Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003)

Review by:
Bill Clark

Reviewed by:
On July 20, 2003
Last modified:July 8, 2014


Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines doesn't have the sense of humanity that the previous films had, but Mostow's focused direction helps get the job done.

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines

The Terminator said he’d be back! I do not know how many people thought it would take twelve years, however. Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines is a shockingly successful sequel to two films that set the standard for modern science-fiction, each in their own way. T3 is minus mastermind James Cameron, but that becomes a moot point as T3 progresses.

John Connor is now in his early 20’s and is having some personal problems after the events that unfolded in Terminator 2. He is strung out and does not feel like there is much to live for. But more of the same is about to happen. The Terminatrix (TX), the most advanced and superior model of Terminator ever, has been sent from the future back to the present to kill John, mankind’s one and only key to avoiding extinction. To protect John once again is a good old-fashioned T-800 (Schwarzenegger).

If this all sounds familiar, it should. T3 shares virtually the same plot line as T2. But is this a bad thing? I think not. The film does introduce some new characters who do have an effect on the world’s fate; Kate Brewster (Danes) and her father, Robert (David Andrews) both have compelling reasons to care about their fate. But, what T3 lacks in the originality department is clearly made up for in the action department. The film features a breathtaking car chase featuring several cars and a crane. Schwarzenegger himself even forked over $1.5 million to fund this masterpiece of a scene. Similar other superior action scenes take place, but I will not reveal the details. I was sure that Matrix Reloaded had a lock on car chase of the year, but this one is superior.

T3 does have a few faults. My main complaint is the lack of character development regarding the TX. This is one cool character and all that we really learn is that she is virtually a female version of T2‘s T-1000. The character is played fantastically by newcomer Kristanna Loken, who has the perfect steely-eyed stare for the evil machine.

T3 also does not have the sense of humanity that the two previous films had. The audience felt compassion and care for all involved in T2 particularly, and I did not have quite the same feeling with this film. The downbeat ending will most likely not go over favorably with most audiences, but it is necessary to the story.

Despite these small complaints, T3 is a ride more than worth taking. For fans of the first two films, T3 should please all around.


Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures
Length: 109 Minutes
Rating: R for strong sci/fi violence and action, and for language and brief nudity.
Theatrical Release: July 1, 2003
Directed by: Jonathan Mostow
Written by: John D. Brancato & Michael Ferris. Characters by James Cameron & Gale Anne Hurd.
Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Nick Stahl, Claire Danes, Kristanna Loken, David Andrews, Mark Famiglietti




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