"Terminator 3: Rise of the
Directed by Jonathan Mostow ("U-571").
Written by John Brancato and Michael Ferris.
Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Nick Stahl and Claire Danes.
Release Year: 2003
Review Date: 7/9/03
The trailer sucked, but I still had some
faith that Arnold Schwarzenegger came back to do another
“Terminator” film because he liked the script...and, maybe, just
MAYBE, the third film in the franchise might actually turn out okay.
Like the other 100 or so folks in
attendance, I think all of us left pretty satisfied from my viewing
on Monday night. By no means is “Terminator 3: Rise of the
Machines” on the same planet as the rock-solid “Terminator 2:
Judgment Day”, but as an action film for the summertime “T3” brings
home the goods. You get a very predictable storyline that only
briefly strays from what we are already familiar with--a robot
assassin (Schwarzenegger) comes back in time to protect a future
rebel leader named John Connor (Nick Stahl, from
“In The Bedroom”)
from another robot assassin, the TX (Kristanna Loken). The TX has
the ability to manipulate machinery, kill people, and shape-change
to resemble people she has already killed. The TX is sent back in
time by the Machines to take out Connor and a bunch of high-ranking
lieutenants in the Connor army, including Kate Brewster (Claire
Danes), so the TX starts out killing high school students on its way
to taking out Connor.
Plot--just a vehicle to put the action
sequences into; in “T3”, the main set pieces are very well done, and
the highlight for me was clearly the first car chase sequence; man,
it looked like just to shoot that one sequence it took the
filmmakers a month. So much destruction! So many explosions! So
many LA city blocks demolished! I was loving it. “T3” really does
do the things it SHOULD do well by giving you some action, some
great special effects (by more FX houses than there are Apostles,
judging from the credits), and some corny one-liners by the King of
the One-Liner, Schwarzenegger. It moves along briskly, never
allowing more than a couple of minutes to go by before someone else
is maimed, killed, impaled, beaten or shredded by chain gun fire.
And we get a couple of ridiculous, over-the-top Terminator fights
where two robots slug it out while not making any facial
Schwarzenegger, of course, is in familiar
territory here and does ably in the 15 minutes of screen time he has
in “T3.” (Seriously, is Schwarzenegger even IN this film? Take
away his stunt double for three-fourths of his scenes, and really,
the guy made $30 million to essentially be a stand-in. If only all
of us could be so lucky.) Loken is great in the film; she does the
emotionless bit quite effectively. Stahl is pretty solid, too.
Unfortunately, Danes is the square peg trying to fit into the round
hole here; she just doesn’t seem to belong, and I couldn’t put my
finger on what it was the whole film. “T3” obviously is hurting
without Linda Hamilton, who is written out of this film because
apparently she thought two “Terminator” films were enough for her.
(Note to Hamilton: who ELSE is sending you paychecks right now to
star in films?) But, Danes doesn’t do enough to kill “T3”, but she
does do enough to annoy you for short stretches of film.
And, there were small other things that
logistically just don’t make sense to me with these films; Connor
seems to be on the run from the Machines when the film starts, for
example. Why does he keep hangin’ around LA? LA has been nothing
but trouble for the guy for his whole life, but instead of leaving,
he just runs AROUND LA. I think he would have a much easier time
dodging the bad guys by leaving town, don’t you? Plus, the TX’s
ability to manipulate machines leads her to be able to remote
control four cars at once during the initial car chase; she is made
so freakin’ powerful but she doesn’t seem to know how to best use
her skills to find Connor and Company quickly.
But, I must say--Bravo, “Terminator 3”,
bravo. Surprisingly, I enjoyed myself. I even liked the ending,
which is a bit of a twist.
Rating: $9.50 Show
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard