In 1995, John Connor is living in Los Angeles with foster parents. His mother Sarah Connor had been preparing him throughout his childhood for his future role as the Human Resistance leader against Skynet – the artificial intelligence that will be given control of the United States’ nuclear missiles and initiate a nuclear holocaust called “Judgment Day” on August 29, 1997 – but was arrested and imprisoned at a mental hospital after attempting to bomb a computer factory. In 2029, Skynet sends a new Terminator, designated as T-1000, back in time to kill John. The T-1000 is an advanced prototype made out of mimetic poly-alloy (referred to as “liquid metal”) that gives it the ability to take on the shape and appearance of almost anything it touches, and to transform his arms into blades and other shapes at will. The T-1000 arrives under a freeway, kills a policeman and assumes his identity. Meanwhile, the future John Connor has sent back a reprogrammed T-800 (Model 101) Terminator to protect his young self.
The Terminator and the T-1000 converge on John in a shopping mall, and a chase ensues after which John and the Terminator escape together on a motorcycle. Fearing that the T-1000 will kill Sarah in order to get to him, John orders the Terminator to help free her, after discovering that the Terminator must follow his orders. They encounter Sarah as she is escaping from the hospital, although she is initially reluctant to trust the T-800. After the trio escapes from the T-1000 in a police car, the Terminator informs John and Sarah about Skynet’s history. In addition, it would create machines that will hunt and kill the remnants of humanity. Sarah learns that the man most directly responsible for Skynet’s creation is Miles Bennett Dyson, a Cyberdyne Systems engineer working on a revolutionary new neural net processor that will form the basis for Skynet.
Sarah gathers weapons from an old friend and plans to flee with John to Mexico, but after having a nightmare about Judgment Day, she instead sets out to kill Dyson in order to prevent Judgment Day from occurring. Finding him at his home, she wounds him but finds herself unable to kill him in front of his family. John and the Terminator arrive and inform Dyson of the future consequences of his work. They learn that much of his research has been reverse engineered from the damaged CPU and the right arm of the previous Terminator. Convincing him that these items and his designs must be destroyed, they break into the Cyberdyne building, retrieve the CPU and the arm, and set explosives to destroy Dyson’s lab. The police arrive and Dyson is fatally shot, but he rigs an improvised dead man’s switch that detonates the explosives when he dies. The T-1000 relentlessly pursues the surviving trio, eventually cornering them in a steel mill.
The T-1000 and the T-800 engage in physical combat and the more advanced model seriously damages and shuts down the T-800. However, unbeknownst to the T-1000, the T-800 brings itself back online using emergency power. The T-1000 nearly kills John and Sarah but the T-800 takes it by surprise and blasts it into a vat of molten steel with an M79 grenade launcher, destroying it. John tosses the arm and CPU of the original Terminator into the vat as well. As Sarah expresses relief that the ordeal is over, the Terminator explains that to ensure that it is not used for reverse engineering it must also be destroyed. It asks Sarah to assist in lowering it into the vat of molten steel, since it is unable to “self-terminate”. Although John begs the Terminator to reconsider, it bids them farewell and hugs a tearful John before it is lowered into the vat, giving a final thumbs-up as it disappears into the molten steel. John and Sarah drive down a highway and Sarah says in a voice over, “The unknown future rolls toward us. I face it for the first time with a sense of hope. Because if a machine, a Terminator, can learn the value of human life, maybe we can too.”
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (often shortened to Terminator 2 or T2) is a 1991 American science-fiction action film co-written, produced, and directed by James Cameron. The film stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Robert Patrick, and Edward Furlong as its principal cast. It is the sequel to the 1984 film The Terminator, as well as the second installment in the Terminator franchise. Terminator 2 follows Sarah Connor (Hamilton) and her ten-year-old son John (Furlong) as they are pursued by a new, more advanced Terminator: the liquid metal, shapeshifting T-1000 (Patrick), sent back in time to kill John Connor and prevent him from becoming the leader of the human resistance. A second, less advanced Terminator (Schwarzenegger) is also sent back in time to protect John.
Terminator 2: Judgement Day was released in the United States on July 3, 1991. Its visual effects saw breakthroughs in computer-generated imagery, including the first use of natural human motion for a computer-generated character and the first partially computer-generated main character. It was a critical and commercial success and influenced popular culture, especially the use of visual effects in films. It received several accolades, including Academy Awards for Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, Best Makeup, and Best Visual Effects. The highest-grossing film of 1991 and of Schwarzenegger’s career, Terminator 2 has since been named by several publications such as the American Film Institute as one of the greatest action films, science fiction films, and sequels of all time. The film was followed by another sequel in 2003 titled Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, and the upcoming sixth film in the series will serve as an alternate sequel to the film and reboot the series from Rise of the Machines onwards, slated for a release in 2019. In 2017, Terminator 2 was re-released in 3D 4K resolution for AMC and Cineplex theaters, debuting at number one in the United Kingdom on its release weekend.