Unstoppable killing machines. Time
That's the synopsis of Terminator 3. If that's enough
for you, go see it now.
Unlike the first two Terminator films, James Cameron had nothing to do
with this film. Some people may see this as a blessing. The
film was directed by Jonathan Mostow, who previously directed U-571
and Breakdown. The Masked Reviewer couldn't remember
U-571; he did remember it was a submarine movie, but got it confused
with K-19, a Harrison Ford (underwater) vehicle. K-19
shouldn't be confused with K-9 (a cop/dog buddy movie with Jim
Belushi (not to be confused with Turner and Hooch or Top Dog))
or K-2, about climbing the tallest mountain in the world (not to
be confused with Mt. Everest -- and if there's a K-2, where's K-1?).
K-2 starred Michael Biehn, who was also in Terminator.
No Michael Biehn in T-3. No Linda Hamilton. No
James Cameron. But, we do have Arnold, and that's what it's all
about. We also have Nick Stahl, Claire Danes, and Kristanna Loken.
It also features the return of Earl Boen as Dr. Silberman -- the only
cast member besides Arnold to be in all three films.
The acting is...well...let's just say that if Arnold left acting to
enter politics, we wouldn't have to worry that there'd be no one left to
give the Oscars(tm) to. Claire Danes, who often has to act scared,
frightened, or terrified doesn't do it particularly well. "Oh my
god!" "Y-y-you just...I-I-I-I can't believe it..." If you
can't stammer convincingly, stick with Shakespeare.
Nick Stahl is okay, but rather boring. He plays John Connor.
Edward Furlong, who played John Connor in T-2: Judgment Day
wasn't the strong link in that film. They could've had him reprise
his role, but instead went with Nick Stahl, who is two years younger.
Kristanna Loken plays the new evil robot. She's attractive.
Somehow her robot character isn't the same unstoppable force that Robert
Patrick's was in T2 or Arnold Schwarzenegger's was in the
original T. Instead of being a big tank with human flesh,
or a liquid metal killing machine, Loken's terminator is a big tank with
liquid metal skin. She also has a big super-powerful blasto gun
built in. But, she's not as menacing as other terminators.
Mean, but not as scary. Sexy, but not as scary.
The film is filled with big budget stunts and lots of explosions.
It even uses a healthy dose of computer graphics. The CG
representing the terminators is perhaps better done than the CG in the
Matrix...they cover the fact that it doesn't look quite right by using
it only in the midst of big explosions and other effects. But, it
still doesn't look quite right. Arguably, the effects in T-2
are better. While the liquid morphing effect was new then, it
wasn't special effect for special effect's sake. Then again, they
probably wrote the screenplay around that effect.
The big problem that some people will have, including the Masked
Reviewer, is that it's too...cutesy. Terminator was low
budget, fun, different, edgy. Terminator 2 went more
mainstream, and there were lots of little jokes. It wasn't about
an unstoppable killing machine, it was also about a "robot fish out of
water", learning how to fit in with its adolescent buddy.
Terminator 3 is more of the same...too much, in fact. In terms
of plot, it's just T-2. Good robot sent back in time to
stop bad robot. There are more lame jokes, but they get big
laughs. Having Arnold say trendy expressions from 8 years ago will
make some people laugh, because he's a robot, and robots wouldn't do
things like "snap a z". He didn't "snap a z" but he probably will
if they do a 4th terminator film.
They also did a couple of twists on his famous line, "I'll be back."
You knew that would be in there. Sadly, they didn't do any twists
on his other famous line from Terminator, "fuck you asshole".
Here are some lines you can expect from the next terminator film, if
they make it:
The possibilities are endless.
By the way, has anyone else noticed that in the original
Terminator, Arnold Schwarzenegger had no eyebrows? Well, he
didn't. They didn't explain why he has eyebrows in the other two
movies. Wasn't he an older model? Did the machines sit
around and say "Right, the reason the T-101 didn't succeed the first
time we sent him back in time was because he didn't have eyebrows."
If that's the way the machines think, how come it took us so long to
The other thing that some picky viewers will notice is that the
"message" of the film seems to go against the "message" of the first two
Terminator films. The first two films dealt with the "issue" (if
you could call it that) of determinism. Can you escape fate?
Is life what you make it, or is everything already written? The
first two films suggested that the future hasn't yet been written.
T-3 says it has been. Which, in the Masked Reviewer's
opinion, is not only kind of lame but also doesn't hold up with what
happens in the film.
This must be the summer of the
If you like mindless action, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines
is T-riffic. You'll be back to see it again and again. It's
much more similar to T-2 than Terminator. It's kind
of like T-2 II. And T-2 for T. T-2
for you, and T-3 for me.
It's nothing special, it's kind of silly, and it seems little more
than cashing in on a valuable franchise. It doesn't add anything,
but it does have a certain nostalgic appeal. And what better way
to kill a couple of hours than with time traveling robotic assassins?
Still, the Masked Reviewer had hoped for more.
Expectation from the Title: The story of Bobby "Pink Slip"
McFireman, the third guy to be in charge of Human Resources Dismissals
at the Mega Corporation. But, one day, everything changed
for Bobby when he himself got two weeks notice....
Mother's Rule (Always Say Something Good About Everything):
Arnold Schwarzenegger obviously eats his vegetables.
The Pros: Stuff blows up. Kristanna Loken looks great.
The Cons: Nothing new or really funny. No new effects,
no groundbreaking stunts, no new story.
Box Office Prediction: This film had a sneak preview on July 1.
It opens wide July 2. That gives it a six day "opening weekend".
The Masked Reviewer thinks it'll open at $40 million the first few days,
maybe hitting $60 million by Sunday. It's got a lot to compete
with. The Masked Reviewer guesses it'll bring in about $150
million for it's US run, if it's lucky.