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Last Updated: Thursday, 31 July, 2003, 14:50 GMT 15:50 UK
T3 still top class

By Stephen Dowling
BBC News Online entertainment staff

Kristanna Loken as the TX
This time Connor has to evade an improved Terminator
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, sees Arnold Schwarzenegger return to his most famous role after 12 years.

Pity poor Arnie. By rights, the promise of a third instalment of the Terminator series should have been the blockbuster spectacle of the summer. As it happens, all eyes have been on The Matrix Reloaded and The Hulk.

With the Austrian Oak a veritable veteran of the action flick genre at 55, there have been grave concerns he is too old to once again take up the role of the futuristic cyborg.

But the happy news is T3, for the most part, is just plain fun, riddled with dazzling chases, explosions aplenty and some unashamedly self-referential gags.

Improved Terminator

John Connor (Nick Stahl), the future leader of Earth's resistance forces, is now in his 20s and on the run, already having survived two assassination attempt from machines from the future.

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Nick Stahl
Schwarzenegger once again plays a protective cyborg

In the coming years Connor will lead a victorious resistance force that will destroy the machine's empire.

He keeps outside of normal society, but after a bike accident he is forced to break into a vet's office for drugs - a hospital visit could give away his whereabouts to the time-travelling Terminators.

He is reunited with an old flame, Kate Brewster (Clare Danes) and another old face - a T-800 model Terminator (Schwarzenegger) sent from the future to protect him.

Nuclear threat

The nemesis this time is a TX, a shape-changing female Terminator, more than a match for Arnie's obsolete design, played by former model Kristanna Loken.

At the same time, Kate Brewster's father, an air force general, is grappling with a computer virus that threatens to black out the world's computers - and put to sleep America's nuclear defences.

Arnold Schwarzenegger
The film includes some jaw-dropping battles

The apparent saviour is the powerful Skynet computer - but General Brewster is worried about one computer controlling the country's nukes (with good cause, as the nuclear war which erupts and leads to machine domination is a result of Skynet).

Schwarzenegger plays his most famous role in an admirably straight fashion, and the script is riddled with amusing lines and some moments of great comedy.

Director Jonathan Mostow deserves congratulation for bringing a much-needed light touch to a franchise that, by all rights, should have gone to the breaker's yard some time ago.

Cool it is not. But it is much more fun than The Matrix.

What do you think? This debate is now closed. Please see below for a selection of your comments.

I go to be entertained, and this movie thoroughly entertained me. I love all types of movies and judge them for what they are. This was an action movie, and it delivered in spades, fast, explosive, and (unexpectedly) funny. I'd totally recommend that you see this movie. Oh, and I'm in the sequel, come on, you KNOW it'll be at least...entertaining.
Luke, Toronto, Canada

Arnold is who he is: a cultural icon, a hero to millions of people, the pillar of fitness, family values and anything else. Whatever he does is good. Everyone else, step off and take a look at yourselves. As soon as all of you combined accomplish what he has (never) then maybe you can judge his work.
Mark Gossett, USA

The best Terminator film so far. Non-stop action from start to finish. If you think it's bad then you're not a fan!
Chris, Uk

Garbage. This is exactly what Hollywood is giving us the viewer. Why can't we see serious films? This film if you put it up next to the others is a comedy, in fact people left the theatre during the viewing I saw. I think films like this are a disgrace to directors and writers around the world and if this is what Hollywood is going to put up as their best films of the year, well...
Jason, Canada

Fab! Funny, fast and furious! Action movies are not my favourite genre but I love the Terminator series. When do we get number 4?
Ali, Netherlands

Great film T3, love all the effects. I'm missing James Cameron's directions and the dark side of the two first films, but the film is holding up anyway. If there is a no. 4 please keep to the original setup, and keep of all the humour. Arnie is still going strong.
Jan Byrdal, Denmark

I saw the flick last night and it sure was more comical than the previous two, seems they get lighter as they go on. Although there was all the action expected in such a movie, I found myself a bit oblivious to it.Seems like the audience has been hardened or was there just too much going on for one to comprehend?

Whatever the reason it was entertaining, it's refreshing to see a bit of a tongue-in-cheek Arnie do his Terminator thing - after all, we only laugh at it when it gets too serious.
Marcus, Zurich, Switzerland

WOW! I never thought it would happen, but wow, a great movie. It's not as deep as T2, but as an action flick it's great. The action starts almost straight away and continues right through to the last minute. Well done Arnie.
Chris Brogden, UK

It just did not do it for me. Obviously a big budget was used for the stunts, which are worth seeing, but any true movie fan could tell you that stunts alone won't cut it if the content is lacking. John Connor was wholly unconvincing, the TX (Terminatrix) did little to suggest she was a credible and real threat to the future of mankind.

The only real saving grace was Arnie, back in his most famous role, who else could carry off the role so well? He was sometimes funny, but I couldn't help thinking, "Do I want to be laughing during a Terminator film?" But it seems they took the best parts from the T2, the bike, the shades, the car chase, and used them again in the same order with a few new stunts thrown in for good measure. Disappointed. 5/10
Steven Griffin, Oz

Absolutely fantastic - the film went well and truly beyond my expectations. Arnie, alarmingly enough, is still in great shape despite being 55, and the pace of the film never slows down. Clare Danes also adds an extra depth to the cast. With a very shocking ending (which is quite un-Hollywood), there is plenty of room for a sequel. I certainly look forward to it!
Matt Fincham, UK

I have already seen this film, and let me tell you this: The Matrix motorway chase is boring compared to this one. You gotta see it to believe it.
Tony C, London, UK

Terrible. Imagine that a marketing department got to write a screenplay. This is it. No art. Little fun. Tons of product placement and so much CGI that you'll question the reality of your popcorn. Take a deep breath and think about how dumb Hollywood thinks you are.

Remember the original Terminator, when you were horrified at the thought that your very history could be erased? The latest installment is equally terrifying, but only because Hollywood thinks that a fireworks display will distract you from the complete absence of plot, character or tension. You want better movies? Stop paying for garbage like this and maybe Hollywood will get the message.
Jamie Lewis, NY, USA

Terminator was never meant to have a "light touch". It's a film about a post-apocalyptic world ruled by belligerent, pernicious robots. In a world dominated by light-hearted comedies, a no-nonsense Terminator sequel is what was needed. T3 is a bit of a let-down for me.
James Milne, United Kingdom

Lucky enough to go to the UK première, enjoyed the experience. As far as the film itself is concerned they've followed the same formula as the other two, in terms of action, chases etc. So the film doesn't really go far wrong. Nice special effects, you can see how things have moved on since T2. Some funny one-liners in there as well.

There's a few short scenes that don't quite work and you find yourself laughing at them. Because the overall story has now been stretched out for another sequel, it feels a bit souless. It's not up there with T2, but its a good couple of hours entertainment.
Rich Weremiuk, UK

T3 is great fun and in my opinion is a much better film than Matrix Reloaded. While compared to its predecessors it probably isn't quite as good plot-wise it more than makes up for it with its blistering pace, including a car chase scene which is absolutely eye-popping.

The cast is also very good although their are a few gaping holes in the plot and some of the dialogue is cringeworthy but hey, it's an Arnie film and it moves at such frenetic pace you forgive the makers for these flaws. Combined with some good laughs and a surprisingly bold ending T3 is probably the best blockbuster I've seen, so far, this year.
James Waller, UK

Absolute comedy! At first, I was a bit shocked as to how unrealistic and OTT the effects etc. were. However, I soon settled into the mood of the film!

I have to say after watching T2 on Sunday (27/07) T3 is on a different level! Special effects obviously made a huge impact in T2, but now obviously every film has effects to a standard. Therefore it was always going to be difficult to emulate the previous advances made, to the producers credit they didn't focus on this as a selling point to the film. Although the chase scenes were excellent!

Overall highly entertaining, if you are after an action movie, with a few laughs along the way, make sure you don't miss out on this.
Matty L, England

A lame rehash of terminator two. This time, bad actors (not that Arnie could ever act), same old script.
Anon, Hong Kong

I must admit, I laughed all the way through this film. I thought it was hilarious. The whole film is totally tongue-in-cheek. From Arnie hamming his way through the whole film, to the utterly hilarious effects, this was a film of comic genius.

People who go to see this as the third in the Terminator action films are in for a big disappointment. People who go to see Arnie's latest comedy film are in for a treat.
Mike Goodwin, UK

That is the best movie of the year! Well done Arnie, you are the man! Not bad for a 56 year old.
John, Australia

Not as memorable as the first two but this is good, clean disposable entertainment. However, a 4th film may be pushing it too much. Arnie should consider this his swansong.
Paul, UK

Senator refuses to support Arnie
30 Jun 03  |  Entertainment
Schwarzenegger: I'll be back
17 May 03  |  Entertainment
Schwarzenegger sues game firm
26 Sep 01  |  Entertainment

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