Terminator 2: Judgment Day, 1991


James Cameron


visit the film locations

Los Angeles: Flights: Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)


Well if you haven't already seen it, there’s the original Terminator.

Not quite in the same league, Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines continues the saga.

And fans of the Santa Monica Place Mall, Broadway at Third Street, can see it as ‘Ridgemont Mall’ in Fast Times at Ridgemont High).

Terminator 2: Judgment Day location: Bull Creek, North Hills, San Fernando Valley

Terminator 2: Judgment Day location: The leap into the flood-control channel: Bull Creek, North Hills, San Fernando Valley

Escaping on his dirt bike, Connor tears into one of Los Angeles’ concrete flood control channels, back in the San Fernando Valley. The spillway used is Bull Creek, which leads down to the Sepulveda Flood Control Area (in drier times, the Balboa and the Encino Golf Courses).

The T-1000 gives chase in an eighteen-wheel truck, and, at the junction of Plummer and Hayvenhurst, makes the spectacular leap down into Bull Creek, tearing through the 40-foot wide spillway.

Having sprung Mom from Pescadero, Connor and the good Terminator head out to a desert compound on the western rim of the Mojave Desert, at Lancaster in Antelope Valley. Mom Connor, spurred on by visions of Los Angeles engulfed in a nuclear firestorm, takes off to kill scientist Dr Dyson (Joe Morton), whose research is destined to lead to the Skynet System and hence the future war.

Dyson’s house, where the Terminator stomach-churningly demonstrates his non-human status, is a private home on Pacific Coast Highway, just west of South Malibu Canyon Road, west of Malibu (though it’s not visible from the road).

The ‘Cyberdyne HQ’, high security home of the lethal cyborg chip, really is situated in California’s Silicon Valley, the heart of the computer industry. The building is now the home of Mattson Technology, 47131 Bayside Parkway, at Gateway Boulevard, Fremont, a suburb of San Jose. A glass façade added a third storey to the building, and the (real glass) windows were wired to blow out simultaneously with a gasoline fireball.

The commandeered SWAT truck crashes through a specially added lobby. Fremont is east of San Francisco Bay over the Dumbarton Bridge where Route 17 intersects with Route 84.

The T-1000 oozes into the helicopter for the climactic chase sequence. Los Angeles’ constantly packed freeways are vital arteries constantly teetering on the verge of terminal gridlock. Closing a section down is risking fatal thrombosis, but Los Angeles is also movie city, and there’s always a way.

A four-lane section of freeway was discovered down toward San Pedro. In this scruffy industrial hinterland of the port is a three-mile north-south stretch of roadway linking Sepulveda Boulevard with the naval base on Terminal Island. The Terminal Island Freeway could be closed for the night without major disruption to the city’s traffic flow.

For most of the chase, the helicopter was suspended from a crane mounted on a flatbed truck which drove along the adjacent lane, but for one hair-raising stunt, a real helicopter flew under the twenty-foot overpass of the Pacific Coast Highway.

The end of the chase brings the movie full circle. The steelworks, supposedly at the end of the freeway, is adjacent to the ruins at Fontana used for the opening sequence. Here a steelmill, abandoned for seventeen years, was brought to life with a battery of trick effects. Molten metal gives insurance companies panic attacks so the film uses rivers of white paint and illuminated plastic panels amid showers of sparks.

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