I think the crowd could go either way on this one. The first Terminator built on your imagination by effectively delivering sci-fi drama through the characters Sarah Connor & Kyle Reece. T2 moved a cult classic into epic status by further developing Sarah’s character, introducing a young John Connor and adding a human element to the Terminator. The dramatic tension involving all the supporting characters (the scenes from the psych ward, Sarah’s assassination attempt on Miles Dyson) only helped to draw the viewer into the storyline.
In this regard Terminator 3 falls flat. Sure it was entertaining as an action picture, but I don’t think it matched the overall intensity of T2. While it was a film that proved “…you don’t need bullet time to make a great action scene.” it also proved that the success of this series can’t be delivered by Arnold alone. The portrayal of John Connor was disappointing. In T2 he’s a street smart hacker type, rough around the edges, but with a hint of the man he supposed to be. In T3 he’s a fallen hero who hasn’t even done anything yet. I won’t say he’s as whiny as Anakin Skywalker in Attack of the Clones, but I think the casting was just as weak. The supporting characters are just as forgettable.
The good dramatic moments are mainly tongue in cheek, Arnold learns how to “Talk to the hand.”, but mostly delivers yawning lines like“I’m back”. I was also disappointed by the ending. Perhaps my expectations were set too high by Ryan’s review, but my mind was engaged with the idea of some crazy plot twist at the very end only to arrive there and say “That’s it?!!!?!?!”
Grade: B- (It would have scored lower, but the car chase scene was pretty good)