Terminator 3 Rise of the Machines

With a flash of light and a large burst of energy, a visitor from another time has arrived in Beverly Hills and death and destruction will follow in her wake. Such is the premise for the new Arnold Schwarzenegger epic “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines” by director Jonathan Mostow who takes over the big shoes left by the series creator James Cameron.

The visitor is the deadly T-X (Kristanna Loken), a cyborg killer sent from the future to accomplish what the cyborgs in the previous two films could not, kill John Connor, and ensure that machines rule the world. To accomplish this, she must first locate the elusive John Connor (Nick Stahl), who lives as a blip on society, with no home, records, or attachments to track him by. John is haunted by the visions of what his late mother Sarah told him about pending nuclear devastation and his destiny to lead the surviving humans to victory over the machines that would eradicate them.

With their very future at stake, the humans from the future have dispatched a second Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger), to locate and protect John from the T-X. The issue with this is that the 2nd Terminator, the T-800 is an obsolete model and is no match for the vastly superior T-X who aside from being a killer has the ability to mimic other forms and control all manner of machinery.

Eventually John meets up with a vet named Kate Brewster (Claire Danes), a lady he knew as a child and has wondered where he vanished to 10 years earlier after his foster parents were found dead and his mother escaped from the institute where she was incarcerated. Kate has been planning a wedding when John comes back into her life and their reunion is hampered by the arrival of the T-X and the T-800 who turn the small vet clinic where John had been hiding into a war zone. Kate who is convinced she is being kidnapped is taken from the scene by John and the Terminator as the attempt to leave the city and reach safety as it seems the T-X is not the only pending threat to humanity, and Clare’s father many hold a key to survival. It seems that the elder Brewster is a General in charge of a computer network know as “Skynet” and with a virus on the lose in the nations systems, Skynet may have to be activated to control vital defense systems.
It is at this point that the films shifts into overdrive as a series of action and chase sequences ensue including a spectacular car chase involving a gigantic crane as John and Kate attempt to save the world and themselves from death and total devastation.

To say the film is action packed would be an understatement as Schwarzenegger is at the top of his game and once again shows that he is the top action star in the world and despite some recent setbacks, at 54 he is still king of the hill. His Terminator blends action and humor without ever losing his sense of brutal efficiency and determination to complete his mission no matter what the cost.

Stahl and Danes have good chemistry with one another and are elevated beyond the typical characters in distress role. Stahl plays Connors as a lonely man who is unsure of his destiny and is haunted by the notion that he is to be the savior of humanity as he feels he can barely take care of himself. However, when the chips are down, Connors like Brewster find an inner fire and strength that will ensure their place in history when their destinies arrive.

One of the biggest surprises in the film is that of Loken as she plays the T-X with a mix of brutality and sensuality. Unlike Robert Patrick’s chilling turn as the T-1000 in the last film, Loken plays the T-X as a deadly and brutal killer who takes satisfaction in her tasks, but is not above a dry sense of humor and a sense of style and fashion. She is beauty and the beast in one and is easily a match for Arnold’s Terminator. Loken mixes a quiet intensity with a steel gaze as she dispatches those in her way only showing any hint of emotion when she is killing 4like a predatory cat toying with her prey.

The FX in the film are solid and Stan Winston once again shows off his skills, as the designs of the machines are first-rate. The action is relentless and it is nice to see that real stunts were used for many sequences instead of being created by CGI thus giving a sense of reality and unforced spectacle to the action that recent films such as “The Matrix Reloaded” and “Hulk” seemed to lack.

This is not to say that T3 is not without issues. The film does not have the depth of story and the emotional attachment that the previous two films had, and character development is mostly nodded at as much of the premise was established in the previous films. Some viewers may take the lack of depth in the script to task and may also for many “T3” may be a hard one to judge as to many people it will be different things. I can see how some will take it one way and others will find issue with it differing from the originals and perhaps the ending of the film. I prefer to look at the film as an enjoyable Summer film that is entertaining and continues a great series and is easily the most satisfying and entertaining of the Summer blockbusters and I do not think I am going out on a limb by saying that the Terminator will be back.

3.5 stars out of 5