|Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003)
Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Nick Stahl, Claire Danes, Kristanna Loken
Director: Jonathan Mostow
Arnold is back. A dozen years after the blockbuster release of "T2: Judgment Day," Arnold Schwarzenegger has yet to make one solid action film. Hoping to temporarily line his pockets again, he's decided to return for a third Terminator installment, "Rise of the Machines." Regrettably, "T3" is really just "T2" minus the testosterone injected Linda Hamilton, the classic directorial style of James Cameron and a fresh, original idea.
After his first encounter with the Terminator 10 years before, John Conner (Nick Stahl) now lives "off the grid" with no ties to telephone records or other electronic databases used to track his existence. Because of his unknown whereabouts to the machines in the future, a new updated Terminator, the TX (Kristanna Loken), is sent back in time to assassinate the soon-to-be rebel leader's future lieutenants.
One of these targets is Kate Brewster (Claire Danes), a former classmate of Conner's who's now engaged to be married. Kate learns of her fate from the Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) when he follows the TX back in time to protect both Conner and Brewster. Haven't we heard this one before? That's right, the same exact thing happened in "T2."
Don't get me wrong. "T3" is an amazing action movie (yet still inferior to many of the ones already out) and is great for hardcore fans of the series, but the sheer attractiveness the duo of Schwarzenegger and Cameron brought to "T2" is missing here, leaving this one looking a little faded. Cameron passed on the chance to direct again purely because he believed he already told the story, and he did.
The premise behind "T3" is just a rehashed plotline from its predecessor with unexplainable occurrences littered throughout. While this latest film still boasts amazing special effects, thrilling action sequences and a slew of Arnold one-liners, "T3" is only for those truly attached to the Terminator storyline. For everyone else, there are plenty of better action flicks to choose from right now, so don't feel guilty about skipping this disappointment.
The DVD for "T3" is loaded with features, ranging from a commentary track with the director and the lead actors along with a gag reel, a "making of" documentary and much more. "T3" isn't the best of the Terminator movies, but it certainly carries on the high special effects standards of its predecessors, particularly the innovations achieved in "T2." As a result it was no surprise that the DVD features relating to the special effects process were some of the most interesting. The viewer is shown how the director and the special effects team struck an impressive balance between computer graphics and traditional special effects, something that many other directors today fail to achieve.