"Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines" – Movie Review
- Thursday, July 03, 2003
Genre: Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Rating: R (for strong sci-fi violence and action, language, brief nudity)
Release Date: July 2, 2003
Actors: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Nick Stahl, Kristanna Loken, Claire Danes, Alana Curry, Timothy Dowling, Mark Famiglietti, Mark Hicks, Jerry Katell, Brian Sites
Director: Jonathan Mostow
Special Notes: The ''Terminator'' franchise may be old, but much like Schwarzenegger's titular cyborg, it's still unstoppable. Fans have been waiting more than 10 years for a follow-up to 1991's ''Terminator 2: Judgment Day.'' And considering that "T3" was made on a $150 million budget, with more than 600 F/X shots, the filmmakers (including 'U-571' director Jonathan Mostow) are pulling out the big guns to give the people what they want. One cause for the long delay is that the company that owned the franchise, Carolco Pictures, went bankrupt shortly after the release of "T2." A long, tortured development followed, culminating in Schwarzenegger signing on for a record $30 mil. Danes was not the original actress picked for her role, but when she got a last minute call before shooting to replace the other actress who was deemed to young Danes accepted and was rushed to join the rest of the crew. Arnold flew to Iraq to show the troops a private screening of "T3."
Plot: A decade after John Connor (Stahl) helped prevent Judgment Day and save mankind from mass destruction, he now spends his days living on the run (so he can't be traced by Skynet), searching for the destiny he was born for. On the night that he wrecks his motorcycle and breaks into a veterinary clinic for medicine, John meets Kate Brewster (Danes) and immediately the two are threatened by a sophisticated android killing machine (that looks like an anatomically correct woman) the T-X (Loken). The highly developed killing machine was sent from Skynet to kill Connor and various other future lieutenants, including veterinarian Brewster. This time around the T-X is relentless and proves to be an unstoppable deadly force – far more powerful than the obsolete Terminator model. She can assume the shape of anyone she touches, control any machine, survive any crash and destroy any weapon that goes against her. The same night T-X comes to Earth, the Terminator (Schwarzenegger) is also sent to search for and protect not only John, but Kate as well. When Connor meets his only hope for survival, their mission is to find Skynet and destroy it before Judgment Day.
Good: I find it rather amusing that in a day and age in Hollywood when (for the most part) the youth dominate the television and movie screens, two famous baby boomers, Demi Moore and Arnold Schwarzenegger, are kicking box office bucks to record numbers. They're proving to the younger movie-going audience that age has no boundaries when it comes to playing heroes or tough guys. In fact, these days, action stars seem to be getting better looking and staying in better shape as they get older (let's not forget Sean Connery as an action hero in the soon to be released "The League of Extraordinary Gentleman"). Most anyone and everyone who enjoys sci-fi and/or action movies has seen or heard of Schwarzenegger's roles in the "Terminator" movies. So it should come as no surprise that this time around, "T3" continues the theme of machines pitted against man in a war for survival and yes … this one is just as intense, violent and filled with action as the other two. I knew the story would be interesting and the special effects amazing, but what I wasn't prepared for was how good Arnold looks and acts in this movie. For a man of 56 (this month is his birthday) Arnold proves that he's popular with his fans and knows what it takes to have longevity in this business … and quite possibly in the political arena as well. In short, his fans love him as much as the camera does. Many fans will recognize (and appreciate) the trademark lines that have become legendary for Schwarzenegger – lines like "I'll be back", "She'll be back", and his new one, "Talk to the hand". Most of his character's familiar mannerisms, dry humor and passion to protect John Connor are likewise back in full force which make the hero even more relatable and likeable. I was amazed at how much Stahl looks and sound like the original adult John Connor and was impressed with the job Danes did as well. Even though much of the special effects and stunts are done for Loken, she still turns in an amazing performance as the machine you love to hate. I have to admit, when I saw the trailer I wondered if a female machine would be as intense or scary as "T2" was … and let me tell you, she is. With a tag line like, "Anything he can do she can do better", you can expect a competitive battle. The stunt work is absolutely amazing and several of the action-packed scenes will leave you scratching your head in disbelief – they're that good! I have to admit I liked the film for the sci-fi story but could have enjoyed it more without all of the language and amount of violence it had in it.
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