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Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines - Feature

Feature by: Jack Foley

THREE may be the magic number, in music terms, but in Hollywood, it is often to be found wanting.

Think Jaws 3, Alien 3, Godfather 3 and Superman 3, and you have every reason to fear the worst from Terminator 3 - especially since the killer team behind the first two movies has been considerably weakened due to the high-profile departure of several key players.

First off, there's no James Cameron, the director and writer of T1 and T2.

Then, what of Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton); dead and buried; while her son, John, has ceased being Edward Furlong, and become Nick Stahl.

Then there's the rumours of troubled shoots and extensive script re-writes... the list seems endless.

And yet, T3 remains a good movie; one which, while not quite in the same league as the first two, is a worthy way of extending the franchise, and which seems less of an attempt to make a fast buck than certain sequels this Summer.

In truth, it even seems like a labour of love for many of the new players; as well as its returning star (and the main reason for seeing it), Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Arnie claims he has always wanted to do a third film in the series - citing an internet campaign among fans as ample reason - but had been keen to bring Cameron with him.

Yet he bears no grudges that his long-time director buddy (the two also worked on True Lies), took the decision not to come back, describing Cameron as 'an explorer', rather than a director, and wishing him every success in 'moving on'.

Arnie, himself, remains passionate about the role and, according to some reports, is often seen wearing the bullet-riddled jackets from T1 and T2 during Sunday afternoon motorcycle trips.

Such is his passion for the project, that he is said to have put up some of his own money when he decided that the movie came up short on some action sequences.

According to Entertainment Weekly, for instance, he added $1.4 million worth of effects shots for an extended chase sequence which forms the movie's barnstorming centrepiece.

And his enthusiasm for the fight scenes, as borne out by co-star Kristanna Loken, is second to none; he would frequently bring his own ideas to certain scenes.

EW, once more, relates an interesting anecdote about a fight sequence between the Terminator and the T-X, and the decision to include the toilet bowl dunking sequence in the finished movie.

"How often do you get away with this?' asks Arnie, in the interview... "To take a woman, grab her upside down, and bury her face in the toilet bowl?"

The finished movie, itself, is said to have cost somewhere in excess of $170 million, but even director, Jonathan Mostow, feels it is money well spent.

In an interview with BBC Online, he said he did not enter into the project lightly, but viewed it as a fan, and tried to develop it in a way that fans would agree with.

And as for any notion that it could be the weakest in the series, he is quick to point out the difference between most third films in a franchise, and The Rise of the Machines....

"The reason, usuall,y is the studio rushes out another one for business reasons... I have Arnold Schwarzenegger, the famous character of the Terminator, a huge budget, and big special effects in this movie, but in my opinion the star of the movie must always be the story. If you don't have that, you shouldn't make the movie."

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