Iconic Cars of Pop Culture: ‘Terminator 2’

Sam White
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The Dark Knight. Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back. The Godfather Part II. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Hollywood is full of amazing sequels, movies that are well and above their original counterparts in almost every way.

Terminator 2: Judgement Day is one such film. One of the best action romps of all time, it’s now over a quarter of a century old and still holds up just as well as it did back in 1991. That’s likely because almost half of its $100m budget was piled into creating and perfecting the special effects. Gruesome murders by machine men with knives for hands may look cool, but they cost a bomb.

At the forefront of the film’s best moments (of which there are dozens) is an intense and extended chase sequence through the runways and culverts of San Fernando Valley’s Bull Creek. The movie’s bad guy, the intimidating T1000, has come to the present from the future to eliminate John Connor. He’ll stop at nothing to catch and kill him. To prove it, he’s commandeered an enormous articulated truck. Played by the steely-eyed Robert Patrick, T1000 is relentlessly pursuing the will-be-hero boy, who’s attempting to get away on his nippy but perilously vulnerable dirt bike.

Arnold Schwarzenegger’s T800 Terminator is also in the chase, too, sat atop a hench Harley-Davidson motorcycle with a massive shotgun that he famously reloads with inimitable style. Spinning it round with one hand is, according to actual biological science, physically impossible for a normal human being like you and me. T2’s amazing effects and stunt team built a custom-made shotgun for Schwarzenegger and his stunt drivers to twirl around in this way, and it makes all the difference in emphasising his incredible cyborg strength.

It’s the vehicles that truly stand out throughout the chase, though. Each one represents its own character. John’s exposed vulnerability is compounded by the dirt bike, which also compounds the nippy and reckless nature of his youth. The T1000’s ferocity and pure brute force is delivered in the form of his ten-tonne truck, which smashes through countless oncoming cars and a bridge or two.

That's one way to beat L.A. traffic.

In the end it takes Arnie speeding through a minuscule gap between the huge truck and a concrete wall to get John off his sanchez and onto the Harley. That’s before he gives one more incredible spin of his shotgun to shoot out the tyre of the T1000’s truck. In spectacular fashion, the evil robot loses control of the makeshift battering ram and cascades into the solid central reservation, sparking an enormous explosion. John and the Terminator look on, waiting to see whether the blast has stopped the T1000 for good.

Of course, it doesn’t stop the T1000 for very long. Arnie will need more than a car crash to take down his greatest nemesis. The truck may be left in charred pieces, but it did give us one of the greatest chase sequences of all time, and a sequel that lives on in the halls of better-than-the-original-movie fame.

Want to race your own semi-truck? Beyond the 700-plus super cars, muscle cars and racing cars available in the upcoming Forza Motorsport 7, you can actually race trucks like the Mercedes-Benz Tankpool24 Racing Truck. Forza Motorsport 7 is available October 3 on Xbox One and Windows 10 PC.

Sam is a columnist for GQ and a writer elsewhere.
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