Movies & TV Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for movie and tv enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

In Terminator 2, they break into Miles Dyson's workplace (can't remember the name of it) and begin to plant explosives in order to destroy all the work he had been doing

When the police get to the scene a small team eventually break into the building and work their way upstairs. Arnie and the guys escape leaving the badly injured Miles Dyson with the detonator for the explosives.

When the team of police find Dyson, he is sat up against a counter of some sort holding a heavy weight above the detonator trigger. The policemen see this and after Dyson says, "I don't know how much longer I can hold this", the officer in charge rather assertively says "MOVE OUT! MOVE OUT!" and they try and make their exit.

They're clearly not fast enough as the building blows up a few seconds (if that) later. So my question is: why did they not try and take the detonator or heavy weight off of Dyson? You can tell by the size of the building that they had no chance of getting out in time and he was in no state to resist them.

I understand they might not have been able to react fast enough to him dropping the weight, but it surely makes more sense to try and do something or at least try and talk him out of doing it. Instead they leave (slowly I might add) even when it's plain that they won't make it.

share|improve this question
As a side note, I think they made it out of the explosion radius. Didn't he just blow a single floor instead of the whole building. Additionally the movie at other times tries to emphasize, that Arnie and the gang are not directly killing anyone (apart from collateral damage from the T-1000 maybe). But it may also be that I don't remember this too well. – Napoleon Wilson Feb 4 '13 at 16:54
the bit which emphasizes that arnie is not directly killing people is before when he pushes the desk out of the window and uses the mini gun to hold the police back. the part my question refers to is after this bit – jampez77 Feb 4 '13 at 17:01
Yes, I know, but there are other incidents (when John repeatedly urges Arnie not to kill anyone), and Dyson effectively killing all these plicemen directly afterwards wouldn't fit this general moral theme. The movie wants to make clear, that this is now another kind of Terminator and it is now morally legal to be on Arnie's side, compared to the first movie. The movie letting Arnie spare all these guys and Dyson just immediately afterwards explicitly warning the others, while still killing them (even if not on purpose), just doesn't fit. – Napoleon Wilson Feb 4 '13 at 17:07
...Or maybe the movie's previous moral emphasizes just got me there and I want to believe the policemen didn't die ;). I guess this get's quite an interresting analysis when thinking about it. – Napoleon Wilson Feb 4 '13 at 17:13
You made me really think about this: – Napoleon Wilson Feb 4 '13 at 18:57
up vote 11 down vote accepted

Dyson is threatening to blow up the building with an improvised dead man's switch. If the police try to disarm him, he's guaranteed to drop the weight and set off the explosives. They have no chance of success in disarming him. He is giving them a chance of getting out of the building by telling them he doesn't know how much longer he can hold the weight. A small chance is better than no chance, so the officer in charge gives the order to move out. It's only obvious that they don't have enough time after the fact.

share|improve this answer
that's a good answer but why would they not try and talk him out of it? wouldn't that be part of there job? – jampez77 Feb 4 '13 at 17:00
@jampez77 Yes, normally one person might stay behind to try and talk him out of it while the rest get a safe distance away. But in an instance where the trigger is something that the bomber physically can't keep open, it makes sense for everyone to run for it. – Bill the Lizard Feb 4 '13 at 17:12
Yes you are right about the dead man's switch. But no, you and the OP are wrong that they don't have time to get to safety. Only Dyson dies in the explosion (and he might've been fatally wounded already, anyway). – Dronz Oct 14 '15 at 5:02

The situation that they were in was that he was clearly dying and struggling to hold the weight up. He was resigned to dying there. Therefore it is unlikely that they could reason with him before he tripped the explosive either intentionally or not.

Hence they have two choices which are either attempt to take the detonator off him and make the IED safe themselves or run.

The police captain would have looked at the distance between him and Miles and determined that he would not be able to reach him before detonation.

Therefore he chose to move out and hope that Miles lived long enough for at least some of his men to escape. For all he knew Miles might be able to hold it for another 30 seconds or the explosives might not be as powerful as they looked.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.