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PopEntertainment.com > Reviews > Movie Reviews > Terminator 3 - Rise of the Machines

MOVIE REVIEWS

TERMINATOR 3: RISE OF THE MACHINES (2003)

Starring Arnold Schwartzenegger, Nick Stahl, Claire Danes, Kristanna Loken, David Andrews, Mark Famiglietti, Earl Boen, Moira Harris, Chopper Bernet, Chris Lawford, Carolyn Hennesy, Jay Acovone, M.C. Gainey, Susan Merson and Elizabeth Morehead.

Screenplay by John Brancato and Michael Ferris.

Directed by Jonathan Mostow.

Distributed by Warner Brothers.  109  minutes.  Rated R.

Terminator 3 - Rise of the Machines

Okay, I have to admit I'm not the ideal fan to review this third installment in the Terminator franchise.  I have only once seen the first movie on video, and I thought is was pretty good, but nowhere near as good as I'd been told all these years (particularly the "mind-blowing" surprise ending, anyone who has ever seen a time travel movie should have seen that one coming a mile away.)  I have never seen Terminator 2.  I have no great love of the world James Cameron created, so I don't find it offensive that he has nothing to do with this third film.  I refuse to refer to the movies with initials.  I'm not a huge fan of big, dumb action pictures.  I would seem to be the completely wrong person to go see Terminator 3  and judge it.

Funny thing is, I liked this movie a lot more than I thought I would.  Oh, sure, it'll never win any Academy Awards and the film was created with the express creed that you should never blow up five things when you can blow up fifty.  It's big, loud, boisterous and makes no sense if you really think about it.  The series has even lost its ability to craft a popular catch phrase.  "Talk to the hand" was pretty hackneyed back when Fran Drescher was using it in Beautician & the Beast six years ago.  None of this matters, Terminator 3 is good popcorn fun.

I have come to realize that the Terminator is the perfect character for Arnold Schwarzenegger.  The robot doesn't speak much English, he doesn't understand much going on around him, he has no sense of humor, nor does he show much of any emotion at all.  All he has to do is look strong and fight.  Perfect.  This may sound like a bit of a slam, and I guess in a way it is, but I really mean it as a compliment.  They tell writers to write what you know, well that goes with actors, too.  No one will ever believe Arnold Schwarzenegger as the Pope or a doctor or an evil partner at a law firm, but this role suits him so well and he has so much fun with it that it is infectious. 

The new actors are fine in pretty throwaway roles. Claire Danes plays a professional victim who will go on to lead the revolution.  Nick Stahl plays John Connor (the character played by Edward Furlong in the second installment) and he has the haunted rootless looks and feel of a man who is expected to be greater than he thinks is within him.  Kristanna Loken is beautiful and kind of funny as a female cyborg, though she doesn't seem to have the sly pleasure with the character that Arnold is having. 

The story gets a little needlessly complicated, but everytime the story starts to flag a series of car crashes or submachine gun fire or robot attacks goose things back into high gear.  The film ends with a very blatant set up for the next installment in the series.  At least, for the first time in this almost twenty-year-old franchise, I'm looking forward to the sequel... just so long as it isn't called Terminator 4: Rise of the Recall Governors.  (07/03)

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright 2003   PopEntertainment.com.  All rights reserved. Posted: August 15, 2003.

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Copyright 2003   PopEntertainment.com.  All rights reserved. Posted: August 15, 2003.