Review by: Jack Foley | Rating:
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Cast and crew commentary from Arnold
Schwarzenegger, Jonathan Mostow, Nick Stahl, Kristanna Loken and
Claire Danes; Deleted scenes; Outtakes; Introduction by Arnold
Schwarzenegger; Documentary; 'Dressed To Kill' featurette; Making
of the video game featurette; Storyboards; 'Toys In Action' featurette;
Visual effects featurettes; Photo galleries; Terminator timeline;
Weblink - Rom link into web/game demo; T3 video game trailer;
Blooper reel; Filmographies; Skynet database. Weapons/actor profiles;
7 Easter eggs.
ITS been over a decade since Arnold Schwarzenegger promised
audiences that hed be back - and while much has changed
since then, some things remain the same.
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines is virtually a re-run of its
predecessors, albeit with grander special effects, louder explosions
and a little more humour.
Yet while the spectacle remains intact, the plot and, dare I
say, character development, which helped to make the first two
movies so innovative, has sadly not come back with it.
T3 is symptomatic of the current trend for placing action and
special effects above all else, remaining a visual feast throughout,
without really challenging viewers to think.
In set piece terms, it is almost as unrelenting as the machines
which drive proceedings, while the sub-head, Rise of the Machines,
could quite easily be replaced with Rise of the SFX. For, on a
technical scale, it is right up there with The
Matrix and Lord of the Rings.
Yet while James Camerons original played up the emotional
torment of Linda Hamiltons heroine, Sarah Connor, and challenged
audiences to think about mans growing dependence on computers,
and its sequel, Judgement Day, succeeded in portraying a genuinely
affecting emotional bond between Edward Furlongs John Connor
and Schwarzeneggers protector, T3 seems merely content to
blow stuff up.
Not that this is a bad thing, of course (and, to be fair, there
is more plot than most blockbusters we have recently had to endure
of late), its just a shame that one of the genre-definers
has succumbed to the dumbing down theory that places
visual trickery above everything else.
It is in this department that the absence of Cameron, Hamilton
and co is most sorely felt.
But to dismiss T3 out of hand would be foolhardly, for there
is still plenty to enjoy for fans of the series - beginning with
the return of Arnie in that black outfit and shades.
While recent attempts to extend his range have proved disastrous,
Schwarzenegger is on much surer footing here, and seems to revel
in the opportunity to get back into the limelight, showing a nice
line in self-deprecating humour, while dispensing the cheesy one-liners
almost as frequently as the bullets.
His adversary, this time, is the TX (played by shapely model,
Kristanna Loken), the
latest of Skynets sophisticated cyborg killing machines,
sent back in time to complete the job left unfinished by her predecessor,
the T-1000 - and she, too, delivers the required thrills, proving
very nimble when it comes to the fight sequences.
For while Mr Connor (Nick Stahl) may have thought he had triumphed
against the machines at the end of T2, he had only delayed the
inevitable, and, 10 years on, the latest threat to mankind is
just hours away, as the military struggles to contain a computer
virus that could leave Americas defence systems vulnerable
Hence, the Terminator is not only charged with trying to protect
John once more, but also his soon-to-be second-in-command, Kate
(Claire Danes), whose father holds the key to Skynets future.
Director, Jonathan Mostow (Breakdown/U-571), does a decent job
of furthering the story, throwing in a couple of neat twists,
while also paying homage to the first films in the series, and
even daring to end things on a sombre note (possibly, with his
eye on a fourth film in the lucrative franchise).
But it is during the audacious action sequences that he really
excels, with an opening chase involving a lorry and a fire truck,
and the inevitable brawl between Arnie and Loken, likely to have
He also coaxes a strong performance out of Stahl (the child star
of Mel Gibsons Man without A Face, who has since appeared
in The Thin Red Line and In
The Bedroom), who does more than anyone to play up the emotion.
Yet this is mostly about the spectacle and, in spite of its failings,
you cant help but feel a tingle of excitement when a worn-out
Arnie promises Stahl that they will meet again. Lets just
hope it doesnt take another 12 years!