Terminator 3:
Rise of the Machines

Dir: Jonathan Mostow
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Kristanna Loken, Nick Stahl, Claire Danes

With an eminently satisfying crunch, Arnie makes an almost-triumphat return to prove he's still got it, even as heads towards age 60. That is, as long as "it" involves hitting things and issuing one-liners, rather than any genuine acting, of course. They hardly even bother setting this up, presuming - probably correctly - that everyone in the audience has seen the earlier entries, or at least knows the necessary details (future machines, blah, time-travel, blah, good/bad cyborgs, blah, explosions). This absence of exposition saves time, allowing it to be better spent elsewhere. Such as on copious amounts of property destruction.

The bad robot this time is female, though very little attention is paid to this. Loken has an icy cool befitting her former career as a model. with her hair always perfect, no matter how borderline nuclear the adjacent explosion may be. Stahl, as the now-slacker John Connor, and Danes, playing an old schoolmate, are largely irrelevant, so their lack of chemistry isn't much of a problem. Fortunately, the two cyborgs hit it off perfectly: specifically, they hit off walls, buildings, cars and each other, with refreshing frequency. A great brawl and a fabulous chase involving a mobile crane are the highlights, but this is the kind of mindless actioner for which summer was made. After some early disappointments, I declare the 2003 season open.


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