TERMINATOR 3: RISE OF THE MACHINES
John Connor (Nick Stahl) is now a 22 year old loner, living on the run and out sight, forever mindful of the threat of the machines that he helped stop reaching their goal of destroying mankind on Judgment Day a decade earlier (T2 Judgement Day). But the machines are rising and from the future comes the latest killing machine programmed to finally find and destroy Connor, this time together with others like Kate Brewster (Calire Danes) who would in the future become his lieutenants in the human resistance movement. T-X (Kristanna Loken) is the most sophisticated cyborg ever built, even more destruction-resistant and adaptable than the T-1000 before her. But T-X is just the advance party for the machines that are now on the brink of being self aware and ready to destroy mankind in a ghastly holocaust. A replica Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger), also sent back from the future and programmed to protect Connor and Brewster, is their only hope of avoiding death and with them the hopes of humanity. But T-X even has the capability of re-programming
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
The indestructible meets the unterminatable – again, and the forces of good (mankind) and evil (computer controlled machinery) clash in spectacular fashion. And I say fashion advisedly: T-X (Kristanna Loken) is a Beverly Hills dressed cyborg in sexy high heels, and Terminator still gets up in a grrrrr! leather ensemble (this one acquisitioned from a gay stripper in a saloon on Ladies Night), with a designer shotgun as accessory 1. Accessory 2 is the cool set of shades (several), and Arnie still cuts a formidable figure. His stony faced (but secretly knowing) humour is also intact, with new lines destined for the Arnie lexicon: when told to “drop dead you bastard” Terminator’s po-faced reply is “I’m unable to comply.” It’s a line I plan to use frequently in preference to the boring “no”. Of course, the wry comic touches are but interstitials in what is a relentless action film, held in sharp focus by a clear and basically straight forward story, with just a couple of well placed twists and turns. The muted opening sequences establishing John Connor’s persona and status match the film’s muted but foreboding ending, adding a dramatic layer to the film’s thematic substance. The impossibly extended and enormous stunts in the first big chase of the film prepare us for several elaborate action pieces. Indeed, I’m a little uncomfortable with the volume of destruction in the film, and while I recognise that this is the film’s territory, the quantity is probably more market driven than creatively necessary. There isn’t much that Arnie can or should do as his own T replica, and his physical fitness belies the ageing process. (I’m talking muscle tone, not facial tissue fiddling.) Nick Stahl is outstanding as the accidental hero and saviour of the future, neither too nerdy nor too slick but a credible, complex young man thrust into an extreme situation. Claire Danes’s Kate is also a credible character, but it’s the deadliness and persona of the baddie that really makes an action film, and Kristanna Loken is pretty good. Perhaps not quite in the same league as Robert Patrick, her boo-hiss predecessor, the T-1000, but I guess it’s hard to look like an angel and kill like the devil. If you’re a fan of futuristic action films, science friction, T3 is plenty satisfying. In fact, as an admirer of T2 as one of the truly great action films, I am happy to add T3 to the list.
Review by Louise Keller:
It’s sizzling hot! A splendid action-filled fantasy thriller with a decent storyline, a great cast and exhilarating stunts, Terminator 3 stands up to scrutiny and lives up to all expectations. Hallelujah! It may not be as complete a work as James Cameron’s Terminator 2, which still remains in my mind as one of the all-time great modern-day action movies, but director Jonathan Mostow (U-571, Breakdown) has been faithful to the original style with an awesome result. First and foremost, great care has been taken with the script with enough references to the previous films to connect it, but not too many to parody it. Nick Stahl is a terrific choice for John Connor; he is intelligent, vulnerable and oozes with charisma. Claire Danes, reminiscent of the young Sarah Connor, is simply superb, wearing her heart on her sleeve and allowing us to view the terminators through her innocent eyes. There’s plenty of chemistry bubbling under the surface between the two of them, even though the only physical contact they have is touching hands. Anyone who thinks that Arnold Schwarzenegger at 57 is too old and washed up, will have to think again. Arnie looks great – even when, or dare I say - especially when, he is totally naked. The role fits Schwarzenegger like a glove, allowing his imposing physique to do all the talking, adding the robotic and mono-tonic delivery of lines like ‘talk to the hand’ and ‘your levity is good: it relieves tension and fear of death’. But he is not the only one to make his first appearance totally naked. The deadly, sophisticated and sublimely curvaceous T-X killing machine, played by 5’11” blonde New York model Kristanna Loken makes quite an impact in her ‘birthing scene’, and although the character may not have the gravitas of Arnie’s terminator, she is visually striking and a formidably icy cold adversary. In a high-speed chase sequence to rival The Matrix Reloaded’s highway action thrills, hang onto your hats and hold your breath as the T-X rams a 100-ton crane through the city streets with Arnie hooked onto the end, squashing car metal and smashing into a glass building in a single sweep. I especially like the stunt when the vehicle driven by the Terminator, with passengers John and Kate rockets under a massive truck and as it speeds out the other side, becomes a convertible by necessity, not choice. Needless to say, there are a few laughs when Arnie states ‘We need a new vehicle’. Propelled by the storyline, the stunts and special effects keep coming – and many are mind-blowing. So buckle up for a blast of adrenalin: T-3 is here.
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TERMINATOR 3: RISE OF THE MACHINES (M)
CAST: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Nick Stahl, Claire Danes, Kristanna Loken, David Andrews, Mark Famiglietti, Earl Boen, Moira Harris, Chopper Bernet
PRODUCER: Mario Kassar, Hal Lieberman, Joel B. Michael, Nigel Sinclair, Andrew G. Vajna, Colin Wilson
DIRECTOR: Jonathan Mostow
SCRIPT: John D. Brancato, Michael Ferris (story by John D. Brancato, Michael Ferris, Tedi Sarafian; characters by James Cameron, Gale Anne Hurd)
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Don Burgess
EDITOR: Neil Travis (co-editor: Nicolas De Toth)
MUSIC: Marco Beltrami (theme - Brad Fiedel)
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Jeff Mann
RUNNING TIME: 109 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Columbia TriStar
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: July 17, 2003
RIVERSIDE SCREEN PREMIERES
A program of premiere screenings of new movies prior to their commercial release
on 6 consecutive Tuesdays, starts February 17, 2015 at Riverside Theatre,
Curated & presented by Andrew L. Urban, discussion to
follow with special guests. Briefing notes provided.