Nishan Fuard

Terminator 3

28th July 2004
Terminator 3 Poster reviewer: Nishan Fuard
rating: 2 out of 5
directed by: Jonathan Mostow
written by: John Brancato and Michael Ferris
starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Nick Stahl, Claire Danes, Kristanna Loken
genre: Sci-Fi Action Thriller Adventure
released: 1st August 2003

“I’ll be back.” The first time he said it he marked his return by ploughing a car into the front desk of a police station and gunning down cops. It became a catchphrase and was a prelude to an ass-kicking. We cheered. The menace gradually petered out and a droll tone set in, but more asses were kicked followed by more cheers. But that was years ago. Now he’s back again and this time I wish Arnie had taken a rain check.

Whatever your feelings about sequels Terminator 2 managed to complement the original film. It continued the story without soiling its parent; it explored new ideas; and it showed-off the latest special effects in the most extraordinary way.

However, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (a subtitle redolent of cheesy 1930s pulp science fiction) reeks of a shameless cash-in. While T2 was a box office blockbuster this latest addition has the hallmark of a straight-to-video release.

The movie is simply the result of squeezing more out of the future events alluded to in the previous films. New characters are added and extraneous detail, but this only muddies the overall storyline.

The threat to John Connor (Nick Stahl) now comes from an all-new T-series cyborg, the T-X, which is in the guise of a woman (Kristanna Loken). In response, the human resistance once again sends back another Terminator (Schwarzenegger), an upgraded T-850 (more RAM perhaps?), as a protector. Soon caught up in the fray is veterinarian Kate Brewster (Claire Danes) who soon discovers that she too is a target for the T-X. Sit back and watch twisted metal fly.

There’s nothing fancy about T3 and it has no pretensions regarding its intelligence. The trouble is that what it does offer is hardly remarkable. The main chase scene is overlong, lacking the menace of the earlier films, and there’s only so much you can take of Arnie and the T-X pummelling each other.

There are some nice touches such as the T-X checking herself in the mirror and the cameo of Earl Boen as Dr Silberman (the character appeared is now in all three films). Also, the ending is fitting and would be a good place to finish things. But I have the feeling that if Arnie loses the governorship next time he’ll be back.