to destroy his research, and the inventor dies in a heroic blaze of glory, detonating any Terminator-related technology in the process.
The T-1000, on the other hand, follows the group to a steel mill and begins one of the most dramatic climactic fight sequences in modern film history. They eliminate the opportunity for grabby scientists to get their hands on futuristic robot technology and spark armageddon with the combined forces of friendship, grenade launchers, and 2750-degree molten metal.
But wait, there’s one more machine: the T-800, John’s new best buddy and Sarah’s gateway to a more tolerant way of life. Recognizing that the future is in jeopardy as long as the technology in his head exists, the T-800 plunges into the liquid metal, delivering the Thumbs Up That Made a Thousand Grown Men Cry on his journey to entropy. Sarah and John drive out into the future, Sarah expressing a fresh excitement for the future. What’s next?
That’s the issue. We’re not sure. After this, the idea of making another Terminator film never crossed anyone’s mind.
Terminator 2 will never finish.
Okay, that’s fine: In theory, “Terminator 2: Judgement Day” is the final chapter in the Connor/Skynet saga. If you haven’t already, get the extended edition; it’s not only a better movie than the theatrical cut, but it also has an alternate conclusion in which Ol’ Lady Sarah Connor watches Adult Fella John Connor play with his child on a playground in a far less burnt future. It’s peaceful, therapeutic, and perfectly fine.
However, what is satisfying to moviegoers is nails on a chalkboard to studio executives, and new Terminator timelines began sprouting like weeds around the turn of the century in a desperate bid to resurrect the franchise. In 2003’s “Terminator 3,” Sarah Connor died not long after “T2,” and Judgement Day came a little later than predicted. Sarah and John were Robo-pursued chrono-fugitives from 1997 to 2007 in FOX’s “The Sarah Connor Chronicles.”