It became the in thing to make apocalyptic predictions before the year 2000. The Terminator franchise prophesied a Robot uprising in the year 1997, but it is hard to forecast doom if that date comes and goes without nary a metallic massacre. In 2003, Skynet once again set out to rectify that mistake in the ominously titled Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.
With the supposed judgement day of ’97 long gone. John Connor must deal with the realisation all his life of preparation, may have been for nothing. Still afraid that he’s wrong, he’s been living low avoiding attention. Meanwhile, Skynet has sent a sexy new droid, the T-X, back to 2003, to assassinate other key figures in The Resistance. Targets such as the daughter of an Air force General and The Resistance sends back a Terminator. Once again, it’s up to an Austrian accented T-800 to protect both John and his future wife and stop Skynet before it can begin.
As has become traditional with each new Terminator flick, we get a new flashy T-number to mess up the time continuum. This time, Kristanna Loken takes the role as the new T-X, she’s a formidable threat armed with a Plasma-cannon, better Martial prowess than the T-800, and those leather jacket/ trouser combos were all the rage in the mid-2000s. We see the now grown-up John Connor, played by Nick Stahl. Still managing to pack a punch almost 20 years on is Arnold Schwarzenegger as the classic T-800, an unwelcome sight for Connor, who saw the exact model sacrifice himself before him years ago. We meet also Connor’s Future wife, Kate, a vet who must transition to humans to help the war effort. Her inclusion helps shine some light on The Resistance, who apart from Connor and Reece, haven’t had much information delved about them.
The troubling issue of what to do with Skynet, post-1997, is handled rather well, and the film manages to up the stakes from Judgement Day by getting the US military involved. This allows for some impressive set piece in government command centres and fun brawls involving high-powered particle accelerators, the film also falls back on classic arsenal depleting chases on the asphalt.
Despite passing its apocalyptic sell-by date, Terminator 3 cleverly resolves and reboots the threads set up decades before, Connor and the T-800 continue to be an interesting team with newer conflicts for the now-grown Connor to face. And gallons of actions, explosions, and quips to keep you engaged until the film’s clever conclusion. Whether it was planned from the beginning or through some sort of chrono-intervention, The Terminator franchise is back, as he always promised.
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