Terminator 3 - Rise of the Machines Reviews
Of course, T3 is not as good as T2. No sequel could be. What I loved was the plot arc and familiar world it took us back to. Not just that, but Arnold was still at the top of his game, and it was a good note to go out on. He brought an excellent performance to a film that would have probably failed without him.
The problems? It copies too much of the source material and tries to be bigger and more badass. Instead of a semi truck chase, we get a mobile crane. Instead of a guy stabbed through the eye, we get a fist through the chest. Instead of a helicopter and a small truck, we get two planes duking it out. It's obvious that T3 was designed to be familiar but more bombastic, and that's fine. But it loses something in that goal, namely the introspective feel that T1 and T2 created.
I would still argue that Arnold's strong performance saves the movie, as well as an excellent finale. Many argued that T3 betrayed the spirit of the series, but I think it was an inevitable conclusion. Of course, now that two more films exist in the series, it remains to be seen where Terminator will finally end.
Judgment Day may not have arrived on schedule but John Connor, now a scruffy adult, is waiting patiently for any sign of trouble, moving around the country and keeping his eyes on the sky. Smart move, he obviously knows how sequels work.
T3 doesn't waste time in delivering a new batch of terminators, a pair per usual, and they quickly acquire clothes, cars, and make a beeline for their persons of interest. Lucky for them an unlikely coincidence has brought primary targets Connor and Katherine Brewster together just in time to get the action started, fancy that. From this point on Terminator 3 is merely a cycle of gratuitous vehicle theft, car chases, gun duels, and explosions. We get most of our information about the new armageddon timeline from stilted Arnold dialogue while human characters can only draw exasperated conclusions. Sound familiar?
The premise here isn't too strong. Saying that "Judgment day is inevitable" keeps the story going but the script doesn't offer much information as to how the technology destroyed in T2, which would eventually become Skynet, survives and becomes part of the US military. I mean if the designs of the terminators and airships don't change then it must be the exact same technology, right? So what happened?
The best I can say for this film is that the visual effects have stood up nicely and we get a satisfying look at the immediate origin of Skynet's global takeover. The major negatives for me are that the action scenes are WAY over the top and many elements don't make a lot of sense. The concept of a feminine terminator is an interesting variance from the other films but she doesn't come off as menacing or intimidating on screen. The audience understands that she is powerful but mostly because of the special effects utilized to showcase her abilities. She also displays human characteristics, routinely using expressions of shock, anger, and fear; this is nonsensical for obvious reasons. The catchphrase thing is overdone as well. "I'm back." "She'll be back." "You're terminated." Come on, we get it.
As a fan of the series I'm glad this film was made but I hope it's nothing worse than a weak link to better terminator films moving forward. T3 feels rushed and is mainly a vehicle for big budget violence and nostalgic catchphrases.