Friday, July 24, 2015

Franchises: The Terminator. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003)

By the time the new millenium had rolled around, I had my first computer and, by extension, access to the internet in my own home. As I got used to it and became accustomed to roaming around on it for hours on end, I began to discover websites such as the Internet Movie Database, which was an amazing find for me because I never dreamed that such a place actually existed. Once I got ahold of the first two movies on video, I decided to look up the original Terminator's entry on the site, which led to me discovering that there was indeed a third film in the works. It was quite a surprise, given how final the ending of T2 had seemed, with all traces of SkyNet being wiped out and the Terminator sacrificing himself to ensure that Judgment Day wouldn't happen. But, the film's subtitle, Rise of the Machines, made it even more clear that wasn't the case and that SkyNet was apparently going to have its day. Naturally, I was interested in the film. I wasn't overly excited or hyped, and I also wasn't sure exactly when it was going to be released (even though the release date by the title already said 2003 at that point, I had learned early on that release dates are subject to change), but it was a film I was intent upon seeing when it finally did come out. When it became clear that it was going to be released in the summer of 2003, I was kind of hoping that it would be rated PG-13 since, even though I was 16, I was still too young to see it at the theater if it was rated R (the theaters around here will check on that sort of thing) and plus, even though they didn't mind me watching them at home on video, my parents weren't going to take me to see an R-rated movie, especially my mom, who back then really abhorred violence. Since it did end up being rated R, I had to wait until that Christmas when I got the movie on DVD in order to watch it and, by that point, I had heard that the overall opinion on the film was mixed when compared to the universal praise that the first two always got, so I wasn't sure whether I would ultimately like it or not anyway. But, when I finally did watch it, I was pleased. I didn't think it was an excellent movie or anything and I agreed with the feeling that it didn't reach the level of its predecessors, but I still found it to be an enjoyable 109 minutes overall, which is how I still feel about it today and is a fact you should already know if you've read that list I did of what I consider to be the most underrated sequels. It has some problems, like how really stupid the humor gets at points and how the premise, by now, feels like it's been done to death, but I think it's a damn good popcorn, action flick with a surprisingly ballsy and bleak ending that really shocked me when I first saw it.

In the years since the events of Terminator 2, John Connor has been living off the grid in Los Angeles, on his own ever since his mother died, with the fear that, even though August 29th, 1997 came and went with nothing happening, that the war between humanity and the machines has not been averted. His fears are realized when one night, unbeknownst to him, an advanced Terminator known as the T-X arrives in Los Angeles from the future to eliminate all of the people who will John's future lieutenants in the war. Another reprogrammed T-800 is also sent back by the Resistance to protect both John and an old acquaintance of his, Kate Brewster. The latter works at a veterinary clinic and is called there at 5:00 in the morning when she discovers John there, who has taken a number of drugs in the back. After momentarily incapacitating him, Kate prepares to deal with her customer when the T-X arrives, kills said person, and discovers that John is nearby by analyzing the DNA of the blood on a piece of gauze that was on his leg. Before she can find out from Kate where John is and kill both of them, the T-800 arrives and helps the two of them escape. After joining up with them after a long and destructive chase through the streets of L.A., the Terminator tells John that he and his mother only managed to postpone Judgment Day years ago and that it's going to take place that very day. He also explains what the T-X is, what she's there, and that he's an obsolete design when compared to her. After another encounter with the T-X and amassing a cache of weapons for protection, the Terminator attempts to take John and Kate to a location where they will be able to survive Judgment Day but John insists upon attempting to stop it altogether, threatening to kill himself if he doesn't help them. Once Kate, who is revealed to be John's future wife,  begs him to take them to the headquarters of CRS, the United States Air Force divison that was once Cyberdyne, so they can stop the head of the project, her father, General Robert Brewster, from activating SkyNet, the android complies, saying that she's the one he's programmed to obey. Once again, the race is on to prevent Judgment Day, but with SkyNet already gaining control of computer systems across the country, they might not make it in time.

James Cameron himself had talked about a third Terminator movie throughout the 90's, mentioning at one point that the Universal Studios attraction, Terminator 2 3-D, could be seen as a bridging device to a possible third movie (he says that on a making of featurette about the attraction on the T2 Ultimate DVD). But, for various reasons, including the bankrupcy of Carolco Pictures, the studio behind T2, a big hullabaloo regarding the rights to the franchise, and the troubled post-production of Titanic, the latter of which also contributed to 20th Century Fox backing out of an attempt to grab the rights, he would ultimately leave behind this series that he created. When Carolco founders Mario Kassar and Andrew Vajna bought the full rights to the franchise and set up a new studio, C2 Pictures, to produce the third film, they eventually hired Jonathan Mostow, a former documentary and music video director, to helm it. Mostow's most notable film at that point was U-571, which had done pretty well and had been nominated for two Oscars, one of which it did win, but was also heavily blasted for its historical inaccuracy, especially in Great Britain when Tony Blair called it an insult to the Royal Navy. Before that, Mostow had directed a 1989 direct-to-video film called Beverly Hills Bodysnatchers, a Showtime film called Flight of Black Angel, and his first really big film, Breakdown with Kurt Russell. He had also intended to direct The Game around that time but decided to hand it over to David Fincher while he did Breakdown (he's credited as executive producer on that film). After Terminator 3, he didn't direct another movie until the 2009 film Surrogates with Bruce Willis, which also did pretty well. At this point, his next film is meant to be Hunter's Prayer with Sam Worthington. I can't say much about Mostow as a director since this is the only movie of his that I've seen but it seems like, at the end of the day, he's a pretty average one. He's not great nor terrible, just somebody you call if you want a movie that will please most of the general audience but not be that popular with critics.

While it is nice to see Arnold Schwarzenegger once again playing this iconic role, at this point it's starting to feel a little on the stale side. Jonathan Mostow said on the DVD commentary that if the T-800 in Terminator 2 was meant to be a companion and father figure to young John Connor, the one here is meant to be something of a drill sergeant, who does what he can to whip John into shape and get him to do what he needs to rather than form a bond with him and while that does give Arnold a little bit of a different approach to the role, it doesn't feel as fresh or original as I think they thought it would. Again, it's great to see Arnold in the outfit and sunglasses again, carrying around those big weapons, getting caught up in big action scenes and shootouts, and you can see that he's still committed since he got into really good shape again, even though he was in his mid-50's at this point, but it just feels like he's done everything he can do with the role. We've seen him as an unstoppable killing machine, a killing machine that evolves and learns enough to where he's able to value human life, and here, he's again meant to be a protector who has again been programmed not to kill innocent people, with the difference being that he's colder and more stern, going about things in a "business as usual" manner simply due to his programming, but it comes across like he's going through the motions. I don't know how else to put it other than that. The humor that he's forced to play doesn't help him either (I didn't need to hear the Terminator say, "Talk to the hand,") and neither does the fact that, despite his good physical shape, he's noticeably older, making you wonder why SkyNet would design a Terminator that looks like that. I do really enjoy some aspects of his performance, like when he intentionally makes John angry to snap him out of the state of despair he's in at one point, when he's describing John's future death at his own hands (an interesting idea that they never do anything with) in that cold, emotionless manner, when the T-X gains control of him near the end of the film and he's fighting with himself in order to keep from killing John, and the humorous moments that do actually work, as well as just hearing him say all of this technical, statistical stuff in that voice of his, which never gets old to me, but on the whole, he doesn't have the same luster in the role that he used to. In fact, you could take the Terminator's line about him being an obsolete design as a means of describing the issue and how Arnold himself was fading popularity at that point, with this being the last really big hit he's had, especially since his return to movies since his stint as the "Governator."

It's a shame that Edward Furlong couldn't return as John Connor due to his drug problems, especially after he did appear in the role again in the Terminator 2 3-D attraction, but I think they found a more than capable replacement with Nick Stahl (who, weirdly enough, has had the very same problems as Furlong). When he meet up with him again in the many years since T2, we see that life has not been that kind to John, even though Judgment Day didn't happen. Ever since his mother died, he's been on his own, living off the grid, constantly running anywhere he can for fear that the war between humanity and SkyNet hasn't been averted and that he'll have to live up to his destiny, which is the last thing he wants. That's the main crux of John's character here: like his mother was for a bit of the original Terminator, he wants no part of his oft-talked about role in the future. He doesn't want to be a big hero or to lead the human resistance against the machines or anything of the sort, but rather just wants to be left alone, to the point where, despite what the Terminator says, he's hellbent on preventing Judgment Day from happening in the first place. When the Terminator refuses to help him do so, saying that it's his destiny to survive Judgment Day and organize the Resistance afterward, John puts a gun to his head, saying, "Fuck my destiny." Even though the Terminator tells him that he calculates a high probability that he won't go through with it, John looks pretty serious about it to me, particularly when you take into account the state his life is in at that point and how this appears to be the only way for him to avoid this future he doesn't want. I think that the very way that Stahl's face looks, which is very sad and lost, even when he smiles, combined with his expression, tone of voice, and at words help sell this dangerous bit of desperation he's going through. Ultimately, even though the Terminator does agree to help them, John, as well as Kate Brewster, can't escape what fate has in store for them, as they're led down into a fallout shelter under the assumption that it contains SkyNet's system core as Judgment Day comes to pass outside. Although John is initially frustrated by what they discover and does have another chance to kill both himself and Kate with the time bombs they intended to use to blow up the core, when he hears distress calls on the radio equipment there, he ultimately accepts his responsibility and assumes command, answering the calls. He ends the film with the narration that, thanks to the Terminator, he's learned to never stop fighting and says that the battle has just begun.

I know not too many people are that fond of Claire Danes as Kate Brewster in this film but I don't mind her at all. She reminds me a lot of how Sarah was during the first third of the original film: she's going about her normal, everyday life when she gets caught up in a crazy situation and is, as anyone would be, very skeptical of what John and the Terminator are telling her. As Sarah initially thought Reese was, she thinks they're both nuts and that they're kidnapping her, and is especially not too fond at John at first, even though they have something of a history since they made out in a basement when they were younger, who she sees as a thug and a junkie (needles to say, she's also not too thrilled when she finds out that she becomes his wife in the future). Eventually, though, she realizes that it is all true, a fact that is reinforced when she finds out that the T-X killed her fiance and began impersonating him. Like John, she's not willing to accept her destiny without at least trying to prevent Judgment Day by getting to her father and stopping him from putting SkyNet online, something she is able to convice the Terminator to help them do since you find out that she's the one who sent him back since John had been killed by that point and that he's programmed to do what she says. Unfortunately, they're unable to stop SkyNet from taking control or save her father, who's killed by the T-X, and like John was earlier, she suggests to him that they could use the explosive charges that they were going to use to blow up the system core to kill themselves. But, once they hear the distress calls over the fallout shelter's radio equipment, like John she accepts her role as his future spouse and second-in-command and prepares for the battle ahead. I only have two qualms with Kate: one is that, aside from getting the Terminator to take them to her father, which leads to them taking shelter at Crystal Peak, she doesn't do that much that's proactive save when she shoots down an early model, flying HK during the climax. I guess it makes a little bit of sense given how she was meant to be an everyday person caught up in extraordinary circumstances but it would have been nice to see her kick a little more ass, especially since her dad's a general. And second, although they do become close by the end of the film, I find it hard to believe that she and John will become so close that they will become husband and wife in the future. It seems like the only reason that'll happen is because they've been told that it will, which doesn't sound like something that would make for a longlasting, meaningful, and vital relationship as theirs is supposed to be. But, I guess when you're stuck with each other in a fallout shelter for a while as the world goes to hell outside, anything could happen.

One of the main things that keeps T3 from reaching the same heights that its predecessors did is that the main villain, the T-X (Kristanna Loken), is pretty lame to me. They try to make her out to be the newest and deadliest Terminator that's ever been created but I've never found her to be as interesting or, more importantly, threatening as the ones that have come before. For one, nothing about her feels original but rather that they did it just because it hadn't been in the previous films. We've never had a female Terminator, so she's a female. We've had actual robots and a liquid-metal Terminator, so let's make one that's a combination of the two. We've never had one that's programmed to destroy any Terminators that have been reprogrammed by humans, so let's put that into her. To me, there's a difference between being creative and just going with something obvious that hadn't been done before and I feel that the T-X falls into the latter category. Second, I don't find her to be as scary as Arnold and Robert Patrick were in the previous films. Loken tries to come across as intimidating, replicating the cold, calculating stare that the T-1000 had, but it doesn't give me chills the same way it did in the previous film and she definitely doesn't have the physical presence that Arnold did in the first movie. Plus, it's odd that even though she's supposed to be the most advanced model Terminator, she's not as skillful in passing for human as the T-1000 was, talking in the typical monotone, mechanical voice that the T-800's have also spoken in. Third, and this is an extension of the second, she doesn't feel as dangerous as she should be. Yes, since she has a liquid-metal exterior, she can imitate other people like the T-1000 but because there's an actual endoskeleton underneath it, she's not able to pour herself through holes to get at her targets like her predecessor and when the Terminator and the main characters shoot her, even though her endoskeleton is tough, it doesn't have the same impact as the previous film where they were uselessly wasting their bullets on a liquid mass. She's also outfitted with nanotechnology, which enables her to take control of other machines like cars and experimental military weapons, which is an interesting idea and could make her quite a threat but it's not utilized enough or done in such a way where it leaves that scary of an impact, even when she reprograms the Terminator to kill John. And her main weapons, which are these energy blasters and flamethrowers that she deploys from her right arm, as well as other tools like saws she activates on her left, do nothing for me. The T-X does have some memorable qualities, like her hotness (seriously, Loken is one sexy woman), her red leather outfit, and her fairly cool-looking endoskeleton, as well as that she's been programmed to go after more than one target, namely all the people who would help John form the Resistance, but as a whole, she's one of the weaker villains that this franchise has seen.

David Andrews, whom you may remember as the star of the 1990 Stephen King adaptation Graveyard Shift, has a small role her as Lieutenant General Robert Brewster, Kate's father and overseer of the project that was once Cyberdyne. He doesn't have much screentime but you get enough of him to know that he's a good guy, a caring father who does love his daughter and wants her to be happy, telling her that she doesn't need his approval of her fiance, and is also smart enough to realize the risk involved in giving SkyNet complete control of the military computer system, even if it is to get rid of a computer virus that's wreaking havoc across the country. Eventually, though, his superiors pressure him into putting the program online and he reluctantly does so, enabling SkyNet to begin wiping out humanity. He doesn't live very long afterward, being mortally wounded by the T-X, but he's able to direct John and Kate to Crystal Peak where they will survive Judgment Day and, before he dies, tells his daughter that he's sorry, realizing that he opened Pandora's box, which he was fearing might be the case all along. Scott (Mark Famiglietti), Kate's fiance, also doesn't get much screentime before he's killed and impersonated by the T-X but, like her father, you do get the sense that he's a very decent guy who does genuinely care about her (his look is kind of odd, though; there's something not quite human about his facial expressions and the way his face looks, which enables him to be really effective during the scenes where the T-X is impersonating him). And finally, there's the brief return of Earl Boen as Dr. Silberman, who shows up at one point to try to comfort Kate and assure her that she imagined the Terminator proving himself to be a robot. This tiny appearance makes Silberman the only character other than the Terminator himself to be in all three of these films (when my mom and I sat down to watch it, I told her that there was another person from the first two movies in here besides Arnold and when it got to his scene, her reaction was, "Oh, lord,") and in his cameo, he continues to show how much a loser and coward he is, having convinced himself that what he witnessed during the events of T2 was just an illusion brought on by the pressure of being in such a horrific situation. Right after he says that, he sees the Terminator appear holding a coffin above his shoulder with one hand and a big gun in the other, causing him to panic and run off like a big baby, no doubt to get wiped out when Judgment Day happened later that day.

In the past two Terminator reviews, I didn't devote a section to the humor in the specific film but I think it's warranted here because it is a major issue this time around. It seems like as the films went on, they changed not only in terms of genre but also in tone and a big part of that was the humor associated with the character of the Terminator. The original film had no humor at his expense whatsoever, except maybe when he's in the motel room and, after running through a list of possible responses to a knock at his door, selects, "Fuck you, asshole," and even that didn't derail from the creepiness factor. T2 is where the Terminator became more light-hearted and had some comedic moments, like when he smirks upon finding the minigun in the weapons bunker and when he says, "Hasta la vista, baby," before blowing the T-1000 apart and such. However, I think James Cameron handled that stuff really well and knew how far to push it without making the Terminator too clownish, which is why cut that scene of him trying to smile from the theatrical version. Here, though, the Terminator does become clownish at points, which is a big mistake. I can't deny that there are some comedic moments that do make me at least smirk, even if they are really stupid, but it dumbs the whole thing down quite a bit and doesn't make it feel as intelligent as the first two films. As I already said, it just doesn't sound right to hear the Terminator tell someone to, "Talk to the hand," and, on top of that, to see him actually put it in their face while Dat Funky Man plays in the background. The scene where he learns that line, which is when he walks into that strip club naked after arriving and demands the clothes of the guy on stage, isn't quite as dumb to me but when I see the Terminator grab the guy's hand and actually say something to it after he tells him to talk to it, even though I do laugh, it's a, "God, that was dumb," kind of laugh, and the same goes for when he exits the club with his newfound clothes while Macho Man starts playing inside. And those fruity, Elton John-like sunglasses he initially puts on? Again, I laugh when I see that, and so did Mom when she and I watched the movie recently, but it's still a case of me thinking, "Man, they're bring the Terminator down really far, really fast!" afterward. Now, there are comedic moments that do work for me, like when the Terminator gets slammed onto the front of a fire truck and says, "I'll drive," before taking the wheel, when Kate is freaking out in the back and he says, "Relax!", when John gets him to tell Kate how important she is when she's freaking out at another point, and when she shoots him in the head and he spits out the bullet and calmly says, "Don't do that." That's good stuff and feel in line with the humor in T2 (for crying out loud, I even laugh at the moment when they're driving a now completely demolished hearse and the Terminator says, "We need a new vehicle," as borderline as that joke is). However, the really, really dumb humor does make for a sad reminder that the series isn't in the hands of its creator anymore and is not going to be quite as ambitious and sophisticated as it used to be as a result.

Once again, I have to bring up the issue of time-travel, even though I'm sure that when I did so in the previous review, you were like, "Oh, sweet Christ, is he going to do this for every single one of these movies?" (In case you're wondering, there won't be a section like this for Terminator: Salvation, although that's only because there's no time travel at all in that movie.) Here, the idea gets more convoluted than ever and really flies in the face of what you've been told before. For one, the "there is no fate but what we make" concept behind the previous two movies has been completely wiped out, with the Terminator telling John that they only postponed Judgment Day and that it's inevitable. Talk about something that really harms the previous two films, especially T2: everything that the characters went through before, including the second Terminator's touching and meaningful sacrifice at the end of the previous film, was completely pointless because Judgment Day was going to happen one way or the other. I like that they do acknowledge that the events of T2 did alter the timeline and led to Judgment Day happening later than it was originally supposed to, but that's still a bummer in every sense of the word. (That tends to happen a lot in followups to James Cameron-directed sequels, doesn't it? First Alien 3 making the entire climax of Aliens pointless and now this.) Not only that but, if that's the case, then it's pointless for both the Resistance and SkyNet to keep trying to change history. If the future is indeed set, that the machines will take over and that John Connor will save humanity, then why are they going through all of this trouble? You could say that they just don't know this but remember, the Terminator is the one who brings up this whole notion, so somebody had to have told him that. And, in fact, if the future can't be changed, does that mean that John's message to Sarah through Reese was a big lie to get her in gear? Speaking of John, let's talk about something else: on their way to try to stop SkyNet from being activated, the Terminator tells John and Kate that the reason he listens to her is because she was the one who sent him back in time. When asked why John wasn't the one who sent him back, the Terminator says that he himself had managed to terminate him before he was reprogrammed. So, humanity's only hope ended up dying but it's all good because his wife and second-in-command is able to send the Terminator back to protect both John and her younger self? First, that really diminishes John's importance to the future if it doesn't matter that he got killed, especially when it seems like the Terminator is more concerned with protecting Kate, stating that their unborn children will one day be important. We've been told endlessly in the previous films that John is humanity's last hope, with even the Terminator saying that in this very film, but it seems not if his future wife and children will make a difference. And again, I have to reiterate, if the future is set and can't be altered, why did Kate bother sending the Terminator back to protect herself and John? What difference would it make? We wouldn't have a movie, that's what difference it would make, which is the biggest problem of all! T2 tied everything up so neatly that there was probably no way to do another movie except coming up with something that goes against everything we've been told before, meaning that they should have just let it be.

Staying on the subject of T2 for a bit longer, I have to mention how this film copies a number of elements and scenes from that film. The overall plot, with a reprogrammed T-800 protecting John Connor and someone else from a more advanced Terminator model with liquid-metal capabilities, is basically a tweaked rewrite of the previous film, right down to one of the main characters being tortured by nightmares of what might happen and the third act decision to try to prevent Judgment Day from happening. The Terminator walking into the strip joint to get some clothes is a lot like him going into the biker bar, with the only difference being that no one's looking at him weird, both Terminators finding their respective targets at the same place is similar to what happened in the mall, the crane chase, while spectacular, is more or less a bigger, more extravagant version of the canal chase, with John trying to outrun the antagonistic Terminator in a vehicle while the heroic one tries to keep up, the characters finding Sarah Connor's weapons cache is similar to the scene at Enrique's home in the desert (there is a lot of driving in the desert here as well), and the action bit that follows, where the Terminator takes care of the police officers that have gathered out in the graveyard, feels identical to the minigun scene at Cyberdyne in T2 (he evens scans the area to make sure he didn't kill anyone after it's over). Speaking of Cyberdyne, the climax at CRS headquarters reminds me a lot of that section of the previous film, mainly because it's a lot of shooting and explosions in a big, shiny, high-tech building, with the only difference being that the characters are fighting first-generation HKs rather than police and SWAT officers. And finally, you have the evil Terminator using its ability to imitate other people to make it easier for it to get close to and eliminate its targets, with the T-X actually succeeding in doing so when she kills General Brewster, as well as the T-800 killing the evil Terminator and sacrificing himself to ensure that humanity has a chance, as well as many others that I'm sure I forgot to mention. While I do appreciate that the filmmakers thought enough of T2 to try to immulate it, they should have tried harder to come up with their own stuff because all of this deja vu adds to this movie feeling more than a little unoriginal.

Not surprisingly, this is the first Terminator movie to make extensive use of CGI after it had been put through a successful field test in T2 and had advanced considerably in the following years; unfortunately, as a result, there are a number of shots where the effects don't feel as timeless and realistic as those in that film. Some of it looks good, like that shot of the walking Terminator endoskeletons shooting their laser cannons during John's nightmare at the beginning, the part where the T-X gets attached to a big magnet and her liquid-metal is slowly pulled off, the enhancements to Stan Winston's makeup that show extensive damage to the Terminator's face at the end, and those shots of Judgment Day happening (although that's successful mostly due to the drama and the music that plays), but there are plenty of others that haven't held up well. The flying HKs are clearly CGI and don't have the same feeling of photorealism that the models in the first two films did, with that big money shot of them during the future war bit at the beginning looking like a cutscene from a video game, and the same thing goes for that underwater shot leading up to that one (although, I think the skulls you see there were actually there, which is nice) the effects used to create the T-X's liquid-metal capabilities, especially when she gets shot, and her arm weapons don't hold up as well as those used for the T-1000, the crane flipping over at the end of the big chase isn't the most convincing, and the shots of the Terminator's head hanging off his body look especially bad, particularly the shot from behind when he reattches it. Fortunately, there are still some nice makeup and practical effects courtesy of Stan Winston (the last time he himself would work on a Terminator movie, sadly) and his studio, like the damage makeup you see on Arnold in the scenes leading up to the ending, the bit where he cuts the flesh off of his stomach in order to get rid of a damaged fuel cell, the T-X's hand punching through a detective's chest (there seems to be a combination of CGI and prosthetics there), the animatronic T-X endoskeleton, and the miniature HK tanks that the T-X activates to wreak havoc at CRS during the climax (love those things), and you still get a lot of actual stuntwork and physical effects during the action sequences, even in the very destructive and costly crane chase, which is all good stuff. On the whole, though, you can look at this film as when the series, and movies in general, were slowly but surely beginning to drift away from mixing practical and computer effects and beginning to rely on CGI full-time, which is a shame.

If there's one thing that Terminator 3 excells at, it's action. This film has a number of exciting, well conceived, photographed, and edited setpieces, the first of which rivals the stuff in T2 for sheer scale, and when you combine that with a very brisk pace and a running time of only 109 minutes, you've got a movie that, if nothing else, is very entertaining. The film doesn't waste much time in getting to the action either. Following a nightmare that John has about the future, where we see flying Hunter-Killers patrolling above a destroyed wasteland and an army of Terminator endoskeletons toting laser cannons, and the arrival of the two Terminators, with the T-X wasting no time in getting clothes and a vehicle and killing two of her targets, the first major sequence starts when Kate runs into John after he broke into the veterinary clinic she works at to steal some drugs and, when he pulls a gun on her to keep her from calling the police, she takes advantage of his wasted state to throw him into a cage in the kennel. When she talks to him and figures out who he is, she hears glass break outside and when she goes to investigate, she hears the woman she was about to help scream, followed by gunshots and her falling to the floor past the corner up ahead. The T-X checks the woman's blood and finds out that it's not Kate. She walks into the back room where Kate is hiding and, upon scanning it, finds a piece of blood-covered gauze that John had on his leg earlier. Upon analyzing its DNA, she learns that it's John Connor, whom she had not expected to find since, as you learn later, SkyNet didn't know of his whereabouts when they sent her back in time. Kate then makes a break for it, manages to avoid getting shot by mere inches, and runs out to the parking lot to her van. When she gets inside, she fumbles the keys in a panic, with the T-X then appearing right outside the window after she bends down to get them. She smashes the window, tears the door off, grabs Kate, and flings her onto the ground, proceeding to walk up to her and put her foot on Kate's throat and asks where John is. Before she can get an answer, a truck comes speeding across the road and into the parking lot, slamming into the T-X and smashing into the side of the building, causing a parked car to hit some fuel tanks and cause a large explosion. Once everything subsides, the Terminator gets out of the truck and walks up to Kate, asking if she's Katherine Brewster. When he doesn't get an answer, he grabs Kate, flings her over his shoulder, walks over to Kate's own van, and throws her in the back. He asks where John Connor is, telling her that he'll let her go if she tells him; once she does, though, he grabs an iron bar from inside the van, tells her that he lied, slams the door, shoves the bar through the handles on the back of the door, and bends it to keep her in there. Inside, John manages to get out of the cage, and upon seeing the T-X's robotic arm smash out of the rubble and begin to reform itself with its liquid-metal, he runs out into the hall when the Terminator appears. At first menacing, he then tells John that he's there to make sure he lives and forces himself outside, as the T-X fully emerges from the rubble. The Terminator forces John into the cab of Kate's van and when he sees the T-X appear at the clinic's front door, he orders John to leave as he fires at her with his rifle. John then speeds off as the Terminator continues firing at the T-X, who charges up her main weapon and sends him flying across the parking lot and into a tool shed with a massive blast of energy. John passes the police and fire squads as he heads down the road, who arrive on the scene at the clinic. While the firefighters try to help the Terminator, the T-X uses her nanotechnology to take control of the police cars and other emergency vehicles. She then gets into the cab of a large crane-truck nearby and sends the vehicles speeding off by themselves, with one cop trying to get control of his car but getting thrown out for his trouble. The Terminator regains consciousness as the T-X drives off in the crane and takes a cop's motorcycle to chase after her.

As night turns into morning, John realizes that Kate is in the back of the van and, in his distraction, slams into the rear of a car up ahead. After the very angry driver gets out and berates John for what he did, he hears Kate screaming for help in the back as the police cars and emergency vehicles under the T-X's control show up down the road. John manages to get the van, which lost its door on the driver side in the crash, started again and drives off, with the controlled cars in hot pursuit. The T-X then rounds the corner in the crane and rams into the man's car, much to his anger. Driving down the road as fast as he can, John tries to outrun the vehicles when both of the cop cars get on either side of him and ram him. One of them smacks into the back edge of the van and sends them both slidding along the road, leading to the van getting rammed on the side by the emergency vehicles. As John tries to get control of the van, the T-X enters the picture in her crane and locks onto her target, with the Terminator not far behind on the police motorcycle. She makes the two police cars box John in as she charges up her weapon to blow him away but John hits the brakes, causing the two cop cars to speed ahead and give him enough time to swerve out of the way, causing the T-X to blow up a truck carrying propane tanks that's crossing the intersection. She barrels through what's left of the truck when the Terminator swerves around it to get alonside her, while one of the emergency vehicles slams into it and flips over, slamming down onto the street. John then swerves onto the sidewalk to avoid the T-X and the remaining cop car, while the T-X, seeing that the Terminator is still chasing her, reacts by turning the crane arm around to where its perpendicular to the road, demolishing everything in its path and doing the same to everything on the other side of the road with the vehicle itself, making it difficult for the Terminator to keep up, as well as possibly to force Jon back onto the road. John does so, with the cop car still on his tail, while the Terminator manages to dodge and weave around everything in order to get behind the crane-truck. The T-X charges up her arm cannon in another attempt to take down John when the Terminator shoots one of her tires out. He blows out another one when the T-X swings the crane arm around and slams him with the hook, forcing him to grab onto it as his motorcycle gets run over by the other emergency vehicle.

The T-X swings him into said vehicle, knocking it on its side and out of the chase, while up ahead John gets rammed from behind by the police car and again drives off the road and onto the sidewalk and through a number of front yards in a suburban part of town, sending some kind of kiddy thing full of plastic balls flying. Meanwhile, the Terminator is getting plowed through everything ahead of him, including the entire front end of a building, completely demolishing it, with the truck almost tipping over as the Terminator gets slammed into more obstacles before finally whacking into the front of a fire engine going the other way. After telling the stunned firefighters that he'll drive, he grabs the wheel and swerves the truck around, coming to a brief stop that prompts everyone else to get out, although he has to force the last two to do so, and takes control of the truck and barrels down the road. At that time, John is still trying to escape the police car when the T-X smashes through the wall across from him, forcing John to quickly swerve as she takes out the cop car. She's now right on his tail, smashing through stuff to try to keep up with him, when the Terminator drives up alongside her and slams into her a couple of times, the second time knocking her off-balance, with the Terminator taking the opportunity to disembark. She then blows the fire engine to smithereens with her cannon and continues the chase with John when she hears a certain voice say, "Excuse me," to her right. The Terminator, hanging onto the outside, uses a fire-axe to fling the T-X out of the truck but, as he gets in the cab, she rolls backwards down the road and grabs onto the back of the truck. Knowing that's what probably happened, the Terminator spies a manhole up ahead and lowers the crane hook, latching onto the hole's ledge. As the T-X climbs up onto the arm, the Terminator smashes through the windshield and jumps onto the van, while the hook gets dragged through the pavement behind the truck. The T-X gets back into the cab seconds before the line runs out and the hook snags, flipping the entire crane over and causing it to skid along the road, with the Terminator then joining John in the van, taking the wheel.

After a slightly bloody moment where the T-X kills Scott and takes his identity, we get to the scene at the cemetery where the Terminator pulls out the coffin that's supposed to contain Sarah Connor's body but turns out to be full of weapons, with the Terminator stating that she was cremated. Following a quiet, emotional moment where John talks about his mother dying of leukemia, how she apparently didn't believe that Judgment Day had been averted, and remarks how the Terminator was the closest thing to a father he ever had, Kate grabs a handgun out of the coffin and threatens the Terminator. She warns him to stay back but he grabs her hand and she fires, hitting him point blank in the face. She's utterly shocked when he merely spits the bullet out and tells her not to do that, making her realize that he is what John said he was. Suddenly, a tear gas canister comes screeching into the crypt, followed by the sound of the police telling John and the Terminator to release their "hostage" over a megaphone. Kate takes the opportunity to escape, running outside where she is assisted by some SWAT officers outside, who then prepare to deal with the other two and take cover behind their vehicles. Following a moment where the Terminator uses his knowledge of psychology to snap John out of his state of despair by making him angry, we get a scene where the T-X, disguised as Scott, kills the two police detectives who are helping to search for Kate. Upon learning where Kate is, the T-X shoves her arm through the back of the driver's seat and out the one detective's chest. The other detective tries to pull his gun out but gets his face smashed against the window, with the T-X turning the car around and heading for Greenlawn Cemetery. Following the brief moment between Kate and Dr. Silberman, the Terminator bursts through a painted-glass window, carrying a coffin and a big machine gun. When he ignores an order to halt, the police begin firing on him, prompting him to stop, turn, and fire back, as both Silberman and Kate run for it. He aims his weapon at the police cars and riddles them with bullets, causing one of them to explode, while the officers run for cover. After scanning and seeing that he didn't kill anyone, the Terminator goes back to walking in the direction he was earlier, with the police resuming fire on him. Shrugging off the bullets, he shoves the coffin into the back of a hearse and gets into the driver's seat, telling John, who was in the coffin, that they must "reacquire" Kate, saying that she's his future wife. He then peels down the road as the police continue firing.

Running into the cemetery, Kate sees a car stop in the road across from her and is happy to see Scott get out of the backseat. However, her elation quickly turns to horror when as he walks towards her, he turns into the T-X right in front of her eyes. Too shocked to move, Kate is a sitting duck as the T-X powers up her arm cannon but the Terminator shows up and drives the hearse through the cemetery, pulling up in front of the T-X and shoots her with a rocket launcher(!), sending her flying clear across the cemetery and smashing through a headstone. John then convinces Kate to get into the car and they drive off as the T-X gets up, repairs the damage to her shoulder, and chases after them. With the T-X after them, the three heroes drive the hearse out of the cemetery and through a gate, with the Terminator telling Kate that her fiance is dead when she mentions that the T-X was imitating him. They continue driving down a country road, with the T-X keeping pace with them on the nearby hills until she manages to get to a spot where she's able to jump on top of the car. She saws through the roof, panicking Kate to where she screams at the Terminator to do something. He swerves the car back and forth, causing the T-X to lose her balance and forcing her to grab onto the edges of the roof, which manages to keep her from getting flung off even the car goes along the side of a hill and sideswipes another car. John attempts to reach for a weapon but the swerving makes it hard for him to do in the cramped quarters of the back of the hearse. The T-X opens up the split she made in the hearse's roof as John manages to grab an assault rifle and pump a bunch of rounds into her point-blank but it doesn't deter her at all. At the same time, the Terminator drives the car down another road towards an oncoming 18-wheeler and tells Kate to get down. The truck slams on the brakes and, as the T-X reaches in for John, the Terminator swerves around the front of the truck and drives directly under it, slamming her into the side of the container and shearing the entire top of the hearse off as well. They drive down a rough hill before ending up back on the main road, with the Terminator noting that they need a new vehicle. Back on the country road, the T-X rises up to find that her main weapon has been damaged and switches to an alternative: a long-ranged flamethrower that she tests on a nearby tree, freaking out the truck driver, who runs for it upon seeing that.

Once Kate is able to convince the Terminator to help her and John get to CRS Headquarters to try to save her father and prevent Judgment Day, the race is on to get there, while at the same time, General Webster is getting pressure from his superiors to activate SkyNet to deal with the "virus" that's plaguing the computer systems across the country. Meanwhile, the T-X, disguised as a female worker, enters the facility and makes her way to a large room in the back where she takes control of some old, first-generation HKs to prepare for the attack. Webster, after some last moments of hesitation, then finally activates SkyNet, which doesn't waste any time in taking control of the defense systems and shutting down the computers in the control room. The monitors come back on but the images are now horribly scrambled and the alarm is sounding. Webster asks what's going on when "Kate" appears in the doorway behind him, calling out to him. As she walks in, she gets riddled with bullets by the Terminator, who enters from the other side of the room. Webster is at first horrified and then confused when he turns and sees Kate and John appear behind the Terminator. Dropping her disguise, the T-X gets to her feet, pulls out a handgun, and shoots Webster four times before he can react. She then turns to fire at the others but the Terminator blasts her repeatedly with his high-powered assault rifle, walking towards her as he does so and forcing her through the wall and down a long shaft. Kate tries to help her dad while John asks him where SkyNet's system core is. They tell him what's happening and what SkyNet will do if it's not shut down, when an HK bursts through a glass door and rolls sideways while unloading its machine gun turrets on the offices in front of it, massacring everyone there. Hearing the commotion, John realizes that the machines are beginning to take over and Webster says that they have to get to his office in order to get some access codes. Meanwhile, the HKs are continuing their rampage, blasting everyone in sight, while the T-X calmly walks amidst the carnage. The Terminator leads the other three to Webster's office but he stops them when he looks around the corner and sees an HK there. Another one meets its companion at the intersection of the hallways, spies a panel torn out of the ceiling, and then looks back at the other HK and actually shrugs its turrets. The machine then turns around when the Terminator crashes through the ceiling behind it, quickly runs up to it and tears its head around, destroying its CPU, and uses one of its turrets to blast the other HK. The machine returns fire but is quickly overwhelmed by the onslaught of firepower and soon powers down, one of its turrets falling off. They then manage to get to Webster's office and as John gets the access codes out of the safe, the Terminator walks over to the window and looks down at the chaos going on outside, telling Kate when she asks why they're doing this that they're wiping out any possible threat to SkyNet. Webster tells her and John that they have to get to Crystal Peak, a facility in the Sierra-Nevada mountains, saying it's their only chance. Upon telling them to fly there and to reach the runway by following the particle accelerator, as well as telling John to take care of Kate and apologizing to her for opening Pandora's box, Webster is finally killed when a flying HK comes zooming at the window and, despite being shot at by the Terminator, fires a missile into the room. It goes through the back wall but the impact is enough to finish Webster off. The Terminator tells them they must go and John, after some talking, is able to get the devastated Kate to come with him.

The three of them walk out of the room and down the hallway when the T-X rounds the corner up ahead. The Terminator tells John and Kate to run and they head the opposite way while he attempts to shoot at the T-X, only to realize that his assault rifle is empty. Unable to reload it, he throws it to the floor as the T-X marches towards him, tears a large tank full of coolant out of a class container on the wall, and repeatedly whacks her in the face with it. It does little more than cause her head to move slightly, with it swinging all the way around at one point, and the two machines take a moment to tilt their heads at each other inquisitively before the Terminator tries to hit her again. This time, the T-X catches the tank in mid-air, splitting it open, and throwing it to the ground. She then knocks the Terminator clear down the hall, causing him to smash roughly on the floor, but he then gets up, runs at her, grabs her right arm, and swings her through the wall and into a restroom on the other side. He then walks in and, when she tries to get up, he grabs her by the face and slams her back down onto the floor, following that by smashing her face again with his foot. She then kicks him and causes him to fall against one of the walls separating the urinals, tearing it off its hinges, but he retaliates by tearing one urinal out of the wall and smashes it across her back when she gets back up. This does nothing, though, and so he grabs her and smashes her back and forth, smashing urinal after urinal, until they reach the edge of the room, which is when she gets up and flings him across it, causing him to crash into a stall on the other side. The T-X then attempts to leave, walking by a row of sinks and glancing at herself in the mirrors, when the Terminator bursts out of the stall in front of her, grabs her, and slams her headfirst into the toilet. He then picks her up and forces her backwards through the rest of the stalls, tearing the walls down, but when they get to the end, she grabs him and slams him face-first into the wall, knocking his sunglasses off. He turns around, grabs her, and does the same to her twice before she manages to get behind him, reach up between his legs, much to his surprise, and picks him and turns him into a battering ram, smashing him straight through the restroom. As John and Kate continue to make their way through the building, the Terminator and the T-X crash through the ceiling into a large storeroom, demoloshing a table beneath them. The Terminator has ahold of the T-X from behind and rolls over so that he's on his back and then sits up. The T-X whacks him in the face with the back of her head before turning the tables by switching her flexible limbs completely around so that she's facing him and holds onto him with her legs. He grabs her right arm when she pulls it free but she then activates her flamethrower, burning the flesh on his face until he grabs a broken electric cable and jams it into the side of her face. A small explosion then occurs that blows them on either side of the room, badly damaging the Terminator to where he's unable to get up while the T-X is unharmed. She slowly walks over to him and when he looks up, she brings her foot down onto his neck, separating his head and causing it to hang down from the rest of his body. The T-X, seeing that he's completely helpless, takes the opportunity to corrupt his system with her nanotechnology.

John and Kate manage to find the particle accelerator but, when they head down the adjacent hallway, a pair of automatic doors in front of them open to reveal a small, flying HK. They quickly duck as it fires two missiles at them, which hit the wall on the opposite side of the hall, and it then soars over them and banks itself when it reaches the end of the hall to fire again. However, the thing is so primitive that it takes it a few seconds to get its bearings and find them and Kate takes the opportunity to grab John's assault rifle and riddle it with bullets when it roars towards them, blowing it up in mid-air. After John, amazed at what she just did, remarks that she reminds him of his mother, they head into the control room above the particle accelerator, where Kate sees on the security monitors that the T-X is heading their way. John then switches the accelerator on and powers up its magnetic field before the head out down a flight of stairs that leads into the tunnel around it. The T-X, however, immediately comes through the door, and they don't make it too far down the tunnel before they see that she's right behind them. As she catches up to them, she deploys her flamethrower and starts firing at them, with John and Kate managing to dodge the flames by a few inches. But, just when it looks like they're doomed, the magnetic field powers up fully, stopping the T-X in her tracks. John and Kate watch as she's helplessly fused to the accelerator, with the pull being strong enough to make her liquid-metal slowly slide off. They wait for her to die but then decide that they might as well just go and head on down the tunnel. They climb up a ladder and make it out to the runway, which looks like a warzone, and head to the hangar. We then see the Terminator reattach his head in that storeroom while, at the same time, the T-X activates the circular saw in her left arm and begins cutting into the particle accelerator. John and Kate make it into the hangar and reach Webster's plane but when they're about to take off, John hears a door open and turns to see the Terminator on the other side of the room. John tells Kate that he made it but as the Terminator walks towards them, he tells them to get away from him. Seeing that something's wrong, John hops into the plane with Kate but it takes her a few seconds to get it ready for takeoff. That's enough time for the Terminator to reach the plane, open the door, and throw John onto the floor. John tries to talk him down but the Terminator tells him what's happened, while Kate manages to start the plane. The Terminator continues advancing on John and Kate runs up behind him and jumps on his back, trying to stop him, but gets thrown head-first into a tool cabinet, knocking her out. John gets to his feet and continues to try to talk the Terminator out of doing this but the robot, unable to control himself, grabs John and flings him onto a nearby car's hood. He walks up to him and grabs him by the throat, preparing to kill him, when John asks him what his mission is. When he says that it's to ensure John and Kate's survival, John tells him that he's about to fail and the Terminator, his arm raising to fatally punch John, manages to punch the hood next to his head. The Terminator says he cannot fail and John tells him that he knows what he has to do. Fighting with himself, the Terminator throws John aside and then crazily pounds the hood, smashing it flat, until he stops dead, having shut himself down. Kate then regains consciousness and she and John take off.

With only 32 minutes left until SkyNet's nuclear attack, John and Kate fly to Crystal Peak, with John readying some powerful explosive charges. Back at the hangar, the Terminator, now free of the T-X's control, restarts himself, as John and Kate reach the runway at Crystal Peak. Upon entering the hangar and seeing that there are no HKs prowling around the place, they attempt to enter some access codes into a computer monitor to open a blast door that leads into the heart of the place. As they attempt to enter second code needed to open the door, a helicopter comes crashing into the hangar and once it comes to rest, the T-X knocks down the door. As she quickly closes in on them, John and Kate frantically enter the second code and the blast door begins to open, albeit very slowly. John tries to fend the T-X off with an automatic pistol but it doesn't slow her down at all. Suddenly, a much larger helicopter barrels into the hangar, running the T-X down when she attempts to get out of the way and flinging John and Kate into a corner as it skids to a stop and explodes in a massive fireball. The two of them watch as the Terminator, banged up and with half of his face missing, emerges from the wreckage and proclaims, "I'm back." However, due to what just happened, the blast door begins closing. The Terminator runs towards it, slide beneath it, and pushes up, able to momentarily stop it from closing. He tells John and Kate to go but as they prepare to, they don't notice the T-X, her endoskeleton completely exposed, emerge from the wreckage nearby. As John and Kate prepare to crawl beneath the blast door, the T-X is forced to sever her torso from her legs in order to continue the chase. Seeing John, she snarls, while John thanks the Terminator, who tells him that they'll meet again. Just as John almost gets through, though, the T-X grabs his leg and begins pulling him back. The Terminator grabs her arm with his free one and tries to make her let go, eventually snapping the joints in her hand completely. She tries to crawl after him as he and Kate make their way down the hall beyond but the Terminator still has ahold of her arm. She knocks him away and almost manages to crawl completely under the door, when the Terminator grabs the severed cables sticking out of the base of her torso. She turns around and snarls at him as he takes out one of his fuel cells. She futilely tries to crawl on, reforming her human face in liquid metal, but the Terminator pulls her back, turning her over on her back in the process, shoves the fuel cell into her mouth, and holds it there, telling her, "You are terminated." An enormous explosion destroy the hangar, causing a bit of the hillside outside to fall in, and almost knocks John and Kate off their feet in the hallway.

Now we get to the ending, which positively floored me the first time I saw the movie and I know I'm not the only one. All throughout the film, you've been learning that SkyNet has been taking over the computer networks and defense systems, waiting to be put online so it could initiate its attack on humanity (making for another frightening part of the concept of AI that this series excells at) and, given that the film's subtitle is Rise of the Machines, you'd be foolish to think that it wouldn't, at the very least, be able to begin its takeover. But, at the same time, given that this is a big budget, mainstream, Hollywood action film, as well as how T2 ended, the heroes will manage to overcome the odds and once again stop Judgment Day from happening... right? No. This film's ending, in stark contrast to T2's very hopeful one, is the bleakest in the entire series. After nearly surviving the dual destruction of the Terminator and the T-X, John and Kate take an elevator down to what they think is SkyNet's system core but instead discover that both Webster and the Terminator have led them to a fallout shelter for VIPs. Frustrated and full of despair, John and Kate briefly contemplate letting their explosive charges blow them up with the shelter when they hear distress calls coming in over the radio equipment. Finally accepting what he must do, John answers the call and proclaims himself in charge of Crystal Peak, while Judgment Day comes to pass outside. The film's last moments are positively haunting, as John narrates how the attack began exactly when the Terminator said it would and that there was no system core, that there was never any chance of stopping it, while we see shots of missiles rising into the sky behind a farm, a city being wiped out in one blast, and a shot of the planet as nuclear explosions ravage its surface, with the only sound other than John's narration being Marco Beltrami's sad music. And as the film comes to a close, the last shot is of a Terminator head underwater amidst some submerged rubble, with John lamenting, "Maybe the future has been written. I don't know. All I know is what the Terminator taught me: never stop fighting, and I never will. The battle has just begun." I was completely stunned by the time the credits started rolling. This was the last ending I ever expected to see, and although I'm sure the only reason they did it was to ensure that they could make more, I still have to give the studio credit for allowing there big-budget, summer blockbuster to end in such a non-Hollywood way. Not only is it bleak but it has a powerful feeling of inevitability, that this was going to happen no matter what anyone, be it Sarah Connor and Kyle Reese or Sarah, John, and the second Terminator, did and now those who are left can only wait for history to play out. While it does tie into that annoying and disheartening concept of nothing that the characters in the previous films did mattering in the long run, this is so hard-hitting and well played out that it almost feels worth it in some respects (note my use of "almost", though). In any case, I doubt we'll see another movie of this kind with an ending such as this.

That sad piece of music that plays during this ending, which is very light and soft and is accompanied by the sound of a woman vocalizing, is one of the only memorable parts of the score that I remember to be honest. Marco Beltrami is one of those composers who is a really mixed bag: sometimes he creates memorable music, such in his scores for the Scream movies, Mimic, and the 2011 prequel to John Carpenter's The Thing, whereas other times his music simply underscores the movie in an adequate way but is not memorable in and of itself. This score falls into the latter category. It keeps the film moving, giving the dramatic scenes some weight and keeping the action scenes from becoming boring, but if you were to ask me to describe the separate themes in detail, I would fail miserably because the only other themes I remember is this low, menacing bit that the movie starts with and a nicely doom-laden piece that plays during John's nightmare about the future as well as during the last part of the ending credits. Speaking of the ending credits, that's the only time you hear the original Terminator theme and it's a pretty decent reworking of it, sounding appropriately grand and heroic with a new bit added after the first part of it. Too bad we didn't get it during the actual movie. As for the songs on the soundtrack, I've already mentioned how Macho Man and Dat Funky Man help up the silliness factor to less than desirable levels but there's one song during the middle of the ending credits that I think works really well with the film's story: The Current, by Gavin Rossdale and the Blue Man Group. It's a really nice, cool song and its lyrics, about going underground where the only sound is your breathing, fits perfectly with where John and Kate are by the end of the movie. Plus, a possible interpretation of the song about technology moving forward while, at the same time, isolating humanity, is a no-brainer to be tied to the Terminator franchise.

Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines may not end up on anyone's list of the greatest action movies of all time and is certainly inferior to the first two films but it's still not a horrible film at all and I stand by my decision to put it on that list I did of the most underrated sequels. It does have its flaws, like there not being much to do with the Terminator character at this point, despite their best efforts, some really dumb humor like, "Talk to the hand," the T-X not feeling that innovative or threatening when compared to the antagonists in the previous films, a number of similarities between it and T2, an issue of inevitability that renders all that was done in the previous film pointless, some CGI that has not aged very well, and a mainly forgettable music score, but there are a number of positives to be found here as well. There's some strong acting, especially from Nick Stahl, some good practical effects along with CGI that does still look impressive, the film goes at a brisk pace for its reasonable running time of 109 minutes, is full of well-conceived and entertaining action sequences, some of which rival what was done in T2, and an ending that is very ballsy for a big budget, summer movie like this. It's not a perfect film at all but, if you decide to pop it in, I don't think you'll be bored. It works just fine as a fast-paced flick to kill a lazy afternoon with.