Handouts - TERMINATOR 2 Script Pages

For Class #8 and 9

 Instructor: Norman Hollyn T.A.: Robert Abilez
 Office: 323-275-1869 Phone: 213-220-0213-220-0408408

 E-Mail: hollyn [at] usc.edu

E-Mail: rnabilez [at] gmail.com

TERMINATOR II is, like most James Cameron films, very well executed. In tonight's class we will discuss the structure of this sequence and how Cameron has created peaks and valleys within it, in order to maintain and, eventually, build the excitement level in the audience. We should also notice the use of overlapping action cuts, screen direction and sound and music. The major beats in this scene have been highlighted in yellow for you.

For a PDF version of the script that you can print out, click right here.
You will have to have a copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader.


Screenplay by James Cameron

William Wisher

Produced by James Cameron

Directed by James Cameron



John shoots into the busy traffic. cuts off a BIG-RIG TOW TRUCK. The DRIVER swears. Hits his air horn. What the driver doesn't see is the cop, running faster than O.J. Simpson at the airport, who emerges onto the street and runs back at his truck.



The driver hears a thump as something slams against his door, then feels himself pulled right out. T-1000 slides in and takes his place. The truck is still rolling along about 25 mph. T-1000 accelerates after John without missing a beat. It can see him, up ahead, weaving through traffic.

Out of the garage entrance, Terminator roars onto the street on the Harley. He accelerates after the others.



John slides his bike down the service ramp faster than he's ever done it before. He races along the bottom of the canal, turning into a narrower tributary which has vertical sides.

He looks back. No sign of pursuit.

Suddenly he sees the sun blocked out by a great shadow. The Kenworth tow-truck.. big as a house, all chrome and roaring diesel engine.. crashes through the fence and launches itself right into the center of the canal.

It crashes down, 15 feet to the ground, going about 60, hits at an angle and tears into the concrete wall with a hideous grinding of metal. It ricochets back and forth between the walls then, bellowing like a gunshot stegosaurus, it just keep on plowing forward, gathering speed.

John looks back and sees this wall of metal almost filling the narrow concrete canal and he milks every last bit of throttle the little bike has. The Kenworth is all muscle, tearing along the canal like a train in a tunnel. Its big tires send up huge sheets of muddy spray, backlit in the setting sun. It looks like some kind of demon. And.. it's gaining.


On the service road running parallel, Terminator is fighting to overtake them. He looks down and sees John with the tow-truck from Hell catching up to him. It is only about twenty feet behind him and still gaining.


Looking back past a desperate John, at the wall of metal filling frame behind him.


Terminator cuts the bike suddenly hard to the left, leaving the road. Hitting an earth embankment just right, he jumps the bike into the air like Steve McQueen in "The Great Escape" and vaults the fence bordering the canal. It slams down at the edge of the canal and tears along, inches from the drop-off on a dirt path, accelerating past the truck in the canal below.

John hits some water and slews momentarily, loosing speed. The massive push-plate on the front of the truck slams into his back fender. Panicked, he pulls a little ahead. All this is happening at about sixty miles and hour. Top speed for the little dirt bike.

SLOW MOTION as Terminator jumps the bike again. This time the 700-pound Harley sails out into space and drops into the canal. It arcs down between the truck and John, hitting on its wheels. It bottoms out, an explosion of sparks under the frame. Only the ultra-fast reflexes of a machine could keep the bike upright. Terminator fights for control.

He guns the throttle and the powerful bike roars up beside John's tiny Honda. Terminator sweeps the kid off his machine with one arm and swings him onto the Harley, in front of him. John's Honda weaves and falls, smashing instantly under thundering tires.

The Harley roars ahead. It hits eighty. Ahead is an overpass, and supporting it is an abutment which bisects the canal into two channels. The Harley thunders into one channel, which is essentially a short tunnel.

The truck can't fit on either side. Neither can it stop, at that speed. Tires locked, it slides on the muddy concrete and piles into the concrete abutment at seventy.

Terminator and John emerge from the tunnel, looking back to see a fireball blasting through behind them as the truck's side-tanks explode.

Terminator stops the Harley. John peers around his body to see the destruction. A burning wheel wobbles out of the tunnel and flops in the mud. Terminator revs the bike and they roar away, down the canal, disappearing around a bend.


As a column of black smoke rises from the overpass. Smoke boils from the tunnel as well, and inside it is a solid wall of flame. A figure appears in the fire. Just an outline. Walking slowly.. calmly. The figure emerges from the flames.

It is human-shaped but far from human. A smooth chrome man. Not a servo-mechanism like Terminator is underneath, with its complex hydraulics and cables.. this thing is a featureless, liquid chrome surface, bending seamlessly at knees and elbows as it walks. It reminds us of mercury. A mercury man. Its face is simple, unformed. Unruffled by thousand-degree heat, it walks toward us.

With each step detail returns. First the shape and lines of its clothing emerge from the liquid chrome surface, then finer details.. buttons, facial features, ears..

But it's still all chrome. With its last step, the color returns to everything. It is the cop again.. handsome young face, blond hair, mustache. Icy eyes. It stops and looks around.

It is a perfect chameleon. A liquid metal robot. A killing machine with the ultimate skills of mimicry for infiltration of human society.


As several police cruisers and a fire truck pull up. T-1000 climbs out of the canal behind them. More cops arrive. T-1000 blends in perfectly. There are always cops at disasters and scenes of violence. We now see why its choice of protective mimicry is so perfect. It walks among the other cops unnoticed. Gets into one of the squad cars. Starts it and drives away.

© 1993

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All material, except where noted, ©1999-2012 by Norman Hollyn. Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Send me an e-mail at my office
Last Modified - October 15, 2012