I was pleasantly surprised by Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines this evening. In general the law of diminishing returns bites very hard and very quickly when a successful film becomes a franchise so my expectations werent high to start with. Added to the fact that James Cameron didnt direct this one and I was wholly unimpressed with T2, I have to admit that I was expecting little more than a series of mindless special effects.

T3 does have lots of mindless special effects, but they are very well choreographed, and the Terminatrix is both sexier and a lot more unnerving than her predecessor - the T1000.

As for the plot, the scriptwriters did a decent job of resurrecting the film from the finality of T2 without tying themselves into knots.

Also on the plus side was that Arnie had a lot less dialogue to contend with. I dont want to get nasty, but Schwarzenegger is very much an action star rather than an actor. Put him in lots of leather and give him a big gun and he cuts an imposing figure. However, as soon as he tries to portray a character things start to fall apart.

Not stretching Schwarzeneggers acting ability was what made the first Terminator such an effective film and the lesson seems to have been fully relearnt this time around.

On the down side, there is a lot of Matrixy guff about destiny and the future already having been written - but not enough to distract from the real point of the film - indestructible robots knocking seven shades of shit out of each other.

T3 is definitely worth seeing, but only if you get yourself to a cinema and check your brain in at the door.