Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

Film and Plot Synopsis

In this sequel to the cult classic, The Terminator, two warriors are once again sent from the future with opposing missions: one to destroy, one to protect. Nearly eleven years have passed since the events of the first film. John Connor is a young boy who has been separated from his mother, Sarah Connor, due to her obsessive belief that a future war against the machines is coming on August 29, 1997, Judgment Day. However, when a new Terminator arrives with a mission to kill the future leader of the human resistance, John must reunite with his estranged mother and their unlikely protector to not only save John, but to fight to prevent Judgment Day from even happening.

‘Terminator 2: Judgment Day’ Movie Summary

The summary below contains spoilers.
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)In 1995 Los Angeles, a Model 101 Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) emerges naked from a time portal from the year 2029. The 101 immediately goes to a nearby biker bar where he confronts several tough looking characters and takes their clothes, their weapons, a motorcycle, and a pair of sunglasses. Elsewhere in Los Angeles, another man (Robert Patrick) also emerges from a time portal. He attacks an investigating uniformed police officer and appears to take his uniform, his weapon, and his patrol car. The mysteriously silent man uses the patrol car’s onboard computer to look up John Connor (Edward Furlong) and finds his address with his foster parents (Jenette Goldstein and Xander Berkeley).

Next, we see John Connor living his life with his foster parents. His mother, Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton), has been imprisoned in a mental health facility after she tried to blow up a technology company. Sarah raised John to believe that he would lead the future resistance against the war of the machines. However, John now believes his mother is crazy, filled with delusions of Terminators. Meanwhile, at the mental hospital, Sarah tries to convince Dr. Silberman (Earl Boen) to alter her commitment to a lower security hospital so that she can see John. However, Dr. Silberman is not fooled by Sarah’s ruse and knows that she fully believes that Judgment Day, the day the machines begin the war against humans, will still occur on August 29, 1997.

The mysterious man contacts John’s foster parents and eventually tracks down John at the nearby arcade in the mall. The 101 also tracks John to the mall. John sees the mysterious man in the police uniform looking for him and tries to escape through the hallways behind the stores. John encounters the 101 who pulls out a shotgun, and John proceeds to run away from him and back towards the mysterious man. The mysterious man pulls out his weapon and aims it at John. The 101 tells John to get down and fires his shotgun at the mysterious man.

The mysterious man and the 101 begin to fight each other, with the mysterious man holding his own against the large Terminator. John uses the opportunity to try to get away on his motorbike. He is pursued by the mysterious man in a semi-truck, and eventually by the 101 on his motorcycle. The mysterious man tries to run down John in the drainage areas of Los Angeles. The 101 saves John and blows up the semi-truck, presumedly killing the mysterious man. However, almost immediately after the 101 and John depart, a liquid metal figure emerges from the burning wreck of the semi.

The 101 and John drive around Los Angeles. The 101 explains that the mysterious man is a T-1000, an advanced prototype Terminator made of liquid metal sent back to kill John. The T-1000 can take the form of anything that it samples as long as it is of comparable size. The 101 informs John that he has been sent back to protect John by his future self and must follow John’s commands. John orders the 101 to help him save his mother at the mental hospital since the 101 predicts that will be the T-1000’s next likely target.

At the mental hospital, Sarah is already in the process of freeing herself as she attempts to escape via force. She encounters the 101 and John arriving to save her and runs from them in a panic. John explains that the 101 is there to help and the trio escape the hospital in a police car pursued by the T-1000. They escape the advanced Terminator and begin heading south towards Mexico. During the trip, the 101 informs John and Sarah about Skynet’s history including the man most directly responsible for Skynet’s creation, Miles Bennett Dyson (Joe Morton). Dyson has spent the last decade studying the remains of the previous Terminator that Sarah crushed in the machine press during the first film. Dyson’s research has led to the plans for a new microprocessor that will form the basis for Skynet in the future.

In the desert, Sarah gathers weapons from her friend Enrique (Cástulo Guerra) and plans to flee to Mexico with John. However, she has a nightmare about Judgment Day and decides to conduct a solo mission to kill Dyson and prevent the future from happening. She leaves John and the 101 behind. John is disturbed that his mother has evolved to become the thing she fears most, the Terminator. They follow her back to Los Angeles to stop her.

In Los Angeles, Sarah shoots Dyson at his home with his family but finds herself unable to kill him, reclaiming her humanity at the last moment. John and 101 arrive and explain to Dyson the part that he will play in the future. Dyson is convinced by the 101 himself and agrees to help the trio fight the future. Dyson, Sarah, John, and the 101 proceed to the Cyberdyne research building to destroy Dyson’s research, the previous 101’s arm and damaged microchip. They set explosives to destroy the lab. However, the police are alerted and surround the building. The police inadvertently fatally wound Dyson, who sacrifices himself to allow Sarah, John, and the 101 to escape. The T-1000 arrives at the scene just as Dyson detonates the explosives.

Sarah, John, and the 101 flee the scene in a police van. They are pursued by the T-1000 in a police helicopter. Eventually, the T-1000 corners the trip in a steel mill. The T-1000 and the 101 engage in a fight, but the more advanced model seriously damages and shuts down the 101. The T-1000 searches the mill for Sarah and John. The T-1000 finds Sarah and impales her shoulder with one of his blades and demands that she call for John. The 101 brings itself back online using an alternate power source and saves Sarah from being killed. Once again, the T-1000 defeats the older model. Hiding in the mill, John emerges when he hears his mother calling for help. He finds her but is shocked when he sees another image of his mother directly behind her.

Sarah blasts the machine that was impersonating her several times with a shotgun and the 101 blasts hit with an explosive grenade, knocking the machine into the molten metal. The T-1000 is destroyed. As John and Sarah express their relief that it is over, the 101 states that it is not over until he is destroyed as well. The 101 has Sarah lower him into the molten metal as well, despite John’s commands for the 101 not to destroy himself. With the 101 destroyed, Sarah and John now have an uncertain future with Judgment Day seemingly averted.

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TriStar Pictures released Terminator 2: Judgment Day on July 3, 1991. James Cameron directed the film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, and Edward Furlong.

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