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Terminator 2: Judgment Day

Terminator 2: Judgement Day (Director's Cut)

Two things save this movie from mediocrity;

The return of Brad Fiedel's updated moody score, and James Cameron's devoted coverage of action scenes. The music keeps the same sense of despair and claustrophobic dread as the original, thus maintaining the Terminator trademark that adheres the importance of tone in the first act of the film, as well as intermittent sections of the length overall run time of this big 102$ million budget blockbuster extravaganza.

Director Cameron's coverage allows for a breathable edit pace, enabling a rhythmic and crowd pleasing sustenance that holds water throughout the run time. There is certainly plenty of room here to see what happens, with a perfectly timed cadence, where the final cut proceeds to stick to a dramatic beat that evades patchwork and projects a cocksure riff fest, filled with nuances that will titillate the discerning film buff.

Also saving T2 are some of the thematic elements in the script such as humanistic qualities within the Terminator's soul chip reset and militant bonding, with a brief example on display in the form of a hand slap pump between Hamilton and her supposed longtime Mexican desert refugee supply connection (refer to Aliens for a similar style of "we're in this together" mentality). Cameron keeps some strong emotional beats in T2 which definitely help the overall digestion, if not completely deter some of the more convenient plotting that render this sequel into a hard R rated Disney foray. ("God, it hurts" - refer to the A-Team. Nice programming, kid. "He'll live")

The visual effects in T2 are somewhat flawless, if you do not account for the hair pin improvements in visual rendering since. The sound design is deliberate, sectioning off transitions to blend with real dramatic flair, as well as feathered necessity.

The liquid metal villain does exactly what it was intended, and one may get a sense of the absolute tedium that the effect crew and Cameron must have gone through to ensure that every effect shot was not only adequate, but would transcend the passage of time to be equipped to stand up in an age far removed from the 20th century.

The inventiveness continues along at top speed as Cameron and his tech crew create ever changing scenarios in which we see the evil Terminator transpose in a chameleon-like way, reacting to taking on tones and shapes of safety rails and diamond plate staging. As unfounded as these technical revolutions may be, they are nonetheless fascinating in a visceral sense, and propel the viewer through the obligatory action-filler scenes with enough zeal to guarantee a ride that is not boring.

Terminator part II does not take itself too seriously with it's dialog and some of the elements of story, but when it is locked into its mechanized overtures, stand back. It is an amazing, technically sound film with nary a flaw save for maybe a sped up nitrogen tanker 18 wheeler and a dummy tumble shot in high speed. But who cares? Where details matter, T2 keeps the mucky tone of the original Terminator, and injection molds some fresh, new and fiscally beneficial energy into a franchise that could have afforded to end right here, at Terminator 2: Judgment Day. And as hammy and overblown as it may come off at times, it's a film better appreciated on a 2nd or 3rd viewing, as the first time may be too intense to soak everything in.