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Blu-ray Review: Terminator 2

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Time travel is such a tough subject for movies. No matter how much you think through it, there’s a problem somewhere you didn’t consider and the film instantly loses credibility. Terminator 2, even with some of the usual issues, remains strong with brilliantly designed action sequences and great continuity from the original film.

Even without some of the best action sequences ever put on film, T2 would still succeed. Characters are formed with great back stories, the performances are strong, and Robert Patrick steals the show as the cold killing machine. His casting, with a thin, almost frail frame against the hulking Schwarzenegger, was a fantastic move.

It's amazing to think someone could rebound their career after starring in King Kong Lives, but Linda Hamilton plays her over-stressed and paranoid role flawlessly. Arnold, now on the other side of the good versus evil fight, gives the film some needed comic relief.

The action scenes? Unbelievable. The canal run is one of the most memorable chase sequences in the history of film and the liquid nitrogen truck crash is spectacular to behold. The special effects set a new standard, holding up perfectly 17 years later. The morphing T-1000 is ingenious and numerous documentaries have detailed how this process was completed (including a few practical effects).

This Blu-ray does not feature the extended director's cut of T2 which added 16 minutes of character development-related sequences. The scenes served a purpose, but the original mix is a better choice. Regardless of how you watch it, you're getting one of the best sci-fi action films ever conceived.

After countless DVD releases (and re-releases), this should look perfect on Blu-ray. While not without problems, it’s an impressive piece of HD visuals, though not where most fans would expect it given the multiple re-masterings of the source after all these years.

The problems begin with the bleached out whites that cause both noise and washed out detail. This is especially evident during the canal run. Some blockiness is noticeable during scenes that require fine detail (hair is especially an issue). Thankfully, rich black levels lead to a fantastic finale inside the factory, giving the picture both color and detail depth. Multiple scenes earlier deliver on this same level, though they’re scattered throughout others filled with imperfections.

Thankfully, the audio still delivers. DTS-ES leads the charge with incredible bass from every explosion or gun fired. The consistently active surrounds deliver in immersing the viewer in the film. Skipping to any action scene makes for a demo worthy showcase of audio power from all directions.

It’s inevitable that T2 fans will be double-, triple-, or even quadruple-dipped on Blu-ray as they were on DVD. That’s probably why LionsGate has chosen not to include ANY of the featurettes or documentaries from the previous releases. Instead, a commentary from James Cameron and co-writer William Wisher along with a commentary comprised of archival interviews are the only extras. The commentaries are fine, but it’s inexcusable to not deliver any other form of bonus features.

Instead of using a special effect, Linda Hamilton’s twin sister was used in a brief shot towards the finale to act as a double. She appears in a second sequence cut from the theatrical release. It stands as her only film role to date.

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About Matt Paprocki

Matt Paprocki has critiqued home media and video games for 13 years and is the reviews editor for Pulp365.com. His current passion project is the technically minded DoBlu.com. You can read Matt's body of work via his personal WordPress blog, and follow him on Twitter @Matt_Paprocki.
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