In 1991 the second installment of The Terminator franchise arrived, named Terminator 2: Judgement Day, which is now highly recognized as a cult classic. The film stars Arnold Schwarzenegger as the T-800, pitted against Robert Patrick’s new and improved T-1000, who manages to encapsulate the villainous role perfectly.
The plot line for The Terminator follows Schwarzenegger's portrayal of the original T-800 cyborg assassin who is sent back in time from 2029 to 1984 to kill Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton). Whose son will one day become a savior against machines (and become leader of the resistance) in a doomed post-apocalyptic future. In this modern cinematic period though, The Terminator is most certainly classed as an old film, as it first debuted 35 years ago in 1984. It was made on a strikingly low budget for a film of this nature ($6.4 million), but shot both director James Cameron, and at the time, a relatively unknown cast of actors and actresses to stardom.
And so, Terminator 2 picks up in 1991 with Robert Patrick's take on the antagonist cyborg character, focusing on his stealth like movement and cat-like features. Which was perfect for the role, with Patrick managing to keep face for the whole 2hr and 17min run time. His characterization was a perfect parallel for Schwarzenegger's terminator, as on physical appearance alone they are strikingly opposite, making the whole dynamic ever more entertaining.
As the battle sequences show, the T-1000 is faster, stronger, and definitely more technological advanced. Even though the character has an entirely emotionless face and no audible dialogue throughout the entire film. Patrick’s acting skills still provide enough scope for the audience to envelop into the villainous nature of this modern terminator. Relying even more so on the thrill of the murderous chase and cat and mouse plot line between the two powerful machines.
The style of the T-1000 makes it more than a match for Schwarzenegger's terminator, with its improved technological nature, and ability to shape shift (including both the voice and mannerisms of its victims). As well as the ability to mold into liquid metal and absorb bullets. However, the shape shifting skill is definitely the most callous trait of the T-1000, paired with the fact that it takes on the alias of officer Austin.
Posing as a police officer knowing that it is a symbol of authority that no-one would question, so it can infiltrate and interrogate the family of John Connor. Scarily pushing the boundaries of what we know to be ‘safe’ and ‘trustworthy’ based on the representations of a PC uniform. Carefully and concisely manipulating our innate human nature to trust the connotations we have built as a society around the police force.
The villainous nature of the T-1000 is unparalleled to any other characterization that I have seen, as the mission for the cyborg is to kill John Conner, who is only aged ten when this film was set. Which illustrates a complete lack of humanity or emotion, and an apparent non-existent ability to feel any remorse or understanding. Proving that it is simply a machine with a task, ready to manipulate any situation to its advantage, and disrupt everything in its path. As we've seen… poor Wolfie.
And so, the film has successfully created a fully functioning robot assassin blended with all the elements of the human anatomy. Ultimately creating the most despicable villain, that nobody saw coming.
(Well except Schwarzenegger, of course).