4K December 2017 - Terminator 2

Arnie hits 4K Ultra HD in arguably his best role and arguably the best Terminator movie. An action genre classic in every sense, how does the theatrical cut of Terminator 2: Judgment Day scrub up on 4K after James Cameron’s fiddling? Does it shine, or is it all a bit rusty?

The story: 10 years have passed since the events of the original The Terminator, but life’s still a struggle for Sarah Connor. Her son, John, is destined to be the leader of the future Resistance – as long as he survives (never mind the paradox). Anyway, it transpires that future John has reprogrammed a Terminator (Arnie) and sent him backwards in time to act as a bodyguard for now John. It’s a good thing, too, for a newer tech model in the T-1000 (Robert Patrick) has also been sent back to do what he does best with John. That would, of course, be terminating. It’s hot killer robot versus killer robot action, with more zingy one-liners that have cemented themselves into the vernacular than any other action flick we can think of. Baby.

The unknown future rolls toward us…

The 4K disc: Let’s get the easy part out of the way – audio comes via a 5.1 DTS HD Master Audio mix, unless you’re fluent in German whereby you can partake of the included 7.1 mix. It really sounds good – although we couldn’t help wishing that those exxy upfiring speakers would do something. The disc case may say there’s DTS:X, but it’s fibbing.

Now to the tricky bit, the vision. This 4K release of T2 is taken from a recently created 3D master (get the 3D Blu-ray here). James Cameron supervised the work, including fixing up several effects flubs ranging from a bendy prop knife to a missing windscreen and beyond to removing Robert Patrick’s dangly bits (digitally, of course). Cameron hasn’t done a George Lucas and changed anything story-wise, he’s just fixed some stuff that he likely would have if he’d had the technology back in the early 1990s. Speaking of which, effects shots appear to have been re-rendered, so the liquid metal doesn’t look like it was created on a Commodore 64 anymore.

Are you OK with all of this so far? Well, now for the kicker, and it comes down to whether you favour grain or not. While shot on film, there’s now no sign of grain present. The transfer has been treated with digital noise reduction and, save for the occasional slightly waxy visage, we reckon it works. Obviously, so did Cameron, who also oversaw the HDR treatment, which is subtler than many, providing a very natural palette, while shiny things shine like never before. Ultimately, despite all the processing we think that this is still a very detailed transfer that’s better than any of the many other releases of Terminator 2 that we’ve seen. Ah, those days racing excitedly back from the video library with a worn-out VHS in hand…

Release date: November 6, 2017
Format: 4K Ultra HD
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Robert Patrick

Buy now at JB Hi-Fi

Want to know what to get next? Check out STACK‘s 4K Ultra HD specifications guide.