Termie’s back and this time he’s a caring cyborg, reprogrammed to protect young John Connor (Edward Furlong) whose mom, Sarah (Linda Hamilton), he tried to zap back in 1984. But, as is the fate of all high-tech killing machines, the monosyllabic big tin lunk has been superseded. And the new, improved, shape-shifting psychoborg T-1000 (Robert Patrick) also pops in from the future to whup everybody’s butt. Showing scant regard for the niceties of temporal paradox, the two killing machines slug it out on behalf of the Connors’ troublesome descendants and their enemies. As usual, Arnold Schwarzenegger wrings maximum humour from his minimal dialogue, while Robert Patrick makes a effectively menacing foe, having cut his teeth playing a wide variety of psychos and whackos in tacky video actioners before hitting the big time as Bruce Willis’s would-be nemesis in Die Hard 2.
The plot turns on the fortuitous availability of an inner city steelworks and a tanker full of liquid nitrogen for its ludicrous, if hugely entertaining climax. But the stunts, explosions and special effects are everything that $1 million per screen minute could buy at 1991 prices, with T-1000’s dripping, congealing and turning-inside-out act still looking great all these years on.