Arguably the finest movie of its kind, Terminator 2: Judgment Day
captured Arnold Schwarzenegger at the very apex of his Hollywood celebrity and James Cameron at the peak of his perfectionist directorial powers. Nothing the star did subsequently measured up to his iconic performance here, spouting legendary catchphrases and wielding weaponry with unparalleled cool; and while the director had an even bigger hit with the bloated and sentimental Titanic
, few followers of his career would deny that Cameron's true forte has always been sci-fi action. With an incomparably bigger budget than its 1984 precursor, T2 essentially reworks the original scenario with envelope-stretching special effects and simply more, more, more of everything. Yet, for all its scale, T2 remains at heart a classic sci-fi tale: robots running amok, time travel paradoxes and dystopian future worlds are recurrent genre themes, which are here simply revitalised by Cameron's glorious celebration of the mechanistic. From the V-twin roar of a Harley Fat Boy to the metal-crunching steel mill finale, the director's fascination with machines is this movie's strongest motif: it's no coincidence that the character with whom the audience identifies most strongly is a robot. Now that impressive but unengaging CGI effects have come to over-dominate sci-fi movies (think of The Phantom Menace
), T2's pivotal blending of extraordinary live-action stuntwork and FX looks more and more like it will never be equalled. --Mark Walker
Writer-director Quentin Tarantino's feature debut, an examination of the aftermath of a jewellery robbery which has gone violently wrong, is widely regarded as a milestone of independent filmmaking. Tim Roth, Harvey Keitel and Steve Buscemi are amongst the stars making up the team of robbers who meet at a warehouse after the failed heist and attempt to work out who is to blame. The film includes the infamous ear-cutting scene and a classic 1970s soundtrack.