Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB. USA/Germany/United Kingdom, 2003. C-2 Pictures, Intermedia Films, IMF Internationale Medien und Film GmbH & Co. 3. Produktions KG, Mostow/Lieberman Productions. Story by John D. Brancato, Michael Ferris, Tedi Sarafian, Screenplay by John D. Brancato, Michael Ferris, based on characters created by James Cameron, Gale Anne Hurd. Cinematography by Don Burgess. Produced by Matthias Deyle, Mario Kassar, Hal Lieberman, Joel B. Michaels, Andrew G. Vajna, Colin Wilson. Music by Marco Beltrami. Production Design by Jeff Mann. Costume Design by April Kerry. Film Editing by Nicolas De Toth, Neil Travis. Phoenix Film Critics Awards 2003.
Since the prevention of Judgment Day happened twelve years earlier, John Connor (now played by Nick Stahl) has had the feeling that his and mother’s attempts to stop the end of the world haven’t been completely successful. In an effort to protect himself, he has made sure to live “off the grid”, residing without a known address, phone number or steady job that anyone can track him down with. This prompts the evil futuristic cyborgs to send back in time a newly improved Terminator called TX (Kristanna Loken) who has been programmed, in the event of not finding him, to kill all of his lieutenants who will be instrumental in the oncoming war against the machines. Meanwhile, Judgment Day, now happening at a later date, awaits arrival. Whilst in pursuit of one of Connor’s most important collaborators, an animal hospital doctor who is engaged to be married (Claire Danes), the TX runs into Connor as well, forcing the two of them to flee for their lives even though Danes has no idea what’s going on. Have no fear, though, for the future John Connor has sent back your favourite reprogrammed Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) to protect them to the death! Arnold puts the new cyborg girl through the wringer, saves Danes while also terrorizing her, reconnects with Connor and destroys entire city blocks in his pursuit of the villain…and that’s just the first half hour! This latest installment to the saga started by James Cameron isn’t the perfect blend of storytelling and science-fiction technology that preceded it, but it does feature terrific action, rich cinematography and stunning visual and makeup effects. The characters aren’t as well detailed as they were the last time, but their emotional journey is given almost as much attention as their physical one. Whatever its flaws and plot holes, particularly the unfortunate lack of Linda Hamilton, it is definitely great entertainment worthy of its predecessors even if it isn’t up to their level of perfection. Arnold still looks like he’s having a great time, Stahl is more compelling than Edward Furlong was, and Danes gives one of her best performances in years. Even Loken seems to be having fun playing Terminator Barbie, and thankfully the filmmakers don’t concentrate too much on the joke of having a Revlon model playing a killing machine. The enjoyable plot is topped off by a terrific ending that leaves one pining for more.