Why Terminator 2 (1991) is peak Arnold Schwarzenegger!

When I think of action movies there is one man that towers above the rest; Arnold Schwarzenegger. The crowning achievement of his entire badass film career, in my humble (and extremely biased) opinion, is one of the best movies (and sequels) of all time; Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Few things give me greater joy than watching my favorite movie of all time. So what better topic for my inaugural UAMC article! I present to you The 7 Ultimate Action Movie Moments from Terminator 2: Judgment Day.

7. “I need your clothes, your boots, and your motorcycle.”

Every great action movie must introduce the star of the film dispatching a group of bad guys in very badass ways (usually in a gas station, supermarket, or bar), and T2 is no exception. What makes the Terminator franchise unique is that Arnold does it naked. This whole scene could have been avoided if John would have reprogrammed this T-800 with some manners before sending it back in time. I’m glad he didn’t. Just when you thought his level of badassedness couldn’t get any higher, he gets his clothes…

Cue the music.

6. “Come with me if you want to live.”

By this point we already know that Arnold is the good guy. Unfortunately, Sarah didn’t get that memo. It’s not her fault, though, because he walks out of the elevator looking even more badass than he did back at the West Highland Police Station in 1984 (and he’s only carrying one weapon this time!).

Thankfully, it takes ONLY 3 guards and a cop to finally slow Sarah down (I guess all those pull-ups paid off). With Arnold’s methodical dispatching of her subduers (non-lethally of course), the T-1000 finally catches up to them. This is when the badass visual effects really start to shine. If you weren’t afraid of the T-1000 after this scene, then you must have been reprogrammed by Skynet.

5. “Hasta la vista, baby.”

As many one-liners as Arnold has in his repertoire, this has to be in the top 3. It’s short, sweet, and very effective. When he first learns and repeats the phrase, its borderline comical. A cyborg speaking Spanish and using the word “baby” when not referring to Paco Salceda (I’ll wait while you look him up); give me a break.

However, when he prefaces his one-sided standoff against the T-1000 with those famous words, it’s nothing but badass. Add in more awesome visual effects when the T-1000 freezes, shatters into hundreds of pieces, and subsequently melts/reforms, and you have one scene filled to the brim with badassery. Did I mention Arnold only fires one bullet?

4. “Stay here. I’ll be back.”

I’ve never felt safer in the comfort of my own living room than when I first heard Arnold deliver his signature catchphrase in Terminator 2. Surrounded by cops with no way out, he disappears into the gas only to re-emerge on the other side into a barrage of bullets. Once again showing off his excellent kneecap marksmanship and affinity for grenade launchers, he downs everyone in the room. In the most badass, smoke-filled exit in cinematic history, he wipes out the remaining cops with his newly acquired MGL, steals a SWAT van, and drives through what’s left of Cyberdyne to pick up his posse; a man (er…machine) of his word.

3. “Get down.”

For anyone coming into the sequel having already seen the original Terminator film (assuming they missed the spoiler-filled trailer of the T2…), finding out Arnold was the good guy was a huge shock. The suspense of this unstoppable cyborg meeting a new, unknown threat for the first time was through the roof (especially since the T-1000 took on the role of a police officer).

Up to this point in the film, neither character’s intentions were clear. All anyone knew was that John Connor was the focus. Put him in the middle of a short hallway between two armed, time travelling adversaries (and a nerdy maintenance worker on his break) and see what happens.

What ensues is a hail of gunfire with not a single bullet missing its target. Arnold is revealed as the good guy; the “cop” as the bad guy. An innocent bystander is killed. John (and the future of mankind itself) is in imminent danger. And all I want is a Pepsi… Bullseye, Pepsi’s marketing department.

2. Canal Chase

This is technically a continuation of the mall chase. However, it deserves its own spot on the list. Why the T-1000 chose a wrecker as his pursuit vehicle I will never understand (he could’ve caught John faster on foot). That being said, I imagine John wouldn’t have been as terrified seeing a Buick LeSabre jumping down into the canal.

Arnold is quick to follow on his recently acquired Fatboy, performing badass one-handed cycling maneuvers with his 1887 Mare’s Leg. How he was able to find John so quickly after spending much of the first act looking for John unsuccessfully is beyond me. Let that not detract you from the badassery of Peter Kent (I mean Arnold) jumping his bike down into the canal sans safety cables. Throw in some blaring continuity errors, more stunt doubles, an obvious dummy, a huge explosion, and a taste of the aforementioned awesome visual effects, and you’ve got one of the best chase scenes in cinematic history.

Food for thought: If Arnold knew which direction John went, why wouldn’t he just take the same route?

Answer: Because Arnold’s route was badass. That’s why.

Honorable Mentions:

  • “Get Out” – Helicopter / Tank Chase
  • “I don’t know…how much longer I can…hold this.” – Dyson runs out of breath
  • “Get out of the way, John.” – T-1000 Terminated
  • “Your foster parents are dead.” – Todd is thirsty

1. “Trust me.”

Arnold + “Old Painless” + “Thumper” x (1 Window – 1 Desk – 3 Trees – 10 Cars) ÷ 0.0 Casualties = The Ultimate Badass; State of the Badass Art!

Your move, Mac.

This badass article was written by Derek Kennamer – a cinematic fanatic and the coolest rockstar in his own fantasy world whose favorite superpower is quoting movies in everyday life.

Let us know what you think in the comments!


  1. I added all the clips to Watch Later even though I’ve seen that movie at least a half dozen times and I’m sorry to learn what Paco’s ultimate fate was. Sad.

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