Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003) Poster

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The more I think about this movie, the more it grows on me.
RoxanneAndorfer6 July 2003
I didn't go to see this movie with very high expectations, because it has gotten such varied and sometimes disparaging reviews this forum. However, since I am an aspiring screenwriter and true cinema fan rather than simply a moviegoer, I decided to give this movie the benefit of the doubt. At the very least, I could end up writing a scathing attack on it.

Instead, I have found that I enjoyed the movie as I watched it, saw some flaws, but have discovered that the more I think about it, the more I want to give it a higher rating than I initially did (7). The film's two major dramatic flaws, in my opinion, are: (1) An over-the-top chase scene that comes way too early in the script without sufficient build-up in suspense leading up to it; (2) A little too much campy humor recycled from the first two Terminator movies.

The good outweighs the bad by a large margin. (1) The screenplay has some intriguing plot subtleties that grow on me after awhile, the most notable of which is the actual nature of the safe place. It could be the way it is for several possible reasons, some strategically favoring SkyNet, some the humans. Any of them could be spun into a major plot element for a sequel. The rest you'll just have to find yourself. (2) The character development of both John Connor and Kate Brewster is elegant, believable and moving, and also opens possibilities for future character development. (3) The plot is an interesting variation of the "Reluctant Hero" theme, which is a classic in literature and drama and always will be. John Connor is a hero who is almost an anti-hero. True, they could have sharpened his ambivalence a little (sacrificing some chase footage for it would have been an excellent trade, in my opinion). (4) The Terminatrix is a very good villain: She's young, she's sexy, and she's chillingly soulless. She is actually too smoothly sexy and physically perfect, but that makes sense when you consider that she has been created and programmed by other machines who, lacking the real-world experience of humans, can only base her appearance and humanoid behavior on their knowledge of human stereotypes.

That last leads me to some thoughts about Arnie's character. He is clearly getting a little too old for a reprise of his customary youthful, physically perfect role in any sequel. If he is brought back in a sequel - and I hope he is - a good, imaginative screenwriter could really work with his advancing age and loss of physical perfection. Since he is programmed by humans with real human experience, he could be brought back as a deceptively older and less physically powerful character, but more psychologically sophisticated (more like a true human with a soul), and his deceptive physical appearance combined with his greater psychological sophistication could be his aces in the hole when his strength and nonhuman cyborg qualities are insufficient. In other words, he could be shaped into an amazing supporting hero in any sequel. Maybe I could write his role!
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Really underrated.
Quantom-X3 October 2018
I feel this movie gets a lot more hate than it deserves. Sure it may not be as good as the second one, and let's face it it's hard to top T2. But that doesn't make this a bad film. I actually like how John Connor is portrayed in this. Sure he's a bit whiny and a bit of a coward, but that's because he has not grown yet into the person he will be. He's unsure, and full of doubt. He has to grow.

And this movie has one of the best movie trailers I've ever seen!
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Good, but not worthy of the Terminator franchise (including nerdy rant & SPOILERS)
Superunknovvn9 May 2004
I know it's easy to put "Terminator 3" down. Everybody had great expectations and it was clear that this movie would have lots of enemies, especially if someone else than Cameron was going to direct. So, here it is now, T3, and the truth is, it is a good action movie, just not as good as Terminator 1 & 2.

What I liked best about this movie is that it doesn't include any martial arts. Since "The Matrix" came out, I often wondered if it would even be possible to make an action movie without Kung Fu anymore. Also, Mostow really tried to not only focus on the action but include some story and character development, too. The problem is, the story is nowhere near as good as it used to be. The writers mistook character development for endless whiney monologues by John Connor, supposed leader of mankind. Where Cameron always found the right balance between someone explaining what was going on and action scenes, T3 fell into the trap of slowing down too often.

What's bothering me even more, is that writers really had a lot of chances to turn „Terminator 3" into an interesting story that picked up from the end of T2. I hoped that finally we'd get an explanation for why only one Terminator is sent back at a time, how the time portal works, how CyberDyne recreated the information on future technology after it had been destroyed in part 2, etc. Instead writers gave vague or no hints at all to previous riddles and went away too far from the original ideas of „Terminator". „No fate but what we make for ourselves" we were told in parts 1 & 2. Now it has changed to „Judgement Day is inevitable". Why is that, you may ask yourself and why would a Terminator know that? It's only one of many things that don't really make sense. A fact that's even more annoying when you think about how perfect the series has been so far. Sure, James Cameron had also made mistakes (John's and Sarah's age, for instance) but the main story did always make sense.

Mostow obviously was afraid of stepping into Cameron's shoes and be compared to him, so he decided to put several nods to the previous movies in sequel no. 2. Nice thought, but T3 is definitely too much of a „nod" to T1 & T2. It's part parody, part rip-off that has only few new elements. Again there are two Terminators, one brand new, one obsolete, we get a spectacular car chase, desert scenes, etc. Furthermore, we get a funny version of the bar scene at the beginning and a „funny" cameo by infamous psychiatrist Dr. Silberman. Yes, some of the jokes are actually quite funny, but really, why would the Terminator smash the gay glasses? Come on, this is supposed to be a serious movie! The worst thing about all this repeating old stuff is that this time there's no suspense whatsoever. It just feels like we've seen it before and we know exactly what's coming.

One scene that could have brought a cool twist to the movie was the one where Arnold gets reprogrammed by the T-X. It would have been so cool, if the T-800 had turned into the bad guy again now. It would have showed that a machine knows no loyalty. Instead we got the most stupid scene ever in a „Terminator" movie: John Connor asks the T-800 not to kill him and the Terminator obeys. Reese said in part 1 „It can't be bargained with" and now John did just that. Sad. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. And what's with John Connor? Isn't he the one who will go on to lead mankind? In T3, he isn't much of a leader to me. Is it the writers fault or Nick Stahl's, I don't know, but the character is such a sissy in this movie, it's painful.

About the T-X: why the hell isn't that thing bigger, stronger, faster? The T-X has no real improvements compared to the T-1000 and it seems to be really stupid. How else could it lose to the trashy T-800? And why did it change back to its known form just before it could have killed Kate Brewster in the disguise of her fiancé. Why would it walk around with the same face all the time, anyway? (Granted, that's a question that T2 had already raised and not answered) Although Kristinna Loken played her part quite well, I think it was a bad decision to have a woman play the T-X in the first place. How cool is it to watch Big Ol' Arnold beat up a girl? There are so many more minor mistakes in this movie it gives me headaches (why was the T-800 already programmed to not kill innocent people and look for the keys in the car when it was a different Terminator than the one in part 2? If Arnie is not programmed to answer John's questions why did he answer when John asked if he was gonna kill him? Why did the T-X investigate the place where Kate Brewster works at night? Why didn't the T-X try to reprogram the T-800 from the beginning? Why has the Terminator never used the little atom bomb chip, he's carrying within, against an enemy?), but I think I better stop here.

However, I did like the ending a lot as it's the only real improvement to the whole story and an open door for a sequel. "Terminator 3" is still the best action movie of this summer and it feels really good to see Arnie back in action one more (last?) time.
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Why the Hate?
I truly don't get the hate for this movie, unless you're one of those types that goes to comicon and asks questions about insanely obscure trivia to flaunt your vast knowledge of the T universe or writes erotic terminator fan-fiction from your mom's basement.

It's the least of the three terminators, yes. But the least in a series of such high quality and entertainment value that to suggest this is one of the worst sequels ever is just plain hyperbolic stupidity. One of the things I keep seeing mentioned is the less serious parts. What is wrong with some humor? It was hardly even close to enough to call it a comedy and none of it was bad enough to induce groans. T2, and even T1, had humorous bits but I don't hear complaints about them. I don't know what people were expecting. They act like this is the Phantom Menace of the Terminator franchise. Please.

It's got solid action (including one of the best destructive car chase sequences ever imho), it's exciting, it's got decent acting and effects. Get over your butthurt fanboy gripes and just enjoy it.
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A good, but flawed, attempt at continuing James Cameron's legacy.
HHoffman-219 August 2006
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines is often criticized by fans as being not in the same tone as its predecessors. While I agree with that statement in many ways, I think Jonathan Mostow made an honest effort to bookend the series.

Storyline: The story is probably one of the things I take issue with most. It brings up new questions on the nature of time travel within the Terminator universe, as well as bringing new plot holes (something the previous films also had). Some of these flubs could've been corrected with a little research, but I digress.

The story tends to be a retread of Terminator 2, which hurts it a lot. But Mostow tries to draw attention away from this with some awesome action sequences. The storyline, in this respect, takes it up a notch with scenes such as the restroom fight and crane scene.

Acting: I think the acting is one of the best things in this film. Mostow did an excellent job in casting. Rather than going for actors known for their work in action films, the director instead used performers known for their talent in dramatic roles. Nick Stahl and Claire Danes both portray their characters with depth and humanity. Stahl does an especially good role in showing the paranoia and uncertainty of the future.

And, as always, Arnold Schwarzenegger does a great job as the Terminator. His lack of social interaction provides many humorous moments throughout the film, while also giving him a drill instructor approach when dealing with the John Connor character.

Lastly, there is Kristanna Loken as the T-X. While not as intimidating as the T-1000, I didn't expect this to be the case. Robert Patrick played a character with no face and every face, which can only work once if at all. That being said, Loken does a decent job in the role, providing a very cold performance for an equally cold character.

Visual/Special Effects: The visuals of Terminator 3 are pretty good. The liquid metal effects are still as great as they were in 1991 along with some of the CG animated endoskeletons in the Future War sequence.

My only qualms with the visuals is that there is a lack of blue tint that was prevalent in James Cameron's previous films, but this is more a matter of taste than anything.

Musical Score: Brad Fiedel's dark and mechanical theme is absent from the film until the credits arrive, which is something that bothered me. Not only that, but T3's rendition of the theme isn't as powerful as it is in its predecessors.

However, Marco Beltrami does manage to increase the tension of scenes with his score, though little else. This aspect, like the storyline, could of been improved.

Conclusion: Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines wasn't a necessary sequel, but a decent one. I don't believe this installment ruined the series as much as, say, Alien^3. This film will no doubt continue to be one that either fans love or hate.

I happen to love it.
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It doesn't deserve the hate
capricornius15 November 2018
This movie doesn't deserve the hate it's getting. Now obviously it isn't as good as the first two Terminator movies. But this is also what's "wrong" with it. It's a great movie, but if you compare it to 1 and 2 then of course it won't be great, simply because the two first just are that great and legendary movies. But - as I wrote - it certainly doesn't deserve the hate. 80% - 8/10
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Unwanted parody of two of cinemas finest action films
axlrhodes2 June 2008
No matter what people say Terminator 3 was a turkey.The tone was wrong and bad decisions were made in the casting and character phase of the film.Sarah Conner is feebly written out of this story and the film suffers badly for missing her presence.There is also too much self referential parody,there are times when Arnie is made to look silly through the use of badly timed and misjudged comedy moments.I partly blame Jonathan Mostow,he held the reigns on this one and would have had a big say in how it all played out.I couldn't believe they went as far to copy the scene in T2 when Arnie gets his leathers in the bar only this time he gets them from a gay bar and ends up wearing 70's style plastic Elton John style glitz glasses instead of his iconic shades.This was embarrassing.Ed Furlong is replaced by the inferior Nick Stahl and Clare Danes is just filler. The Terminatrix doesn't really come off although Kristianna Loken tries her best.In all this is a hugely disappointing experience for people that have followed Terminator films so far.It has some great standalone action sequences but as a whole is a lazy retread that indulges parody and comedy far too much divorcing itself from the serious tone set by the previous two films.
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T3 is a solid follow up to a classic
view_and_review30 January 2007
T3 was actually very good. Put it this way, if we had never been treated to the classic and innovative T2, I believe a lot more people would have been in love with T3. T3 was looking at some serious obstacles: 1.) following up T2, a monster success 2.) an aging Arnold Schwarzenegger 3.) making a cohesive story that wouldn't contradict the former Terminators 4.) making a better terminator than the T-1000.

As I said before, they followed up T2 respectably enough. There were good fight scenes with the T-800 and the T-X (I particularly like the fight in the bathroom), and there was an excellent car chase scene near the beginning. The action was good and plentiful, the effects were nice, and there was some good humor in the movie as well.

Arnold was still in shape enough and made up enough to be believable. Of course he wore the leather jacket the entire movie. Not only that, he was an older Terminator model anyway, so any signs of stiffness or slow wittedness could easily be blamed on that.

The story flowed well. John Connor (Nick Stahl) was again the focus except he is now a bit more subdued and scared. In his attempts to stay out of any electronic systems, he chooses a horrible life of joblessness, homelessness, and just plain bumming it. He was complimented by a much smarter, cleaner, and stronger partner, Kate Brewster (Claire Danes); she was tied into the story rather well. They stayed true to the Armageddon type story line and even had a bit of misdirection at the end to make the movie even more interesting.

The T-X model terminator (Kristanna Loken) was nice. Sure, they chose a beautiful woman for the T-X, but she was not to be trifled with. The T-X had the same shape shifting abilities as her predecessor (the T-1000) but she also had abilities to control anything that had a CPU and she could form her hand into a variety of weapons. Similar to the T-1000 (Robert Patrick of T2), the T-X (Loken) took the T-800 (Schwarzenegger) to town, but she was a bit more dangerous even than the T-1000.

T3 was a solid movie for a third installment. Usually by the third sequel you are begging Hollywood to stop, but I can't say that about this movie. This movie is good enough to watch more than once.
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Really Good Movie
thesurfingfan19 November 2015
It is a good movie because it is interesting. I like it because of the advanced technology used in the movie, I have watched it a lot of times. Some people say it is a bad movie, but my opinion is that it is a great movie. The bad thing is that I find it boring sometimes, probably because I watched it a lot. I also really like the Terminator T- X. I really recommend that movie. It is in my list of favorite movies. I also think that it is some of the best Terminator movies. I try to never miss it on TV. I enjoy watching it with my friends and family. The first time I watched it was in late 2003, shortly after it was released. I cannot really describe it.
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Introducing the T-X.
BA_Harrison3 December 2007
Schwarzeneggar is back (he said he would be) as another T-1000 cyborg sent through time to protect the now grown up John Connor (Nick Stahl), and his future wife, Kate (Claire Danes), who are being stalked by the T-X (Kristanna Loken), the latest in murderous machines hellbent on destroying the human race.

Rise Of The Machines might not be the (near) perfect juggernaut of an action sequel that was Cameron's Judgement Day, but as far as edge-of-the-seat, sci-fi fun goes, it's still bloody good! Director Jonathan Mostow certainly makes the most of his mega-budget, and delivers plenty of jaw-dropping mayhem along with loads of impressive special effects. And Schwarzenneggar does what he does best: blowing things up, shooting huge weapons, and delivering cheesy one-liners.

The (mostly) smart script follows on nicely from The Terminator and T2, further developing the character of John Connor, neatly explaining away the absence of Linda Hamilton in a not-too-disappointing way, and brilliantly bringing the whole affair to a satisfying, and not altogether happy, conclusion. There is blistering action (a set piece involving a massive crane causing untold damage to umpteen cars and buildings is absolutely incredible), some nice touches of humour, and a bit of quite gruesome violence (for a DVD that is rated 12!).

Sure, T3 isn't quite as good as its predecessors, but how many films are? Both the original The Terminator and T2 are extremely tough acts to follow. I think Rise Of The Machines does a pretty good job and deserves a lot more praise than it gets.
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An excellent installment, worth the 12-year wait.
LebowskiT100014 July 2003
When I first heard that James Cameron wasn't going to be involved with the third installment to this fantastic series, I was less than pleased. The thought of another director taking over the franchise kind of upset me, I just had to hope that they would find a director that could fill those rather large shoes. I later heard that Jonathan Mostow was named director of T3 and was pleased due to being VERY impressed with both of his previous directorial efforts, "Breakdown" and "U-571", but of course I was still skeptical.

So the film was finally released and of course I went and saw it opening weekend. Let me tell you I was NOT let down! I thought the film was truly fantastic! I'm sure a lot of people will disagree with me and I'm sure plenty might even get upset with me, but I thought "Terminator 3" was just as good as both previous installments of the series. They all had their pros and they all had their cons.

I was at first a little uneasy with the idea of a female terminator. But, after seeing the film and thinking about I've come to the conclusion that having a female terminator if a brilliant idea. What would have an easier time infiltrating just about anything? A gorgeous and sexy woman or a large intimidating man? The woman, definitely! Besides, Jonathan Mostow did such a fantastic job with the T-X that it just worked perfectly.

The special effects in the film are truly amazing, looking even better than the effects in T2. There were VERY few times where I thought it looked like obvious CG. There is one scene in the first few minutes of the film that show a slew of Terminators walking around doing what they do that nearly brought tears to my eyes, it looked so awesome! I won't get into the specifics, but the special effects are reason enough to see this film.

The actors all did a fantastic job. I thought Nick Stahl was an excellent replacement for Edward Furlong. When I first heard Nick was taking over the role I didn't think he looked the part, but he really pulled it off. In fact, in the end, I'm happier that Nick took over the role rather than Edward Furlong continuing his role, because I really don't think Edward looks the part anymore, he was fine as the young John Connor, but I don't think he'd work well as the John Connor of this film. Claire Danes did a fantastic job as well, she pulled off a great job in the film and looks as beautiful as ever. Kristanna Loken plays the part of the T-X very well, looking sexy as can be and doing a great job with her facial expressions and her limited dialogue. I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for her future work. Then of course, there's the great Arnold Schwarzenegger, reprising his role as The Terminator (T-800/T-101). Arnold, again was excellent as the Terminator and didn't let me down. There is also a very nice cameo by Earl Boen, the only other actor to reprise a role from the first two installments in the Terminator series. Despite having very little screen time, he did a great job and I was very happy to see him in the film.

Personally I thought the story in this film was great and very well thought out. There are a few things that may have been overlooked or improperly explained, but nonetheless, this is a movie we're talking about here and there are bound to be a few plot holes, so I didn't let those little things affect my enjoyment of the film.

The only thing I would complain about if I had to, is some of the humor in the film. I won't deny that the jokes were funny, but I thought some were a little misplaced, this is, after all an R-rated sci-fi/action film. There were only really two or three comedic moments that I thought should have been excised from the film, but otherwise I thought everything worked pretty well.

I would definitely recommend this film to anyone that liked the previous Terminator films. I would hope that you can enjoy this for what it is and not what James Cameron MIGHT have done had he directed the film. Just because Cameron opted not to direct the film does not mean it's a bad film. Don't get hung up on the fact that Cameron didn't direct it, just sit back and enjoy the ride. Thanks for reading my review, and be sure to check out my reviews for both previous films: "The Terminator" and "Terminator 2: Judgment Day".
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Who cares!
mjbspace21 July 2003
Have just returned after a triple show of T1 + T2 + T3. An excellent way in which to spend a rainy day!

Before the films my three friends and I were looking very much forward to re-see T1 + T2 on a big screen. As for T3 we didn't expect too much.

While the copies of T1 + T2 were slightly dated, to say the least, both films were absolutely superb, also despite the fact that the effects in T1 were quite primitive compared to today. Nevertheless, T1 remained our favorite not the least because of its very stringent and no-nonsense non-moralistic narrative. T2 was also strong in this aspect, though there were slightly more plot holes and a little too much sentimentality, something which unfortunately plagues many American films. Nonetheless T2 is also great.

Then came T3 ... well, a film taste is very individual. Therefore you, dear reader, should not be deterred from going to see this film, despite the fact that my three friends and I all couldn't care less about it.

Why didn't we like it? Well, surprisingly we were all in agreement about the lack-of-Cameron-touch as one of the worst failings of the film. The new director does not have the ability to time scenes, events, statement and the narrative anywhere near the brilliant level of Cameron.

Therefore the new director tries to make up for this deficiency in making the car chases and the explosions bigger, the new enemy T-X more deadly, and destruction more extreme. But it all lacks energy, soul and credibility. The narrative is messy and coincidental, as if the director thinks "now it will be nice to have this scene from a previous Terminator film included and just beefed up" or "let's try this - it might be funny".

This unfortunately lets the actors down, leaving them with empty hulls and we couldn't care less if they die or live. This, incidentally, is comparable to the Matrix II and the new Star Wars films. The director believes that he has a good film if he/she can include some cool effects. Doesn't work, though!

Furthermore, the scenes lack anything that might even remotely draw the audience into the film. While you can feel the anguish of the humans and the one-mindedness of the robots in the earlier films, this piece of junk left my friends and I with the feeling of "who cares!"

The first and second Hellraiser movies were absolutely splendid. However, what followed should not ever be mentioned anywhere - especially number three sucked big time and should never bee seen by anybody. Terminator 3 is not so bad that it shouldn't be seen, though. However, it is highly advisable that you lower any expectations - and the lower them again. Then you might enjoy this film. Alternatively wait for the cheap version of the DVD.

Finally, if the studio really wants to make a T4, which is highly suggested in T3, then they better get Cameron back on the job. Otherwise they will have just another silly action flick, with no real innovation or originality on their hands, like a gazillion other action flicks from Hollywood - because this is what they have with T3. So unless they rediscover the respect they owe to the great old Terminator-films : Who cares!
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Still hating this movie after Dark Fate?
desertfox1942-178-87603017 November 2019
I liked it when I saw it as a 13 year old boy and I still like it as an adult. Yes, it's not better than T2. No one expected it to be. And yet it has a coherent story that is the logical continuation of the second movie. I hope that more Terminator fans will now appreciate it after the recent awful sequels like Genisys (with the spelling error) and Dark Fate which destroyed the franchise. And as much as some people want to hate this movie, at least it didn't fail at the box office. By the way, Kristanna Loken is an impressive terminator. Roast me.
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One of the best Sci-Fi movies ever.
TheRater19 November 2019
I loved Tarminator3 , it's one of the best Sci-Fi movies ever made. A must to see in your life.
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Waste of time
El Gato-414 March 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Even if there were no Terminator or T2, T3 would be a horridly mediocre movie. The original Terminator was an exercise in imagination conquering budget limitations, while T2 showed what could be accomplished if imagination were wedded to an unlimited budget. T3 shows what a tremendous budget with little imagination gets you - a terminator whose unique ability is to make her fingers into sharp points. Whoopee! There are narrative lapses too numerous to mention, such as our non-tech hero operating an atom smasher. Or a heroine who doesn't know exactly what her father does for a living traipsing into the super secret underground & armored military installation where he works. T3 operates best as a self-administered IQ test: if you thought this movie was good, you should seriously consider remedial education.
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To think: I'm criticizing Arnold for showing TOO MUCH emotion
Nuuu6 July 2003
Warning: Spoilers
Poor writing and poor directing plagued this film. The characters simply weren't who they were supposed to be.

John Connor (Nick Stahl) who was trained in weapons and warfare from childhood by his mother dealt unflinchingly with the threat of the T-1000 as a 13 year old boy now appears to be a scared and confused drifter who freezes under pressure and exudes none of the confidence or ingenuity he did a decade ago.

The T-X (Kristanna Loken) is cartoony. In place of ruthless efficiency for which the terminators are known she kills sadistically. Rather then relentlessly pursuing her enemy she seems to saunter and pose in what I can only assume is an attempt to build suspense. And in the end, she simply isn't that frightening of a villain.

Arnold was the biggest disappointment if only because he played the role with far too much of a human feel. He has emotional conversations with John Connor, appears angry and surprised at times, and has a number of one-liners during action sequences that require far more wit than a machine with no emotion should be capable of.

The sound was absurd. When the terminator or the T-X was hit with something heavy we were greeted by a cartoony "boink" rather than something realistic. The soundtrack also lacked all of the attitude and intensity that truly set the atmosphere for the first two movies.


And the continuity errors and unanswered questions ruined any hope of a story the movie may have had

Terminator 2 tells us that terminators (at least stock terminators) can't learn. Arnie clearly does, after learning and reciting the "talk to the hand" phrase.

Terminator 1 tells us that The Terminators were only sent back to kill John as a last ditch effort once the resistance had destroyed the skynet core. Now, Skynet doesn't have a core at all.

Why would the US government leave a secret, high grade fallout shelter COMPLETELY unguarded?

How did John, Kate, and a 6 foot tall terminator in black leather make it to the command center of a busy high tech military research facility without authorization and while carrying loaded weapons? And why isn't anyone surprised to see them there until shooting starts?

While the T-X can control machines, how can she remotely move the gear shift of a car from park to drive, an action that requires physical interaction?

If, as T2 suggests, the concept of skynet was only made possible by the discovery of the pieces of the destroyed terminator from T1, how was it possible in T3 after John Connor destroyed all remnants of the terminators sent back through time?

Unfortunately I could go on and on from here. From the final product it appears as though the writers spent less time on the script for this movie than I did on this review
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Not perfect but it is what a summer blockbuster should be – a big loud enjoyable film
bob the moo1 September 2003
In 2003 John Connor is living a life without record, with no fixed address, no bank account and no permanent job. He does this to avoid the terminators of the future being able to find him and kill him. In absence of him, Skynet sends back a T-X to kill secondary targets – Connor's future lieutenants, among them Kate Brewster, daughter of military scientist Robert Brewster. Luckily, in the future, Kate has sent back a captured Terminator to protect them. As the group escape Connor learns more of judgement day and sets out to try and stop it again.

T3 is different from T2 in that it isn't really in the same league (IMO) as T2 was when it came out. In my view T2 was the must see movie of it's time whereas now it has faded a little and is secondary to the matrix and other cutting edge blockbusters. In fact so second was it that I wasn't that bothered about seeing it or not. However I'm glad it did as T3 is nicely paced, doesn't expect too much of itself and does just what a blockbuster is meant to be – be entertaining.

The plot is mostly secondary to the action but, basically, the T-X has been sent back to take out a group of people before it then (accidentally) finds it's primary target of John Connor. Some of the plot is a little tenuous but it doesn't matter as it moves along at such a pace that you don't have time to really think too long about any one scene. However the climax is a hark back to the original Terminator with a down deep and depressing ending where fate manages to happen regardless of Connor's best intentions.

The action is great although it does look basic beside the effects of Matrix etc. I did feel that they worked better by not trying to be overly flashy or fancy. The morphing effects are actually more enjoyable because here they make up part of the action whereas in T2 they were key moments of cutting edge technology. The film's action takes the form of a simple chase and is very effective, the multiple car chase is my favourite scene – partly because it shows how very out classed the Terminator is by the new model!

The direction is good and Cameron isn't missed at all. Mostow does a great job with the action scenes and keeps everything just perfect. Because the film realises that the franchise is build on catch phrases and images that have entered into popular culture so much that they are overused, it wisely chooses to mock itself and has a real nice sense of humour to it. For example the original Terminator had the terminator entering a motor cycle bar and exiting dressed in biker leathers, here he enters a bar and finds a ladies night in full swing and has to get his clothes from a gay stripper. The deadpan way in which he rejects the sunglasses is really good. In a way this could have undermined the effect of the film but it is managed well and doesn't.

The cast is roundly good. The exit of Sarah Connor is handled well and her replacement (Danes) is good despite a few duff lines which don't convince. Stahl's performance could be seen as mocking Furlong's drug problems (I can't see any other reason for his junkie-like tics etc.) but he is still good and carries the film well. Schwarzenegger wisely agrees to mock his own character – the film takes the idea that time has passed the Terminator franchise by, by having the terminator itself being totally superseded. Loken is good as the T-X and is sexy enough but isn't given as much to do as anyone else. Whereas Patrick was pretty much the main focus of T2 (because of the effects) Loken has less of an impact.

Overall I had my doubts about this film but it did manage to do just what I needed it to do. The action is overblown and enjoyable without being the cutting edge in special effects at any time. The plot-driving scenes are good and the main story (behind the action) is involving and interesting, right up till the downbeat ending. I must say that, although it is hardly the most imaginative or inspiring film made this year, it certainly does what you need a blockbuster to do – no deep, pretentious plots, no joy-less acting, but rather a big noisy movie that doesn't take itself too serious (despite the serious plot) and is actually very enjoyable to watch. Nor a great film but I really wish that more blockbusters were like this.
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It broke my heart
paulomatsui19 January 2004
The Terminator is a character idolized by thousands of people around the world. The imagery - along with unconscious symbols - made this character an icon for generations.

Jim Cameron ingenuity (with the help of Bill Wisher) gave us two movies that complement each other, folding the story in ways ever more interesting each time you watch them.

Action packed, fun and original. We helped spread the word on Terminator mythology.

How come a movie studio using their rights to use a character build up such a opportunity-jackpot-halfbaked popcorn movie just to make cash out of loyalty of this huge fan base?

I felt betrayed and sad when I saw this (God permits) last installment on this sequel. What have they done to my robot?

What did they do with my movie?
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Sexy T-X Makes The Movie
droog-569368 November 2019
Despite the hate it gets Terminator 3 is a solid movie that ties off the trilogy nicely and wraps the characters in a loop that takes us round to the first movie. Kristanna Loken is perfect as the T-X, a new more advanced Terminator sent to kill the adult John Conor this time. Her deadpan performance really brings a emotionless but murderous reality to the character. Robotic perfection. The action and special effects are very well done and the ending brings the story arc to a it's logical conclusion. The problem here is casting Nick Stahl and Claire Danes as John Conor and his prospective romance partner Katherine Brewster, have no chemistry and even worse it becomes a stretch to accept Stahl as a future leader of humanity when those qualities are missing in the entire performance here. Flawed it may be but Arnold Schwarzenegger battling Kristanna Loken is still amazingly fun. Go rent it or better yet, buy it!
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Is this supposed to be good?
MrP8232 July 2003
My God. I really don't know where to begin. I guess I should start with the obvious fact that this film was completely unnecessary. Most scenes in the movie seem to have been blatantly lifted directly from the second film so much so that at many times I felt as though I was watching a remake. After sitting through this mess I had a whole new respect for the first two films as being action/sci-fi classics. I have a sneaky suspicion that this "movie" will be one of those over priced blockbuster hopefuls that will be all but forgotten a few years from now.

The absence of James Cameron is greatly felt from the opening shot of T3, to its dreadful ending. Although he has been considered controversial because of his constant perfectionism, I guarantee you that the shameful and embarrassing acting as well as the copied storyline would not be found in the third installment had he been involved. Then again, the reason Cameron was not at the helm for this one was because he simply felt there was no more story. Things were pretty tied up at the end of T2, wouldn't you say? There isn't even a proper explanation as to why the events in T3 are even happening.

Nevertheless, you just knew a third movie was going to be made and people would be having visions of Terminator greatness on their minds. It's sad to realize that fans of the Terminator films will no doubt be very disappointed (at least I think they will be). There really is nothing good about this movie and it scares me to death to think that if this particular sequel to a very well known couple of movies was this terrible, what does this hold for some of the other announced or planned big money sequels to movie franchises. If Indiana Jones 4, Die Hard 4, or even Mad Max 4 are nearly as bad as this film, God help us all.

One more point I would like to stress concerning this movie would be its message/philosophy. Let me get this straight, the main point of the story is that humans simply cannot avoid what is inevitable? This is in absolute contradiction to the second film's meaning of "No Fate But What We Make" in which disaster can be averted if we all just wake up and realize what is about to go down. So in other words, the optimistic ending of the second film is replaced by a complete downer ending in the third film that is just hideous in how weak it is. This is bad, really bad and I have to believe that James Cameron is smoking hot with anger. I am going to try my hardest to pretend that this film (and whatever may follow it) never existed. That way I can appreciate just how entertaining and interesting the first two stories indeed are.
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A reasonably fitting end to the series, or a vision of things to come?
arkanis5018 August 2003
Terminator 3 was nothing short of a thrill-ride of explosions, over-the-top action and fun - although after three movies I am finding the Terminator series getting very repetitive. Is it just me, or does it seem like a member of the resistance comes back to protect John Connor/Sarah Connor, the machines send back a Terminator to take them out - we see some fights and bingo-bango, a couple hours later it is all resolved?

I felt Terminator 3 lacked the look and feel of the classic Terminator 2, and often bordered on unintentionally comical scenes. I had to laugh at some of the fight scenes between The Terminator and the T-X, which seemed like some sort of CGI bad dream. On the opposite side of the coin, the scenes throughout the movie which were supposed to be comical, felt very cheesy and tacked-on, i.e. the Elton John glasses.

That aside, Terminator 3 was packed full of what Arnie movies do best - fights, chases and s*** getting blown up. The car chase scene involving the crane was great, and as far as I am concerned was better than The Matrix Reloaded's attempt at a car chase any day. The T-X, played by very cute Kristanna Loken, brought a freshness to her role as the 'Anti-Terminator' Terminator. The T-X seems to take the best of the Terminator and the T-1000, and chucks in some extra firepower for added effectiveness.

Terminator 3 might not add as much to the overall story as possibly Terminator 2, but it will fill a lot of holes, expand on some of the concepts hinted at in previous movies and tie up some loose ends in the series. You will learn more about John Connor's future, Skynet, Judgement Day, and the future of mankind's battle against the machines.

As for the ending? Well I thought it was a very interesting and thought-provoking way to end the movie, and possibly the series. Although given Hollywood, I would imagine there will probably be at least one or two more movies. With or without Arnold, the series surely must move away from the "send back a Terminator to kill John, and they send one to protect him" style, and take us to the future where John Connor takes control of the resistance.

I give T3 an 8/10.
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Metallic hell on earth
Marksd9924 August 2006
Warning: Spoilers
OK, so critically i'm forced to accept that my one star rating could be seen as maybe a bit harsh, the action was OK after all, the film looked pretty enough and the story was genuinely not as slap-dash and floored as we all dreaded it would be. As a stand alone film i could've genuinely forgiven this movie it's quirky sense of humor and cartoonish action sequences (that comedy 'DUNK' noise when Arnie is hit by a truck whilst riding the forklift truck is pure Wylee Kyote).

However, that's where we hit the real meat of my problem with this movie, it's not just any random piece of action pie, it's the sequel to terminator 2, a film which even if you don't consider to be the greatest action movie of all time (which i emphatically do), everyone must agree had a certain iconic, macho appeal and tone.

Now i accept that for a fairly unknown director, resuscitating such a beloved and successful franchise after such a long time must've been daunting, and i thoroughly expected to sit back in my comfortable cinema seat and watch with joy as the third terminator strained with mighty, piston-like muscles in an effort to avoid being crushed under the weight of its prequels. So you can begin to imagine my disappointment when rather than standing up to its prequels with its chest puffed out, T3 seemed rather to make a camp hand gesture and prance away.

In short, my greatest problem with T3 is not that it isn't as good as its predecessors (i mean what is?), it's that it often feels like you're watching a spoofed remake, an impression not harmed by the fact that T3 'shares' most of its basic plot structure with T2. Case in point would have to be the scene in which the terminator seeks to acquire his trade mark leather jacket ensemble, although in previous films this simply seems to be the first outfit he found, in T3 it seems nothing else would do.

You can almost hear the writers laughing and congratulating themselves at their sparkling wit, as the terminator is forced to regurgitate his iconic "i need your clothes, your boots and your motorcycle" line... to a male stripper. And the icing on the cake, when the 'unstoppable killing machine' walks outside and puts on the pair of pink, Elton john-style, star sunglasses: and the writers laugh, and the producers laugh and i die a little bit inside.

However, the saddest thing i found, watching this movie was not the horrible, gimmick ridden plotting (ooo... lets make this evil terminator a girl!!!!!) that coated each scene, but the much broader plot-strokes that smashed into the terminator mythology like a certain hanging steel girder into a certain skull. Killing off Sarah Conner (the only woman ever created who could've kicked Lt. Ripley's ass) off screen no less, shifting the credit for saving mankind from John Conner (who's become a pussy instead of a super-soldier) to 'his wife?!?'. Its these massive blows that seem to have crippled a franchise that always seemed to have one last movie in it.

However, i must freely admit that to most people this movie represents a small slice of action escapism that should warrant at least an hour and a half of you time if not your thoughts. But for me, and anyone else who bothered to learn to spell 'mimetic polyalloy' it's like watching a once proud bear being made to dance in a dirty tutu for the mild amusement of its owners.

I always maintain that T2 was one of the saddest movies i've ever seen, at least in that way T3 managed to emulate it.
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Watch it like it
jsickmore15 October 2018
Liked it saw it a few times, It has it's bad parts but overall great action scenes and all around good movie.
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Surprisely a good movie!
antos13 August 2003
I did not expect so much after the announced names of the producers Kassar and Vajna; I also did not know anything about the director Jonathan Mostow. But I must confess that even though I still prefer the first Terminator, I very liked the third one. First I read the announcement of the T3 with a female terminator around 10 years ago in a magazine, so I was looking forward to it long time. Today I watched it (my first Terminator movie in cinema), and I declare all the staff made a good work. Ms. Kristanna Loken was so the good choice!
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