The only real debate when it comes to determining the best entry in the Terminator franchise is if you prefer the first or second one, because the subsequent four installments can’t hold a candle to James Cameron’s pair of sci-fi classics.
Rise of the Machines remains perhaps the single most overlooked and underrated, boasting several standout action scenes and a hell of an ending, but the rest of them lived to disappoint. Salvation was an intriguing concept that found itself mishandled, Genisys wasn’t great to put it lightly, and Dark Fate was functional if far from spectacular, a huge missed opportunity given the respective returns of Cameron and Linda Hamilton.
This coming Saturday marks the 30th anniversary of Terminator 2: Judgement Day hitting the big screen, and it’s hard to overstate the seismic impact it had on Hollywood. The industry’s first $100 million feature ushered in the CGI revolution, as Cameron continued what would be a career-long crusade to push the envelope in terms of both budget and visual effects, and it’s arguably the finest effort in both Cameron and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s filmographies, which is no mean feat looking at their back catalogues.
Refitting the low budget thrills of the original as the basis for an epic blockbuster that cost fifteen times as much to make, Terminator 2 is a masterclass in pacing, precision and the staging of practical set pieces, all lashed with cutting edge computer technology. It’s one of those movies you can watch a million times and never get bored of, so it can’t be discounted that Schwarzenegger’s first reprisal of his career-defining role could well end up cracking the Netflix Top 10 most-watched list now that it’s available to stream.