It was the summer of ’91. Anyone familiar with The Terminator knew Arnold Schwarzenegger was the murderous cyborg, sent from the future to kill Sarah Connor, the not-yet mother of the yet-to-be-born John Connor, who would one day grow up to lead the resistance (got that?). Terminator 2: Judgement Day arrived in theatres that July with the promise of better effects, a new Terminator, and much more Arnie. And the return of Sarah Connor.
This week, T2 fans got some good news in the form of an announcement from director James Cameron. Not only is Arnold resuming his role in Terminator 6, more than 25 years later, the original (the only, in our opinions) Sarah Connor is returning: Linda Hamilton.
If you don’t know why this is a big deal, well, we probably can’t be friends.
In her ’91 reinvention of the role, Linda Hamilton was a… a revelation, an inspiration for so many women at the time. There hadn’t been anything like her. Her first appearance in the film–sweaty, disheveled, powerful, doing pull ups in the bowels of the mental institution she had been confined to—elicited gasps. Gone was the soft and frilly damsel in distress from the first film, and in her place, a true feminist icon.
That first scene is burned into our brains. So memorable. So amazing. Everything about that shot was perfect. Everything about the ass-kicking, single mom, hero, savior of the world was everything we wanted it to be. This was no damsel, this was a flawed but ferocious woman with a mission.
And now, they’re coming back, SHE’S coming back.
“As meaningful as she was to gender and action stars everywhere back then, it’s going to make a huge statement to have that seasoned warrior that she’s become return,” Cameron stated at a recent event celebrating the franchise. “There are 50-year-old, 60-year-old guys out there killing bad guys, but there isn’t an example of that for women.”
Sure, Wonder Woman kicked some serious ass this last year, but that entire movie is all but eclipsed by that one scene. Yeah, we’re going there.
That’s not to say that Hamilton’s Sarah Connor was the only great thing to come out of T2. It was an all around fantastic film, and anyone who says otherwise, we said it already, you’re off our friends list.
Come on. Look at this good stuff.
Arnold, armed with one liners, becoming the father John needed
“Hasta la vista, baby,” “Come with me if you want to live,” “I’ll be back;” the list of the Terminator’s memorable quips from this movie is long. Our personal favourite? “I’m a cybernetic organism. Living tissue over a metal endoskeleton.” Because he’s just so much more than that.
Robert Patrick as T-1000
Sorry John Connor’s foster parents. We’re sure you were good people. Robert Patrick will always and forever be the only T-1000 in our hearts.
John Connor’s pre-emo, pre-Bieber hairstyle
Actor Edward Furlong‘s expert hair flip set the trend for boy bands, Bieber and emo fans alike for decades to come.
The tow truck/dirt-bike/motorcycle chase scene
This three minute chase scene is the reason every teenager in the ’90s desperately wanted a dirt bike. It is an action film after all.
When Sarah’s world got turned upside down
No scene captures the film’s major twist (Spoiler: Arnie’s the good guy in this one) better than the chilling first encounter between Sarah Connor and the Terminator who had plagued her in the first movie.
The tearful (for humans) goodbye
What’s wrong with our eyes? Damn it, Terminator, your metal endoskeleton may not have the capacity, but we fell in love with you like you were the dad we never had. It’s been 25 years and seeing you go down in a vat of molten metal hasn’t gotten any easier.
And of course…
This scene served as a “holy shit, women’s arms can look like that?” wake-up call for a lot of people. The startling transformation is still a talking point, decades later.