Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003) - Review : DJ MACK

When a new Terminator, a T-X (Kristanna Loken), is sent back in time to kill John Connor (Nick Stahl) and his future wife, Kate Brewster (Claire Danes), John realizes he didn't stop Judgment Day, but merely postponed it. He and Kate are joined by a new T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger) to once again try to put a stop to Skynet. What Works: It's always fun to watch Arnold play the T-800. He has some great lines in this movie (and some not so great ones), but I love the character and enjoy watching him. This movie is incredibly over-the-top, which typically I wouldn't enjoy, but it has its moments. The Los Angeles car chase near the beginning of the movie is completely insane and I couldn't stop laughing at all the destruction. I also love that after the T-X crashes a helicopter into the hanger, the T-800 does the same thing with a bigger helicopter.
Nick Stahl is a big improvement over Edward Furlong as John Connor. Stahl is trying to figure out how he's supposed to be this great leader and he's way more believable and less irritating than Furlong. Finally, the best part of the movie is the ending. It's bold and dark and I respect the filmmakers for going through with it. They nuke the entire world. Our protagonists fail. That's insane for such a big blockbuster and I love it.
What Sucks: I once heard someone describe T3 as a parody of the Terminator movies and that's really accurate. Having the T-X give herself bigger breasts and the the T-800 get his outfit from a stripper are both ridiculous and feel like a bad SNL sketch. The CGI has not aged well at all and the movie looks like a cartoon some of the time. The effects in T2 look better and that movie is 12 years older. The T-X is a lackluster follow up to the T-1000. On the surface, the T-X is technically superior, but they do enough with her. The T-1000 was just so cool, that it's hard to live up to, but the T-X doesn't get remotely close. Finally, the second act of the movie isn't super interesting. It feels mostly like a retread and filler. The script needed one more plot point to keep the story engaging throughout.
Verdict: Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines is a big step down from the first two movies. It feels like a parody at time, the CGI is bad, and villain is lackluster, and the second act is mediocre. That said, it's a mostly entertaining film with a solid protagonist, some fun action beats, and an excellent ending. 6/10: Okay