Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines


T3 is your typical Hollywood Cheeseburger Royale. It tastes pretty good while you’re eating it, but wait a couple of hours and it’s a big pile of grease threatening to clog your arteries. Ok, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but you almost wish you had bought something healthy. If it’s any consolation T3 stands with the best cheeseburgers I’ve had in quite some time. And if its a cheeseburger you’re after, then prepared to be knocked for six by the biggest cheeseburger you’ve seen yet.

As a sequel however, T3 doesn’t quite stand up to its two predecessors. Sure it’s a hell of a lot meaner and badder, but like any beefcake an increase in bicep size doesn’t necessary equate to an increase in brain size. T3 is a big and dumbed down version for the new generation. Where James Cameron’s Terminator‘s succeeded in telling a science fiction story set against a backdrop of an imminent nuclear war in the future, T3 only continues this tradition because it has to. Stripped down, T3 hardly needs a storyline to make the movie work. Saying the action sequences speak for themselves is an understatement. It’s not really about time travel or machines or protection of John Connor or nuclear wars or human survival, its an assault on the senses via a series of white knuckled, hardcore brain squishing, ball-busting (breasts if you’re a girl) duels between two impossibly indestructible creations of mankind.

A decade after the events of Judgement Day, John Connor (Nick Stahl) is being targeted by machines in the future who have foreseen him and Katherine Brewster (Claire Danes) to lead the resistance come the nuclear war initiated by the machines. The new machine created to hunt him down is the T-X (maybe it has something to do with the T-Rex?) played with emotionless ease by Kristanna Loken. To aid John Connor, the humans from the future have also sent a robot, the T-100 (Big Bad Arnie). But can the old T-100 stand up to the super fast, ultra refined T-X?

T3, as an action experience is unrivalled. If you can forget the foam walls and polystyrene toilets, you can literally feel the crunch in the cinema as both machines get smashed up, thrown around, kicked on, dragged through, blown through and ripped apart all through an assortment of brick walls, concrete walls, panes and panes of glass, cupboards, desks, trucks, semis, fire engines and bathroom sinks with the biggest collection of guns this side of World War II. Needless to say, you need to see this on a big screen with the best equipped sound possible. Nothing else will do this movie justice, not even your 1.5 metre plasma screen at home. If you have one.

The ten year gap between this new version and the predecessor has seen some wholesale changes to the Hollywoodblockbuster and what the audience wants. This is clearly evident when looking back at T2, a brooding sci-fi painting a serious picture of our future. Fast forward to present day and T3 reverts to the action extravaganza text book, with the T-100 as a walking joke and send-up of his previous self. Its almost weird to see the change right in front of our eyes. Like a poor comedian, the T-100 never lets up on an opportunity to tell a bad one-liner. Having said that, the movie has its fair share of laugh out loud moments. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s dead pan delivery of the lines are effective though — who’s to say he is really losing his skills as an actor?

T3 ends too suddenly however, most probably due to the lack of story. There is no real beginning, middle or end. The action just plays out wherever and whenever it feels like it. Definitely it could have done with an extra half an hour tacked onto the end, but it would have been hard pressed to sustain the enjoyment factor if it were stretched beyond its two hours. If you’ve ever felt that some films were too long for its own good, then T3 will end before you know it and that’s a sign that you’re enjoying the film for what it is.

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One Response to “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines”

  1. In 2003 I hadn’t seen any Terminator movies. Now I’ve seen three, and most of The Sarah Connor Chronicles. So I feel comfortable saying that this film is a big stupid pile of crap.

    John is the biggest disappointment. Not only does he compare badly to the proactive intelligent John in TSCC, but he almost compares badly to the kid in Terminator 2. Whiny, unprepared, and useless.