Anthony's Film Review
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003)
With a change in director, the movie is an OK entry in the Terminator series...
The first two Terminator films benefitted a lot from not one but two talented men: director James Cameron and actor Arnold Schwarzenegger. When you think of The Terminator and Terminator 2: Judgment Day, you think of Cameron and Schwarzenegger. The moment one of them is out of the picture, the series could change. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines may bring back the franchise's icon star, but it feels somewhat different from its predecessors. The director has changed and the story and cast are OK but second-rate.
Still, the premise has not disappeared. It's another plot involving Skynet, the supercomputer that will annihilate the human race in the future. Once again, it sends a killer cyborg back in time to kill John Connor and prevent him from leading a future human resistance. At the same time, a second character makes the time leap to save John Connor. At this point in the story, John Connor is a young adult who still foresees doom.
The first issue I have is the villain. The killer robot is Kristanna Loken as the T-X (or "Terminatrix"). She's not bad in this movie, but she's not as impressive as the previous Terminator villains. The first Terminator had Schwarzenegger as a brutally strong, virtually unstoppable cyborg, and the second movie had Robert Patrick as T-1000, who is so advanced that he could melt and morph at will. These two characters had something that made them scary. So what about the T-X? I didn't see much with this one. The only interesting thing is that the robot's exterior is made to look like a human female.
Meanwhile, Schwarzenegger is still good as the heroic robot. However, he is a robot who doesn't remember the events of Terminator 2. In a somewhat strange scene, John Connor, played by Nick Stahl, is asking the Terminator if he remembers ever saying "I'll be back" or "Hasta la vista, baby." I remember this scene because it's as if the film had little new material to explore and felt the need to reference itself. Nick Stahl does an OK job otherwise. The same for Claire Danes as Kate Brewster, a character who will find herself along John's side.
All of this is not to say that I didn't like Terminator 3. I just liked it the least among the first three films. There is certainly plenty of action if you're looking for that, and there is a story that adds to the fictional timeline and segues into the next film. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines is, simply, the least dark of the series thus far. I only wish James Cameron had directed this one.
For more information about Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, visit the Internet Movie Database.
In addition, check out my reviews of the following:
The Terminator Films