Terminator 3 - Rise of the Machines
Okay, I have to admit I'm
not the ideal fan to review this third installment in the Terminator
franchise. I have only once seen the first movie on video, and I
thought is was pretty good, but nowhere near as good as I'd been told all
these years (particularly the "mind-blowing" surprise ending, anyone who has
ever seen a time travel movie should have seen that one coming a mile away.)
I have never seen Terminator 2. I have no great love of the
world James Cameron created, so I don't find it offensive that he has
nothing to do with this third film. I refuse to refer to the movies
with initials. I'm not a huge fan of big, dumb action pictures.
I would seem to be the completely wrong person to go see Terminator 3 and
Funny thing is, I liked this
movie a lot more than I thought I would. Oh, sure, it'll never win any
Academy Awards and the film was created with the express creed that you
should never blow up five things when you can blow up fifty. It's big,
loud, boisterous and makes no sense if you really think about it. The
series has even lost its ability to craft a popular catch phrase.
"Talk to the hand" was pretty hackneyed back when Fran Drescher was using it
in Beautician & the Beast six years ago. None of this matters,
Terminator 3 is good popcorn fun.
I have come to realize that
the Terminator is the perfect character for Arnold Schwarzenegger. The
robot doesn't speak much English, he doesn't understand much going on around
him, he has no sense of humor, nor does he show much of any emotion at all.
All he has to do is look strong and fight. Perfect. This may
sound like a bit of a slam, and I guess in a way it is, but I really mean it
as a compliment. They tell writers to write what you know, well that
goes with actors, too. No one will ever believe Arnold Schwarzenegger
as the Pope or a doctor or an evil partner at a law firm, but this role
suits him so well and he has so much fun with it that it is infectious.
The new actors are fine in
pretty throwaway roles. Claire Danes plays a professional victim who will go
on to lead the revolution. Nick Stahl plays John Connor (the character
played by Edward Furlong in the second installment) and he has the haunted
rootless looks and feel of a man who is expected to be greater than he
thinks is within him. Kristanna Loken is beautiful and kind of funny
as a female cyborg, though she doesn't seem to have the sly pleasure with
the character that Arnold is having.
The story gets a little
needlessly complicated, but everytime the story starts to flag a series of
car crashes or submachine gun fire or robot attacks goose things back into
high gear. The film ends with a very blatant set up for the next
installment in the series. At least, for the first time in this almost
twenty-year-old franchise, I'm looking forward to the sequel... just so long
as it isn't called Terminator 4: Rise of the Recall Governors.
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Posted: August 15, 2003.