Terminator 2: Judgement Day (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

Judgement Day has come for 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray fans.  One of the most celebrated sequels and blockbuster films of all time, Terminator 2: Judgement Day is making the leap to the newest format. Likely coming in lieu of its 3D re-release in theaters this past August, James Cameron’s time travel/post apocalyptic/cyborg action opus boasted a brand new 4K restoration. This release was originally slated for an early October release, then delayed til the end of that month, followed by another delay that was pretty much “at some point we’ll get to it”. Well, now they have and its available. Release date was December 26th, and you can order the film using the Amazon link below. Could the original Terminator please be coming very soon?


Set eleven years after “The Terminator,” young John Connor, the key to civilization’s victory over a future robot uprising, is the target of the shape-shifting T-1000, a Terminator sent from the future to kill him. Another Terminator, the revamped T-800, has been sent back to protect the boy. As John and his mother go on the run with the T-800, the boy forms an unexpected bond with the robot.

James Cameron’s second Terminator film, Judgement Day, almost is ahead of its time, playing like a souped up, bigger budgeted “Legasequel” before that was a thing. But, then again, it was a “thing” because many sequels back in the day played with the mentality of “Do it again, but bigger and better”. They also do a bit of a reversal with things, including the Terminator role, Sarah Connor’s outlook and more. But, at its very core, Terminator 2: Judgement Day is just one hell of a thrilling, suspenseful action movie that still holds up extremely well.

While I have said many times in the past, I prefer the first Terminator film (One of my favorite films of all time), I use that word “prefer”. Because going between the original and the sequel for these is almost a matter of preference. And I do LOVE this second movie a lot. Its able to go places and do things the first film could never do. But, that’s what draws me to the original more, is the low key nature to it. This one, however, pushed the realm of budgets and computer technology in films to a whole new level. And surprisingly, the visual effects in this movie actually work quite well. They never distract or take you out of the film like a lot of dated computer effect-heavy movies from the 90s can do. This and Jurassic Park obviously have master craftsmen behind them, but this just goes to show they won’t expect anything subpar and truly think out and perfect every frame of their movies.

James Cameron sure knows how to capture action and create a sequence like no one else. From start to finish, Terminator 2 is a big chase with memorable moment after memorable moment.  There are lots of shootouts, car chases, explosions, impalements…its just everything. And Cameron puts the pedal to the metal, too. Like the T1000, he just doesn’t stop, he keeps pushing and pushing not letting you gasp for breath. There is one sequence in the film that takes a break, but its only so perfectly set because it needs to. Because in the final hour and twenty minutes of the film, you are going to be just entrenched in action.

I’m sorry if this review comes across as hollow or generic, but I’ve spoken a lot about this movie in the past and I don’t like to repeat things I’ve said many times. BUT, I will point you to the commentary I partook in for fellow writer Aaron Neuwirth’s podcast, Out Now With Aaron & Abe, where you can get a feature length edition of myself and others talking about the film in great detail. You can do so by clicking HERE or subscribing to them on iTunes (Leave a review while you’re at it, too).


Encoding: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: 4K (2160p)

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1

Layers: BD-66

Clarity/Detail: Ugh. There is going to be a lot of controversy with this one and some loud, angry, pissed people who think the world is coming to an end with this transfer. There are also going to be a great many that think this looks good and are quite happy with it. Its very clear that when making this 4K transfer and restoration, the film’s 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray release was not the goal, focus or importance. They were obviously doing this for the 3D release in theaters. In order for that to have maximum effect, scrubbing the grain, applying DNR and using edge enhancement for the maximum amount of clarity was done. Now, the image does look clean and polished. It also has quite strong amounts of detail. I was fearing that we would see another Predator Ultimate Edition when hearing the early blurbs about the UK release, but I don’t even think we are close to that here. And actually, I know some of you purists and hardcores aren’t going to believe this…a good number of people PREFER old movies to look as clean, slick and polished as they can and don’t really notice smoothness. One thing on this movie, and its probably due to the natural blacks, is that its a little dimmer than I would be expecting it to appear. I’m conflicted on the look of this release as for every moment that is a little underwhelming, there ones on the opposite end that are pretty impressive. I do feel this is the best we’ve had it on a disc though.  This isn’t that expensive of a release. My advice: If you’re a fan of the series, check it out with your own eyes.

Depth:  The film features a nice working of keeping good spacing between background and foreground. That obviously was going to improve with the focus being on putting this out on 3D in theaters. Movements are quite smooth, fluent and cinematic here with no distortion issues during fastly moving rapid action sequences.

Black Levels: Here’s an area of improvement that bodes well on this new transfer. There are well saturated and maintain details pretty good. The shadows and darkly lit moments look pretty terrific in this image. No crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction: Colors are natural with some improved saturation and detailing. The stuff that was overly blue before is now much more nuanced. HDR seems like its used pretty sparingly. The pop up menu has more impressive usage than the movie ever really does. Some fires, car lights and the like have their moments (The red burning glow after the arrival from the future is cool), and the finale is very well served, but there are a lot of missed opportunities in the first 2/3 of the film that could have been enhanced a little.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are a bit cold with a blue filter coming on in many of the scenes, staying consistent from start to finish. Facial details are a bit of mixed bag, as some faces like Linda Hamilton’s are chalked full of impressive details and others will look a little lacking and smooth at times due to the nature of the restoration.

Noise/Artifacts: This one is pretty clean in appearance, though artificially. As mentioned this looked scrubbed of grain with DNR applied.


Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, French 5.1 DTS-HD MA, German 7.1 DTS-HD MA, English Audio Description

Subtitles: English, French, French, German, Latin American Spanish

Dynamics: I’m not sure if this the same 5.1 mix that has been done before, but it probably is. Its a fun track that really rocks in the shootouts and explosions. It also has some awesome ambiance, especially during some of the more “talkie” dramatic moments in the desert. Effects have a really lifelike and distinct sound design, well layered with good depth. Overall, the music, vocals and effects come together in a really nice balance.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: Booming shotguns, explosions, motorcycle engines roaring, big score hits and more really thump your subwoofer.

Surround Sound Presentation: Terminator 2 boasts a lot of bite from the front, but the rear channels do partake in more huge moments with unique sounds, while also providing some excelling ambiance. Its a well realized experience with a big highlight being Sarah Connor’s dream in the middle of the film.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and crisp, with great detail on diction.


Terminator 2: Judgement Day comes with the Blu-ray edition and an UltraViolet digital copy. All bonus materials are found on the standard Blu-ray disc.

Audio Commentary

  • 23 Members of Cast & Crew Commentary
  • Director James Cameron & Co-Author William Wisher

Special Edition Version

Extended Special Edition Version

T2: Reprogramming The Terminator (HD, 54:07) – A terrific retrospective documentary that features Arnold, James Cameron, Joe Morton, Robert Patrick, Stephanie Allen, William Wisher, Edward Furlong and many important people behind the scenes of this legendary film. It is akin to a big budget version of the sort of things that Red Shirt, Ballyhoo and Reverend Entertainment put together.

The Making Of T2: Documentary from 1993 (SD, 30:54)

Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary By James Cameron, Robert Patrick, Stan Winston & Linda Hamilton (HD, 3:18)

Trailers (HD, 6:33)


Terminator 2: Judgement Day is a terrific action spectacle that manages to still hold up to this very day. Its big, intense and highly suspenseful.  Whether this 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray debut is going to hold up is really going to be up to the eye of the beholder. While I stick in the middle and can see the gripes but can also see where there is some praise, I will say that there is plenty of room for improvement on a future edition. One, whose sole focus is making a 4K Ultra-HD release, not a 3D release. As I mentioned before, this one is going to be based on the eye of the behlolder, which is a crappy thing to say as a reviewer, but its all I can really muster here in terms of giving a recommendation or not, knowing that people look at these restorations in very different ways. And to the common movie buyer, who probably isn’t active in reading reviews or keeping up with the collecting community…I’m sure they are going to enjoy this quite a bit.

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