Fanspot
Jumping from the truck into the canal

Saga Terminator
Movie Terminator 2: Judgment Day James Cameron (1991)
Among the most popular movie sequels, Terminator 2 has made Los Angeles and its surroundings the setting for of the confrontation between two machines from the future. The Bull Creek weir in particular hosted the famous chase between John Connor and the dreaded T-1000.
Bull Creek Canal in Los Angeles
Bull Creek Canal in Los Angeles - Credit: Vincent A. on flickr

“Hasta la vista, Baby!”

T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger)

The shooting of Terminator 2 begins on October 9, 1990. If a score of sites throughout California and New Mexico are exploited by James Cameron and his team, the streets of Los Angeles remain the center of the story. It is also there, in a bar now disappeared, that begins the hunt for the terminator played by Arnold Schwarzenegger. When it comes time to orchestrate the chase, one of the first real spectacular pieces of the feature, the director intends to exploit the flood control channels running through the city of angels. In this scene, John Connor (Edward Furlong), the future leader of the resistance in the war against the machines, is pursued by the T-1000, the terrifying liquid metal cyborg played by Robert Patrick. Just when he thinks he’s safe, after descending to the Bull Creek weir below the roadway at the intersection of Plummer Street and Hayvenhurst Avenue, he suddenly sees the T-1000 throw his truck through the railing before falling heavily into the canal.

To ensure the rendering of this very ambitious sequence, shot in the middle of the city, James Cameron prefers to ask that the river be redirected. It often happens that the latter is only a thin stream of water, but the filmmaker cannot afford to be unexpected. The channels must be completely dry or at least sufficiently dry to allow circulation. If today, such a scene would have been realized with the help of digital imaging, the director then has no choice but to project a real truck into the parapet to make it fall into the canal. He positions the vehicle on the other side of the boulevard. This last one starts, takes speed and goes up on the wooden ramp built for the occasion before completely destroying the wall laid out by the team, before landing a few meters lower, in front of the cameras, the scene being filmed from several angles. Of course, Robert Patrick isn’t actually behind the wheel of the truck, but as the T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger) joins John Connor on his motorcycle, the action continues down a narrowing canal. James Cameron does not hesitate to play on the particular geography of the places to give the action an even more thrilling side. One of the great moments of a film particularly rich in bravura pieces. And if before him, other directors had appropriated the famous canals of Los Angeles, they now evoke above all the confrontation between the T-800 and the T-1000.

At the time of its release, with a budget of 102 million dollars, Terminator 2 was the most expensive film in the history of cinema. A blockbuster celebrated by the press and the public, innovative and ambitious, having earned over 519 million dollars worldwide.

6

All the special effects in the film cost six million dollars, the equivalent of the budget of the first Terminator.

Scene of the jump from the truck into the Bull Creek Canal in Los Angeles
Jumping off the truck into the Bull Creek Canal in Los Angeles – Credit: Carolco Pictures, StudioCanal, Lightstorm Entertainment and Pacific Western
Scène du saut du camion dans le canal Bull Creek de Los Angeles
Jumping off the truck into the Bull Creek Canal in Los Angeles – Credit: Carolco Pictures, StudioCanal, Lightstorm Entertainment and Pacific Western

Plummer / Hayvenhurst

Los Angeles is one of the cities with the most canals in the United States. While the Venice canals are the most popular, the flood control canals in the downtown area are also very well known.

Used in many movies and TV shows, the Los Angeles flood control canals were born as a result of the Flood Control Act of 1941. Concrete facilities allow water to flow to the ocean in the event of flooding. Bull Creek, a tributary of the Los Angeles River, originates at Oat Mountain. It flows through the city via one of these control channels. It enters the Sepulveda Dam Recreation Area after leaving its concrete bed to resume a more natural flow.

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By Gilles Rolland

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Passionné de cinéma, de rock and roll, de séries TV et de littérature. Rédacteur de presse et auteur des livres Le Heavy Metal au cinéma, Paroles de fans Guns N' Roses, Paroles de fans Rammstein et Welcome to my Jungle : 100 albums rock et autres anecdotes dépareillées. Adore également voyager à la recherche des lieux les plus emblématiques de la pop culture.

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