Film Review ~ Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines

EST. 1987 (9)Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines made a lot of unforgivable mistakes, but three stand out as the worst of the worst. First, they reused humor for the first two movies incessantly. Second, they overtly sexualized the female terminator in a way they hadn’t T-800 or T-1000. And third and most unforgivable of all, they killed off Sarah Connor.

From a little looking online, it seems that Sarah was going to be in T3, but Linda Hamilton turned down the role because she didn’t like the direction the movie took her character. I can fully believe that. Between how the movie represents Kate and the T-X, it’s obvious that the women in this story weren’t going to be given the same development and awesome characterization that they were in the first two films. It’s really sad though because, until this point, the films had been good at not overly sexualizing the women or turning them into damsels in distress or clichéd “strong female characters.” I wish this could have been a film that Linda Hamilton wanted to be in, but no, it’s just a mess.

Okay, before I seriously start getting into this, I should share the basic story. This time around, two terminators are sent back in time to kill John Connor (AND his future lieutenants).  This, obviously, surprises John because he thought he’d stopped Judgment Day back in 1995. Nope, everything was just postponed. Now, he’s got to stop Skynet from going online. . .and he only has one day to do it!

Yeah, the plot’s not a winner, but the mess factor of the film primarily occurs because the movie’s basically heartless. The first movie had the relationship between Sarah and Kyle at the center of it. The second movie had the love between Sarah and John AND the father/son bond of the Terminator and John balancing out all of the action.  T3 is action first, love stuff a distant second. It’s your standard dumb, action movie. That would be fine. . .if the other movies hadn’t set a precedent that the Terminator films are anything but your standard dumb, action movies.

None of this was helped by the fact that none of the characters had any personality. John Connor wasn’t developed at all and he was just all around boring. Kate (his lieutenant/love interest) was nothing more than a damsel in distress/tagger along. And the Terminator stayed a robot. No gushy, human feelings to be had this time around. Out of all the “good guy” characters, though, Kate was the most disappointing. She was basically set up for failure because she had to replace Sarah Connor. Sure, she got one moment of toughness (where John creepily said she reminded him of his mom), but mostly, she just ran away from things and yelled. I think she was supposed to have a transformation at some point in the film, but it didn’t come across very well. (Also, why did they have to kill off her fiancé and her father? I mean, really!)

To be honest, after the introduction of the T-X, I didn’t expect too much from Kate.  I don’t understand why the T-X came through time in a clothing store and then decided not get dressed but rather walk around naked and steal a car. Also, the breast scene. Also, the way she crouched down and licked blood. It was just unnecessary.  The male terminators were never this sexualized and it just grossed me out. It could have been cool to have a female equivalent of the T-800, but this was not the way to go about it.

(The really sexist male strip club scene was also gross. This was no Magic Magic-type thing. It came out making the women look bad and the strippers look worse.)

This shouldn’t have been the sequel to T2: Judgment Day. T2 was a fantastic movie with an uplifting ending . T3 is depressing, dumb, and unnecessary. I still have Terminator Genesys to go in this franchise, but after T3, I’m not holding out a lot of hope for it. We’ll see, I guess.

Stray Thoughts

  • I wanted Kate to be Kyle Reese’s mom. I thought that would have been a cool twist and the timing would have been about right.
  • Also, it’s really bothering me now that no terminators have gone back in time to kill Sarah or Kyle’s parents.
  • I was super distracted in every scene taking place in the military base because I was trying to figure out if that one dude was Chris Hardwick. (He was.)
  • Why didn’t the lieutenants play a bigger role in the film? Why were they included at all?

What is one sequel that really disappointed you?


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