FFPC2 - Terminator 2: Judgment Day

Intro by Adam Pranica

We often ask on this show what makes a war movie a war movie. Is it the depiction of battle? Well, we have seen plenty of films that don't depict battle, but it seems important. Is it the themes of death and camaraderie between combatants? Yeah, that seems right. Does the war have to have actually happened? Wouldn't that preclude some of our favorite entrants in the genre? A lot of questions without straight answers. And we come back to this question time a time again because each film provides a litany of exceptions to the rule of how we might go about classifying and categorizing the films that are the subject matter of the show.

With that in mind we turn to the inevitable robot wars of the future and their depiction in film. There are parts of these wars that are familiar: Troops engaging in ground combat while air support threatens, guys firing rockets out of the back of beat-up pickup trucks the crackle of machine gun fire, the desperate stands against overwhelming opposition, but there are other parts that confound our rules: Laser weapons that don't exist yet, infiltration units that believably impersonate humans despite being anything but. The use of time travel as a weapon of war sort of reminds me of our conversation about the Wright brothers being asked after developing the first working airplane: ”Can you carry bombs in that thing?”

In 1991 James Cameron returned to the universe he had created in an earlier work of comparatively schlocky horror: The Terminator. In this film Sarah Connor has successfully completed a transformation she started in the first installment. From innocent cocktail waitress to bad-ass future-fighting soldier mom. There is just one catch: She is incarcerated in a high-security mental institution where the criminal psychologists from the first film is attempting to disabuse her of the knowledge she has of the future. It is a postmodern Cassandra story.

Her son John, now at the target of the artificial intelligences of the future, is in a foster home. The robot sent back to finish the job is a major upgrade to the original, which is a problem because an OG model has been sent back by the future resistance as John and Sarah's last line of defense. It is a proxy war fought by the two superpowers of the post-apocalypse via two robots, a mom, and her pre-teen son in early 1990s suburban Los Angeles.

And the stakes are high if the Connors and their pet Schwarzenegger can stop the new Terminator they might be able to stave off nuclear Armageddon, an event vividly depicted in the film with a recurring dream that Sara Conner has. Do all of these ingredients add up to a war film? Well who gives a shit! This is the bonus feed and we get to fuck around on the margins here and like a well-prepared pork chop it tastes very good. Did you call moi a dipshit? Today on Friendly Fire it is Terminator 2: Judgment Day!

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