Structure: Terminator 2

A structural overview of Terminator 2: Judgment Day (J. Cameron, 1991).

Terminator 2 offers amazing entertainment, with groundbreaking visual effects and unexpected character layers.

Just like he did five years earlier with Aliens, co-writer/director James Cameron delivered an exceptionally satisfying sequel.


Sequence A: Two Terminators

00.00 Girl on swings, idyllic ‘silence before the storm’
01.00 2029, war against the machines. Humans lose.
02.30 Narrator: 2 terminators, which one will arrive first?
05.30 First Terminator (T1) arrives, familiar face.
06.30 Enters bar, asks for clothes, boots, bike. -“Please!”
08.30 Fight, T1 takes what he needs, doesn’t shoot man.
09.00 Bar owner tries to stop him. T1 takes glasses & gun.
10.00 Terminator Two (T2) arrives, takes police car.
11.30 T2 searches for John Connor: juvenile delinquent.
12.00 John about foster mum: “She’s not my mother!”

Sequence B: Sarah Connor needs to get out

13.00 Sarah in asylum, forced to take pills.
16.00 Foster parents tell T2 about biker, give T2 photo.
17.00 John robs teller with friend, “Mum’s a total loser”.
18.00 Sarah has vision of Kyle: “Protect him, soldier!”
21.00 Sarah’s vision: Nuclear blast.
21.30 Review: Sarah now denies everything, to get out.
25.00 D.I. Dyson: parts of Terminator kept and studied.
26.30 Review verdict : 6 more months! Sarah explodes.

Sequence C: John in more trouble than ever

27.30 John in game gallery, T2 sees him.
28.30 Both Terminators are approaching John.
30.30 T1: “Get down!”, gunfight, T2 turns into liquid metal.
32.30 Terminators follow John, chase.
33.00 T2 takes truck.
34.00 Chase in aqueduct.
36.00 T1 picks up John, truck explodes.
37.00 John: “Time out!”-T1: “You sent me to protect you.”


Sequence D: John realises and takes control

39.00 T2 takes cop car.
39.30 T1 explains mission and advantages of T2.
40.00 Calling Janelle. T1: “Your foster parents are dead”.
42.00 T2 sees dogs tag, knows John is with T1.
43.00 Sarah interviewed, prepares escape.
44.00 John realises his mum was right about future.
45.30 John manipulates T1 to help and protect mum.
46.00 John tells T1 not to kill, tests on two punks.

Sequence E: Sarah finally getting out

47.30 Sarah tied to bed, has pin, nurse abuses her.
49.00 Sarah escapes, T2 arrives at asylum.
50.00 T2 kills guard, copies him (takes his form).
53.00 Sarah knocks nurse down and escapes.
53.30 T2 back to normal, looking for her.
54.00 John makes T1 swear not to kill anyone.
55.00 Sarah uses syringe as threat and escapes.
57.00 T2 hears alarm.
58.00 Sarah sees T1, freaks out. John: OK, here to help.
59.30 T1 shoots at T2, liquid sword duel in elevator.

61.00 Heroes escape in cop car, leave T2 behind.
63.30 Sarah: “John, that was stupid.” John hurt.

Sequence F: Regrouping for a new objective

65.30 Repairing T1.
66.00 T1 explains to John; life expectancy: 120ys.
67.00 John stops Sarah from killing T1.
70.00 T1 stands guard all night.
70.30 Heading South; John teaches T1 slang. “Smile!”

73.30 T1 tells about Dyson and Skynet, military comp.
75.00 Going after Dyson. “I have detailed files.”

Sequence G: Dyson must be stopped.

75.30 Dyson at home at work, on a roll.
78.00 Enrique: provides weapons and truck to heroes.
81.00 John & T1, Sarah watches.
87.00 Sarah has a vision of the blast.
89.00 Sarah rides off alone, to stop the future.

90.00 John realises Sarah’s plan: Let’s go!

Sequence H: Dyson becomes an ally

91.30 Sarah shoots at Dyson, misses.
94.30 Sarah spares Dyson.
95.00 John and T1 arrive.
96.00 T1 assists Dyson medically
97.00 T1 explains future, shows cyber-arm.
99.00 Dyson accepts to destroy everything.

99.30 All go to Cyberdyne.

Sequence I: Destruction of a fatal future

100.0 A black highway at night. Entering Cyberdyne.
102.0 Guard finds colleague tied up, for calls backup.
104.0 T2 arrives at Dysons’, hears police message.
104.3 Our heroes destroy files & items at Cyberdyne.
105.3 Police arrives Cyberdyne.
107.3 T1 shoots at police cars, without killing.
109.0 John & Dyson destroy chip.
110.3 Police shoot Dyson.
112.0 Police find Dyson w/ detonators: explosion.


Sequence J: Getting out

113.0 T2 arrives.

114.0 T1 immobilizes police.
115.3 T1 gets van, John & Sarah get in, T2 takes heli.
117.0 Chase, gun fight between heli and van.
119.3 Heli crashes, T2 takes truck with liquid nitrogen.
120.3 T2 in truck chases heroes in ute. Road duel.
123.3 Truck crash. T1 shoots frozen T2: “Hasta la vista!”
125.0 Steel ovens, heat melts T2 together again.

Sequence K: Final Confrontation

126.0 T2 chases heroes inside steel mill.
128.0 T1 leaves heroes to confront T2, gets stuck.
129.0 T2 goes for John and Sarah.
130.0 Sarah tells John to run. Sarah vs. T2.
131.3 T1 comes to help, finished off by T2.
134.0 T1 goes to alternate power.
134.3 John hears mother call for help, real one appears.
135.0 Mother pumps shotgun empty, T2 regenerates.
136.0 T1 appears with grenade.
136.3 T2 falls in hot liquid metal bath.
139.0 T1 asks to be terminated. John cries.
142.0 T2 terminated.
142.3 TITLES

1 thought on “Structure: Terminator 2”

  1. I would disagree a little bit. The first act ends in the aqueduct. The second act starts when John and the terminator are together, because it is a major change in the situation (John is not alone anymore). The midpoint was cut from he theatrical version, it’s the moment when Sarah wants to kill T2. The Dyson shooting scene is the climax of the second act, and the 2nd act ends when the heroes team up and decide to destroy the building now, not tomorrow. The major change in the direction of the sory is that the characters team up, they have made all the decisions, and now it is time to act. The next shot on the road is already beginning the third act which consists of 3 sequences: 1) in the building, 2) the chase on the road, 3) the steel plant.


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