Daily Archives: August 14, 2018

Smart Weapons [TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY]

From the Chicago Reader (July 5, 1991). –J.R.

TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY

** (Worth seeing)

Directed by James Cameron

Written by Cameron and William Wisher

With Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Robert Patrick, Edward Furlong, Earl Boen, and Joe Morton.

As much a remake as a sequel, James Cameron’s Terminator 2: Judgment Day begins, like The Terminator (1984), with a postnuclear Los Angeles in the year 2029, a world ruled by deadly machines where a few scattered remnants of humanity struggle to survive. Then the film leaps backward in time — not to 1984, when most of The Terminator took place, but to 1997, when the Terminator materializes in virtually the same mythic fashion, crouched naked like a Greek god, before rising and setting about finding the proper attire. This time he enters a bikers’ bar, where he quickly appropriates the clothes, boots, and bike of one tough customer and the shades of another, blithely smashing the skulls of whoever happens to get in his way.

The thrill and beauty of the Terminator, both as a character and as a concept — the ultimate Schwarzenegger role, against which all his other roles must be measured — resides in the excitement of witnessing a brutal, dispassionate machine, a weapon slicing impartially through metal, flesh, or bone en route to its unambiguous goal.… Read more »

The Birth of a Notion

This article appeared in the October 9, 1987 issue of the Chicago Reader, and one good reason for reviving it now is to point up how out of date some of its remarks about Feuillade’s invisibility have become almost 31 years later. Back then, I noted, there was only one book about Feuillade; today I have seven more (all in French) of diverse sizes and scopes, and I’m sure my collection is far from exhaustive. Two full serials, Les vampires (1915) and Judex (1916), are available in the U.S., as is an excellent restoration of the multichaptered Fantômas (1913-1914) on Blu-Ray, so I’m still hoping that Tih Minh (1918), still my favorite, not to mention Barrabas (1919) and even La nouvelle mission de Judex — a 1917 crime serial I’ve never seen which is reputed to be inferior to the others — will also surface eventually.  Also, Kino International has released Gaumont Treasures 1897-1913, with one of its three discs devoted to Feuillade short films made between 1907 and 1913, as well as a documentary “featurette” about him. — J.R.

LES VAMPIRES

**** (Masterpiece)

Directed and written by Louis Feuillade

With Musidora, Édouard Mathé, Marcel Lévesque, Jean Aymé, Delphine Renot, Stacia Napierkowska, Fernand Hermann, Renée Carl, Louis Leubas, Louise Lagrange, Moriss, and Bout de Zan.… Read more »