Friday, August 14, 2015

Movie Review: Terminator 3 - Rise of the Machines

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Action and ending
Cons: Formulaic despite efforts to break from the formula
The Bottom Line:
Machines still hunting
Sci fi, action, formula
All mix in this film

Premise Becoming a Bit Familiar

It’s been sitting on my DVR for a while, but life has gotten busy, so I finally got a chance to sit down and watch Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.  I’m definitely beginning to feel the familiarity in the franchise, but it was still a fun movie.

We are once again set in the “present” (read 2003) as a young 20’s John Connor (Nick Stahl) is doing his best to live his life off the grid, afraid of the future his mother has constantly told him about.  He stumbles into his past when he meets up with Kate Brewster (Claire Danes), someone he knew in Jr. High but lost touch with after taking off with his mom after the events of the last movie.

And just as the two of them meet up again, two Terminators are sent into the past.  In addition to the old model (Arnold Schwarzenegger), we also get a female terminator (Kristanna Loken) this time.  John immediately assumes he’s the target that the machines have been sent into the past to kill him and begins to figure out a way to survive.  But are his assumptions correct?  Can anyone survive as we inch closer to the doomsday we’ve been expecting for so long?

Yes, they tried to shake things up with a female terminator this time, but let’s be honest.  This is the third film in the franchise, and the premise is familiar.  There were a couple of interesting twists on the formula this time around, but they were small.  Big picture, if you’ve seen one of the first two Terminator films, you know what to expect here.

Not that the film doesn’t deliver.  We get plenty of action throughout the entire film and some great suspense early on as the evil terminator does a bit of stalking.  Ironically enough, the special effects don’t seem quite as elaborate as the second film, which was filmed a decade earlier.  Don’t get me wrong, the effects are all great, but they aren’t as breathtaking or creative.  Likewise, the acting is fine, especially from the leads.

What propels this film up a bit in my mind is the ending.  I wasn’t expecting it, and how it was executed made it powerful.  It actually left me wondering what would happen next to the characters, so obviously I’ve come to care about them more than I expected.

While Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines is not classic cinema, it is still entertaining.  If you are looking for some action with a science fiction bent, you’ll enjoy it.

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