Were we to erect a Mount Rushmore of female action stars, Hamilton would be up there (with Weaver, Rothrock and … Thurman?) for her physical transformation for Terminator 2. You remember how De Niro got all ripped then all flabby for Raging Bull? Or how Edward Norton got jacked for American History X? Hamilton’s transformation exceeded both of those.
Before T2, it was her lot to be saved by beasts: She was King Kong’s love object in King Kong Lives, and the Beauty to Ron Perlman’s Beast in TV’s Beauty and the Beast. In T2, Hamilton was a beast; the first time you see her onscreen—slabbed in muscle, busting out chinups in the loonybin—now that was a shock that could knock us on our ass alone.