Almost 20 years after the original Terminator made Arnold Schwarzenegger a superstar the muscular actor is back for a third film as the robot warrior from the future. Alan Silverman has a look at Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines.

The future of humanity depends on John Connor surviving long enough to lead a rebellion against the machines that are destined to take over the world. In the first Terminator, a robot designated T-101 traveled back in time to kill the young Connor. In the second film, another T-101 formed an unlikely alliance with the teenaged Connor to fight off an updated attacker. Now the future rebel leader is in his 20's and an even deadlier robot arrives to try, again, to change the future.

This deadly upgrade, labeled TX, is played by Kristanna Loken, a lithe, blonde actress with the stunning good looks of a supermodel. Arnold Schwarzenegger says battling a woman was a new experience.

"I had no training about how to grab a woman," he said. "Where do you grab her when you want to throw her against a wall? How hard can you really pick her up and throw her? How hard can you hit her? I had to kind of rely on Kristanna, who played the TX female "Terminator," to tell me that you can go harder. You can grab me rougher. You can imagine that a guy is standing in front of you. It took me about five or six takes some times to get up to that level of rough handling because I felt uncomfortable with it, honestly speaking. She didn't mind taking a few bruises and aches here and there. She just went for it."

Loken says intense martial arts training (and yoga exercises) helped her give veteran action star Schwarzenegger more than a few good kicks; but the Norwegian-born actress says she was less comfortable with her robot character's emotionless and merciless killing.

"It was a little disturbing, but you just try to tap into that part of the character that is separate from the computer inside and the human exterior," said Kristanna Loken."It's like Arnold says when people ask him how he feels beating up and throwing around this woman: to him it's a machine. I just tried to function from that place and not get too caught up in the actual reality of things."

Nick Stahl, whose credits include the acclaimed 2001 drama In The Bedroom, takes over the role of John Connor who, unlike Schwarzenegger's supremely confident T-101, is full of apprehensions:

"That's sort of a fairy tale, in a way: this person who has no fears," he said. "What separates him from Arnold and the machines are these fears and insecurities. I thought it was an interesting place to go after the second movie because when he was younger I think the world was a little more wide open to him. I think he was somewhat scarred so he's a lot more realistic when this movie starts."

Claire Danes, another young actor known for dramatic roles, takes on the action genre as a former schoolmate of John Connor's who learns their destines are linked.

"I liked this person," said Claire Danes. "She's really assertive and responsible and authoritative and decent. She has all these qualities that I wish I had myself. It sounds so hokey and clichéd and ridiculous, but it is a pretty decent role model."

Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines is an action film filled with deafening explosions, bone-jarring fight scenes and more than a few grisly murders at the hands of the TX. Schwarzenegger says violence is part of the genre, although he is quick to point out that his character goes out of its way to avoid killing humans.

"I think that what is important here is you do the movie and stay as true as you can to the character and the story," said Arnold Schwarzenegger. "If that is what the movie is, which is an action-packed thrilling movie with great shootouts, explosions and visual effects, then that's what it is. The rating says it is 'R' rated so if you think your children could be in danger because of watching the movie, don't bring them. "

This many not be the last "Terminator" film. At 56 star Schwarzenegger says he would like to return to the character again; and young co-stars Danes and Stahl are signed to do at least one more and possibly two. Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines is directed by Jonathan Mostow.