Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines

Thursday, June 18, 2009


People often complain that Terminator 2 was too kid-friendly – there were too many lame attempts at humour. Well, I've never had a problem with T2, preferring it to the original, but with Rise of the Machines the franchise goes too far. The most gut-wrenchingly awful bit has to be the infamous "talk to da hand" scene. What the hell? The Terminator should have smashed the fucker’s head into the counter, not sassed him.

And the scene that inspires this response is just as bad – the scene where a naked Arnie walks into a club and gets 'dissed' by an exceedingly camp stripper. "Woah, bitch, wait your turn," the imbecile says. And then when Arnie asks for his clothes we get the "talk to the hand" line. I don't care how deeply Edward Furlong annoyed you, or how hard you laughed when Arnie tried to express machine emotions, it's nowhere near as bad as the series becoming like something you'd see on Ricki Lake.

Plus the stripping scene hits the nail far too hard on the head. Yes, we know that as much as he loves groping young ladies, Arnie is overwhelmingly gay, but the homosexuality present in his films should be less overt – where's the fun if it's handed to you on a plate? Commando certainly wouldn't have warranted repeated viewings or extended analysis if there'd been a scene where Bennett had caressed Matrix's toned ass. And then to further confound matters, there's a moment when, dressed like a leather daddy, Arnie puts on some Elton John sunglasses as 'Macho Man' plays in the background. The Terminator has become a laughing stock.

But this moment isn't a one off. At quite a few different points in time, Arnie seems to be sending himself and the film up. There's one bit where he's driving John Connor (Nick Stahl) and Kate Brewster (Claire Danes) to safety and he tells Danes to "shut up". But the line delivery is tongue in cheek. Who knew that machines could be knowingly mischievous? Another awful moment is when Arnie insists that he's not a robot but a cybernetic organism. Yay, the Terminator is politically correct now as well. (Next we'll probably get a black Terminator who insists he's a 'cybernetic organism of colour'.)

And yet another indignity Arnie has to face is when his system gets corrupted by the TX. He has to enter the William Shatner school of acting – writhing in pain as he fights against himself. It's a lousy scene.

Not fairing any better is the TX – or the Terminatrix [vomit]. She doesn't have the menace of the T-1000, plus she has a goofy machine arm that can spew flames and laser bolts. [vomit again] And while Robert Patrick looked cold as ice and ridiculously intense, Kristanna Loken looks like a bland, mildly bored fashionista – Patrick subverted the image of a cop, while Loken gets to wear flairs and high heels.

Another detail that illustrates how lacklustre Loken's performance is is the way she tilts her head when she controls other machines with her gnarly powers. This cliché has been worn to death. It's something you'd expect to see on a bad TV show, not a massive blockbuster. And although Loken gets to kill children and shoot people in the face, all her slayings (with one notable exception) are rather dull. They lack flair. (The exception is the scene where the TX rams her fist through a man’s chest and drives the car from the back seat – nice!)

But this aside, the action is disappointing. Even the much lauded crane chase fails to get the blood pumping – it certainly pales in comparison to the storm drain chase in T2. And the TX/T-800 fight is a poor imitation of the fight at the end of Judgment Day and the shootout in the graveyard is a second rate version of the T2 scene at the Cyberdyne offices. It just doesn't have the same intensity. And while part of this is due to the fact that the film's too light-hearted, it's also because the film desperately misses Brad Fiedel's score – the music is completely anonymous.

Another problem is that there's far too much obvious CGI. Just take the fight between Arnie and the TX in the toilets. There are far too many moments when you can clearly see that it's badly rendered computer models that are getting thrown about. It takes you out of the film. And speaking of CGI, why is it that the effects in T2 look so much better than the ones here? The damage that the TX takes isn't as convincing as the hits that the T-1000 takes, the brief glimpse that we get of the endoskeletons are crap and Skynet's vehicles and weaponry are awful. Maybe it's because T2, as pioneering as it was in its use of CGI, used a lot of physical effects too. Here you just feel that the filmmakers have got lazy. (By the way, what's with those crappy pot-bellied tank things? Whoever designed them should hang their head in shame.)

About the only thing that works in the film is the ending. It's much better than it has any right to be. But it doesn't erase the crap that comes before it. Rise of the Machines is a dreadful film.

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2 comments

  1. Terminator 3 is good movie, i love to watch Arnold movies he is great performer in this movie he look like a real machine,And the end of this world is really sad to watch but entertained.I like this blog here is great discussion about terminator series. I have a site also where you can Watch Action movies

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