He's back! Arnie returns in Terminator 3

Preview by Jack Foley

HE has made a career of promising ‘he’ll be back’ so it is little wonder that Arnold Schwarzenegger - an actor in need of a massive hit after a string of flops - has returned to the role that made him famous.

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines is scheduled for release in August 2003 and has to rate among the most eagerly-anticipated of this or any year.

Yet anyone thinking that the mere presence of Arnie in a black leather jacket should provide the basis for one of the year’s highest grossers (if not the highest!) had better think twice - for T3 is missing some vital components.

Gone is director James Cameron (the brains behind the first two instalments), as is Linda Hamilton and Edward Furlong. Replacing them are Jonathan Mostow, in the director’s chair, and the likes of Claire Danes, Nick Stahl and blonde newcomer, Kristanna Loken, as the shape-shifting, ‘Ultimate Terminator’.

The plot, however, remains pretty much the same. Arnie is back to re-rescue the saviour of the future, John Connor (Stahl), from a new, even more lethal and indestructible form of terminator - the twist being that the new T-X is a woman.

Arnie has taken over a decade to finally return to the role of the T-800 and has allegedly been paid $30 million to do so, even though his attempts to convince long-time friend, Cameron, to hop on board proved fruitless.

Cameron maintains that he wasn’t interested in a third Terminator, opting instead to pursue other projects (including the latest George Clooney/Steven Soderbergh collaboration, Solaris).

He even states, in an interview with this month's Total Film magazine, that Arnie made a last-ditch bid for him to direct it, being reluctant so sign back on board a franchise without its creator. But Cameron insisted that Arnie take it on, suggesting that he ask for a 'shit-pile' of money and telling him that he had 'earned' the right to reprise the role alone.

"The character's as much yours as it is mine at this point," he added.

Having been persuaded, however, it is hardly surprising to find that Arnie remains upbeat about the prospects of the movie’s success, while the producers are so confident that fans will dig the feminine T-X that the idea of a fourth film is already being discussed.

In an interview with Cinema magazine about the T-X, for example, Arnie is quoted as promising that she ‘will kick ass’, describing her as the sort of person ‘that you never want to meet in your life because she is more than devilish’.

On the downside, however, Schwarzenegger has also confirmed that a major script rewrite did take place, confessing that the first draft ‘wasn't so good’, but promising that the second is ‘really good’.

And in director, Mostow, they have one of the emerging talents in Hollywood, someone who has already demonstrated a considerable flair for tense action set pieces in lesser films such as Breakdown (Kurt Russell) and U-571.

The trailer also looks promising (it can be seen on several Lord of the Rings: Two Towers prints), while the latest catchphrase is, as you’d expect, a variation on the same thing. Instead of promising audiences that ‘I’ll be back’, Arnie is now seen to quip ‘she’ll be back’ - but does it really sound the same?

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