Directed by Jonathan Mostow

Written by Tedi Sarafian, John Brancato, Michael Ferris

Running Time: 1:51

Rated R
for strong sci-fi violence and action,
and for language and brief nudity.


Arnold Schwarzenegger
as The Terminator

Nick Stahl
as John Connor

Claire Danes
as Kate Brewster

Kristanna Loken
as T-X

David Andrews
as Robert Brewster


Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines wasn't as groundbreaking as its predecessors, but it was still an entertaining, if somewhat uninspiring, film.


For the third time, the machines of the future have sent back one of their own to try and rid the world of John Connor, the leader of the future human resistance movement. This time, it's the T-X, a machine that can not only regenerate itself, but can also change into anything it touches and is programmed to control other machines. Also, the T-X isn't just after Connor, it's after the people who will soon be his lieutenants, including Kate Brewster. Kate's father is in charge of the program that eventually turns on the humans. The humans from the future once again send back the original Terminator in order to save Connor, and this time Brewster, from being killed so that they can lead in the future.


When T2 came out, it set a new standard for special effects in film. Now however, special effects have gone on to new levels, especially in films like The Matrix. T3 doesn't do much to raise the bar so there wasn't that excitement like there was when T2. The fact that the originator of the series, James Cameron, wasn't on board also lessened the anticipation of this film. And for the most part, if it wasn't a 'Terminator' film, it would have been just so-so. But when you add in the backstory and how we've come to appreciate the characters, the one thing this movie did really well was play upon the past. When we first see the Terminator in the original, he goes into a biker bar, beats up some people and takes their clothes to end up in his trademark outfit. In this film, it's the same set-up, except now he's at a bar where it's ladies night and he beats up a gay dancer. Then instead of putting on his trademark Terminator sunglasses, he puts on these Elton John/Liberace glasses. The entire movie plays upon fan favorite scenes and lines so the movie was much funnier than I expected. Almost every time Schwarzenegger opens his mouth, it's a funny line, whether it's meant to be or not. At times the movie felt like a parody of itself, with famous lines like 'I'll be back' turned into 'She'll be back' or, 'I'm back'.

That being said, T3 was a pretty decent movie. The action sequences, while not new or different, were done fairly well and there were a lot of explosions and effects that were done seamlessly. A fight scene between the two Terminators in a bathroom was full of laughs and awe at the amount of damage they could do to each other and still keep fighting. And the chase sequence early in the film was chock full of mayhem and destruction. The story line was straightforward in that the Terminator is trying to save the important humans from the new Terminator, while the humans are trying to stop the war to end all wars from beginning in the first place. The question of course arises if they manage to do that, will anything that has happened ever really have happened in the first place? Let's just say there's plenty of room left over for one final film to end the series.

The acting was good for an action film, although none will be winning an award any time soon. Nick Stahl, stepping into the John Connor role, was solid. Claire Danes, getting into what I believe is her first action film, and first big film in years, was an interesting choice for the role, and she grew on me as time went on. Kristanna Loken was as close to perfect for the role as you could imagine. Stunningly beautiful but with facial expressions that could kill, she totally fit right in to the mold. And of course Arnold, still looking strong as ever as the monotoned Terminator, playing the character as much for humor as for action. He still looks good after all these years, even if he needed to be pancaked in makeup.


So overall, while T3 wasn't anything new or inventive, for an action film, it was pretty good. Throw in the fact that it's a Terminator film, and it makes the humor part that much more enjoyable. This isn't necessarily a film that you need to see on a big screen, but if you're a fan of the past two films, you'll definitely want to see this one, because I have a feeling, there will be at least one more film to come.

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reviewed 07/01/03

© 2003 Wolfpack Productions

Wolfpack Productions