Why Terminator 2 is the Most Badass Action Movie of All Time. Period. End of Story.

Posted on 21 May 2009 by Quaid

I know you were all expecting my review of Terminator Salvation today, but with all the (justified) bad press the movie is getting, I thought it wouldn’t be worth it to write a 2000 word review listing the film’s many, many faults.  Instead, let’s focus on something positive…something magical…something directed by James Cameron, and not McG….

Let me say one thing up front.  If you disagree with what I am about to say, you are wrong.  And you are weakening America.

terminator2posterI know those seem like harsh words, but sometimes the truth must be bold and forward and uncompromising.  Such is the case with Terminator 2: Judgement Day.

There are some who shout “but how can you know it’s the best?  Surely you have not seen every action movie ever put to celluloid.”  No, naysayers, I have not.  But after seeing James Cameron’s time-traveling sci-fi opus, I don’t need to.

I’ll assume that everyone reading this has seen the epic film.  If you haven’t, stop reading, track down a DVD, and watch it immediately.  If you don’t, you’re most likely a Communist.

When you do slide that little disc in your machine, you will immediately have your senses assaulted with badass action and future imagery.  You will find frightening, disturbing shots of nuclear destruction, a badass Linda Hamilton voice-over, and the most ear-shatteringly amazing main theme ever composed.

Listen to it with a monster subwoofer spiked to eleven.  That’s an order.

The greatness of Terminator 2 can be distilled into five parts.  1) James Cameron.  2) Arnold Schwarzenegger.  3) The T-1000. 4) Plot.  And 5) James Cameron.

terminator2still2Let’s start with Arnold.  One statement that seems clear to me is as follows: The greatest action film in history must contain Arnold Schwarzenegger in a main role.  Once we accept this simple truth a priori, our search for the most badass kill-fest narrows immensely.

Now I’ll take on parts one and five of my argument.  The greatest action film of all time must be directed by James Cameron.  I know there are those who will argue for the merits of John Woo or Brett Ratner (die, you miserable excuses for human beings), but when one watches Aliens and sees what this beautiful, beautiful man does with Ridley Scott’s slow, plodding (but admittedly brilliant) sci-fi premise, all nay sayers must cease saying nay…or find themselves crushed under the heel of my size thirteen Chuck Taylors.

Ironic, then, that this epic story is not the greatest action film of all time, but as it does not star Arnold Schwarzenegger, it’ll have to settle for the comfortable number two spot.

terminator2still1If I’ve done my math correctly, we have narrowed our search down to three films.  True Lies, Terminator, and Terminator 2: Judgement Day.  While I love Jamie Lee Curtis’s action/comedy extravaganza, it is immediately eliminated from competition…because its plot does not involve robots.  

That brings us to the great action film conundrum: is Terminator 2 better than Terminator 1?

If you answer “No,” you are simply, without doubt, wrong.  I mean, the first Terminator, while a fun-filled action film, only has ONE terminator.  Part two has TWO terminators.  And one of them is made of liquid metal!  

terminator2still3Plus the plot of part two is 1000 times more interesting than the first.  Terminator was basically just one big chase scene with a romance thrown in.  And action movies with Arnold immediately lose points for romance (we forgive it a bit in this case because Michael Biehn and Linda Hamilton’s bed shenanigans gave us Eddie Furlong).  The sequel got rid of the annoyingly whiny Sarah Connor and replaced her with an ass-kicking, amazingly hot woman in a wife-beater.  There is nothing hotter than women in wife-beaters kicking ass.

And the plot actually, you know…GOES SOMEWHERE!  Yes, there are chase scenes, but at a certain point the movie takes a turn, and we’re fighting a battle to stop the impending nuclear destruction of the human race using a big-ass vat of melted steel.

I could go on for days, but what would be the use.  I’ve proven my point.  

For the newest sequel to this franchise, we get McG in the director’s chair, which means, based on one of our inalienable premises, that this movie cannot be better than Terminator 2.  And it isn’t even close.  In fact, it isn’t even in the same stratosphere.  But it has huge machines battling humans, so you’d think it would be good, right?

Oh yeah.  Transformers.  Nevermind.

Yeah…I saw the movie last night and am debating putting up a review to counteract Shep’s praise.  I don’t want you guys to be disappointed…but you will be anyway.  Maybe I can sum up my opinion in one sentence.  

“McG…you and me are f***ing done, professionally.”                           

11 Comments For This Post

  1. Sean Torrance Says:

    I just have to say man, that I don’t just think this is the best action film ever, it is without doubt the single best movie ever made full stop period. !


  2. T2 FTW Says:

    *clap clap*
    No needs to make words dirty on TS *cough*. T12 owns. Period.

  3. Elwin Says:

    The action follows straight lines and makes the fantastic seem possible.
    The action is satisfying on a kickass level but also has a deeper meaning (like terminator trying to learn values of life)
    This is an action movie with heart and soul.
    The colour palette was revolutionary and it still looks GOOD today.
    Timeless classic movie!!

    Great article
    T2/Cameron fan

  4. tim Says:

    the best movie of all times, nothing even comes close. when I watch it I am like taken too a different surreal reality. no movie ever gave me this feeling.

  5. The Firestarter Says:

    Sir Quaid, it’s an honour to find someone who shares exactly the same feelings as I do. Great article. As Jim Carrey said, “I like it a lot”. Take it easy, mate. P.S. The first couple hundred times I watched T2, it was actually on video cassette, lol, I was lost when you said “slide that little disc” lol. Anyway, catchya. Sir Nathan.

  6. bilbo baggins Says:


  7. Saeed Says:

    I’ll say only one thing Thumbs up for T2, it is the best science fiction movie ever made and i like ie alot. Everything is amazing in this movie and there’s nothing wrong with anything as described by this guy here.

  8. One ring to rule them all Says:

    IMHO wait never mind its not opinion it is a proven fact that terminator 2 is and all ways will be the greatest film ever made I can still remember when i was younger watching it on the vcr and crying when arnie killed him self at the end good times back in the day :)

  9. Chuck Says:

    Wow, after reading these comments, I’ve learned that there are people out there that feel the same way as I do about this movie and see and feel the same things that I do! Amazing. Terminator 2 is the greatest movie ever. There’s just something about it. Every time I watch it, it takes me right back to when I first saw it. The same feelings, emotions, etc. all come right back. It’s not like that with other movies. I saw it after it was in theaters and it came on Pay-Per-View. I was 6 years old. My dad ordered it and it was the first R-rated movie he ever let me and my brother watch. It was a great moment in my history! And it stuck with me, even after all these years! I just cannot explain the feeling I get when I watch it. But after seeing these comments, it’s satisfying to know there are people out there that feel the same way as I do.

  10. T-800 Says:

    Hell yeah, T2 is the best movie of all time.
    Rating- 10,000/10

  11. Luke Says:

    I don’t know if T2 is “the greatest movie ever made,” like so many other people in the comments section have. I do have to firmly agree with the original author of this article. Terminator 2: Judgment Day is the greatest action film ever made and maybe will ever be made. In my book, beloved action movies like The Dark Knight or The Matrix don’t even come close. They were great movies in their own right. But, in my view, T2 will always be on another level. If T2 was never made, we wouldn’t have Jurassic Park, we wouldn’t have The Matrix and subsequently, we wouldn’t have all of these great comic book movies that we now take for granted. T2 ushered in the modern era of action films. Actually, in one way or another, almost every movie since 1991 owes a debt of gratitude to Terminator 2.

    It’s an A+ film. I only give special movies like Citizen Kane an A+.

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