Sunday, August 20, 2017

#604: Terminator 2: Judgment Day

Directed by: JAMES CAMERON
1991, TSPDT Rank #648

It's rare that I see a film that I feel truly doesn't belong on a list of the 1,000 Greatest Films, and Terminator 2: Judgment Day is one of those films. It's not a bad film by any means - James Cameron is a consummate craftsman if nothing else - but its formulaic sense of humor and saccharine emotional core (a futuristic killing machine becomes a father figure to a troubled kid and learns what it means to be human as a result) do nothing to add to the interesting and terrifying concept that Cameron laid out in his original Terminator film. In fact, The Terminator is still the only Cameron film I've seen that has any sense of vitality or urgency - like Aliens, Terminator 2 is a sequel that successfully transforms its brilliantly tense and effective predecessor into a bloated, action-packed, and mind-numbing Hollywood product. It's been successful enough to earn a reputation as one of the best action films of all time, and even successful enough to earn a place on the 1,000 Greatest Films. But while this is a precisely-rendered film with cool and stylish visuals, beyond the spectacular, crowd-pleasing veneer, it's completely empty, devoid of any depth, resonance, or creative spark (except for the impressive special effects work). There's just not much to see here besides a finely-tuned action film, and its effectiveness in that arena has surely been dulled by the technological advances in the genre over the past 25 years. But as far as these types of soulless blockbusters go, Terminator 2 is probably still the gold standard.

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