From the Stereo to Your Screen: “You Could Be Mine” by Guns ‘n’ Roses from Terminator 2: Judgment Day

“You Could Be Mine” by Guns ‘n’ Roses from Terminator 2: Judgment Day

My first movie score purchase was of Brad Fiedel’s Terminator 2, on cassette. I figured that, since I couldn’t actually get my hands on the Guns ‘n’ Roses song which featured so prominently in the film, I might as well get some of the other music that’s in the movie. Now, while the various chase themes from James Cameron’s 1991 film are pretty damned exciting and energetic, riding around on your bike blasting “Escape from the Hospital (And T-1000)” isn’t exactly as cool as bumping G ‘n’ effing R.

So, for those of us who lived in the Midwest and couldn’t buy Guns ‘n’ Roses singles at the local Walmart, exposure to this song was limited until we were able to get to the nearest Best Buy when the Use Your Illusion albums were released in the middle of September – a solid two and half months after T2 was released.

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However, if memory serves, the video was everywhere on MTV that summer – it was the first new Guns ‘n’ Roses single in almost two years, and it’s a goddamn monster. That opening build is as close as the band ever got to recreating the intro to “Welcome to the Jungle,” and playing it over a series of T800s being constructed in some futuristic factory is certainly enough to get every pre-teen starng at their TV screen in wonder.

Phased bass tone notwithstanding, the intro to “You Could Be Mine” is pretty timeless. Guitar and drums and bass build to Axl sliding his way onto stage, and the song pretty much rips for the next four minutes. While the concept of pairing a song that’s basically about doing too much blow and the inevitable relationship problems which follow with a film about robots from the future fighting each other on the streets of Los Angeles might seem ridiculous, both the Terminator films and Guns ‘n’ Roses are glitzy examinations of nihilistic concepts. In that context, perfection.

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“You Could Be Mine” is the highlight of both Use Your Illusion albums (yes, even more than “Civil War”) and the video’s pretty great – the concert footage might not be on the same level as “Paradise City,” but the inclusion of both Terminator 2 clips and Arnold Schwarzenegger as the T800 makes for a pretty great video. The best part is, obviously, the end, wherein the T800 stares down the members of the band and eventually determines Axl is a waste of ammo. You could argue that the band’s reaction to a huge guy with a shotgun is due to bad acting, but I like to think it’s more along the lines of the fact that Guns ‘n’ Roses is all-too-familiar with this kind of interaction.

The oddest thing about the “You Could Be Mine” video is that, in retrospect, it seems pretty low-budget. For a film that had a $60 million ride at Universal Studios, this video is about as basic as it gets, minus the brief computer overlays of the T800’s targeting screen. You’ve what was arguably THE film of the summer of ’91, combined with the biggest rock band in the world at the time, and your video doesn’t show much more than concert footage and film clips – that’s fucking weird.

For the complete opposite approach, we’ll take a look at another hard-rcok Schwarzenegger video in our next installment.

Fun fact: Spandex shorts were actually a thing in the early ’90s. Far too many kids in my school wore them. I blame Axl.

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Liam O'Donnell
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Liam O'Donnell

Liam O'Donnell is co-creator and co-host of the Cinepunx podcast and Editor in Chief of the Cinepunx website. Liam has written about film, music, politics and faith for a variety of publications in real life and online. Despite his advanced age he can be seen moshing in the greater Philadelphia area, usually to a cover song. He can be seen sitting in the audience at the newest comic book film, the retro drive-in screening of a Fulci film, or catching a series of Jodorowsky films. Liam has worked in social services, events planning, arts curation, education, community organizing, faith communities, and scooping ice cream. He has worked with festivals like This Is Hardcore Fest and The Awesome Fest. Despite all these things, Cinepunx is definitely the coolest thing he has ever done.
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Comments

  1. ob

    A great song and a great action movie. When the song comes on the radio I always picture the truck/motorcycle chase in the flood control channel. The video is okay, but could definitely use more footage of Linda Hamilton being a bad ass.

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