2020 Blind Spot Series: The Terminator (1984) & Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

Something I more or less enjoyed over the years is watching beloved movie franchises — from Rocky to Friday the 13th, I watched all the major ones. As I was writing down my Blind Spot picks for the year I noticed that one was still missing, the Terminator franchise. I decided to go with the first two films only as I was told they were the great ones, the only worth watching. And so did I. And what a dreadful experience it was.

The Terminator opens in a dystopian 2029 when Skynet, a computer system fighting humans, sends a Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger), a very human but indestructible cyborg killing machine, back to 1984 to kill Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton). Sarah's only hope is Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn), a soldier also from the future who has chased the Terminator back through time. The future of the human race depends on which one finds her first.

The story is one of the many issues I had with this first film. The story has a very interesting premise but unfortunately it doesn't really go anywhere interesting. There are many plot holes, some incredibly corny, cheesy and cheap moments, and overall the story didn't engage me; on the contrary, it bored me.

I didn't find the characters to be that compelling either. While she has some character development, Sarah Connor isn't particularly well-written nor interesting. She's kind of bland, to be honest. The same can be said for Kyle, a weak character with no sort of development; and his romance with Sarah is poorly executed. In other words, they are both characters heroes I cared very little about. The villain, on the other hand, the bloodthirsty killing machine, is slightly more compelling and interesting.

It must be the villain charm I've always loved because it sure isn't Arnold Schwarzenegger's performance to make the character more compelling than the other two. Sure, he fits the role of the heartless and expressionless cyborg very well, he has great presence and makes for a menacing and convincing villain, but bad doesn't even come close to describing the acting. It's not like Linda Hamilton or Michael Biehn give stellar performances though — they are just as bad. But I think that's a prerogative of 80s action movies, bad acting.

The special effects, although cheap and dated — let's not forget this is an 80s action flick —, are still cool-ish though. The action sequences, however, are kind of weird and awkward.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day is set 10 years after the events of The Terminator. Sarah Connor (Lind Hamilton) is now imprisoned in a mental institution and her son John (Edward Furlong) is in foster care. Skynet sends yet another Terminator, the T-1000 (Robert Patrick), back in time, only this time the machine has to kill John Connor. And once again the human resistance has managed to send someone to save John and his mother Sarah, the original Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger).

It is essentially the same plot the original film had. This time around, however, it is better paced and more interesting and compelling. But still not compelling enough to fully engage me from start to finish — I think I started to get bored after the hour mark.

The writing doesn't get much better character-wise either. While the character of Sarah Connor is more interesting, well-rounded and quite likeable, her son, the 10-year-old John, is beyond irritating, the new villain, although better looking — and I'm not only talking about special effects here — isn't as menacing as the original Terminator, and the original Terminator isn't believable as a good guy for the same reason I mentioned above, because Schwarzenegger was born to play bad guys. Also, the relationship between John and the Terminator is corny to say the least. The acting is just as cringy.

Despite the poor writing that binds the two films, Terminator 2: Judgment Day is slightly better than its predecessor. Not only the special effects have improved and the action sequences are better shot and more entertaining — although they are so fast-paced you can barely understand what's going on at times —, but the film is overall fun, especially when it comes to Schwarzenegger delivering funny one-liners in an actual funny way.


  1. I'm not too crazy about the Terminator films either but they're okay popcorn flicks. It's been years since I've seen either but I remember liking T2 so much more than T1.

    1. I'm glad to hear I'm not alone. I probably disliked them more but whatever haha.

  2. Sorry you didn't like them but at least you gave those 2 films a chance and you liked Arnold in those films. Just stop at this point as all of the follow-up films aren't good at all.

    1. Yeah, I'm not going to waste my precious time with the others.