Revisiting Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines

Plot: Now 25, Connor (Nick Stahl) lives with no record of his existence — no way he can be traced by Skynet. Out of the shadows of the future steps the T-X (Kristanna Loken), Skynet’s most sophisticated cyborg killing machine yet. Now Connor’s only hope for survival is the Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger), his mysterious former assassin. Together, they must triumph over the technologically superior T-X and forestall the looming threat of Judgment Day.

The first time I watched Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines I remember not quite knowing what to feel; the action was certainly spectacular but it felt more like a parody of the first two films for the most part with far too much humour. The “talk to the hand” scene was excruciating and then when the Terminator put on those sunglasses I nearly started crying.

Nick Stahl acted well in the role of John Connor and yet I never quite believed him in the role as he seemed to lack that grit required to feel like an authentic badass soldier; the character is meant to be 25 years old at this point so he should be tougher. I think the big mistake was not being able to bring back Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor which is something they will be rectifying in the 6th Terminator movie due out next year.

Claire Danes is essentially in the Connor role as a girl next door called Kate Brewster who is forced to become a warrior as she realises this man who she initially thought was crazy is correct and Skynet is very much a real threat.

Enter the T-X (Kristanna Loken) the next step up from the T-1000 except a bit crap and may well be my least favourite Terminator of the series. Loken does a fine job with what she is given and manages to be attractive and menacing however, there is nothing all that exciting or new about the T-X.

I watched the movie again recently and although all my complaints still stand it is actually pretty entertaining with the final 15 minutes being some of the most devastating in the series. They finally got the tone right and the film ended…

The action is huge in this movie with an impressive car chase featuring the Terminator smashing through buildings while hanging off a truck as the T-X drives in pursuit of its prey. So the movie is never dull and has plenty of large (and R-rated) set-pieces to keep action fans happy.

The score by Marco Beltrami is a fine action movie score… but isn’t the Terminator music. Yes, we get the theme during the end credits but for some reason no one has come close to Brad Fiedel’s industrial perfection that is Terminator 2. Let’s hope they get that right for part 6.

After nearly 15 years Terminator 3 isn’t a patch on the first two sci-fi classics but it is entertaining enough and the finale is worth the price of entry alone.