I know it's easy to put "Terminator 3" down. Everybody had great expectations and it was clear that this movie would have lots of enemies, especially if someone else than Cameron was going to direct. So, here it is now, T3, and the truth is, it is a good action movie, just not as good as Terminator 1 & 2.
What I liked best about this movie is that it doesn't include any martial arts. Since "The Matrix" came out, I often wondered if it would even be possible to make an action movie without Kung Fu anymore. Also, Mostow really tried to not only focus on the action but include some story and character development, too. The problem is, the story is nowhere near as good as it used to be. The writers mistook character development for endless whiney monologues by John Connor, supposed leader of mankind. Where Cameron always found the right balance between someone explaining what was going on and action scenes, T3 fell into the trap of slowing down too often.
What's bothering me even more, is that writers really had a lot of chances to turn Terminator 3" into an interesting story that picked up from the end of T2. I hoped that finally we'd get an explanation for why only one Terminator is sent back at a time, how the time portal works, how CyberDyne recreated the information on future technology after it had been destroyed in part 2, etc. Instead writers gave vague or no hints at all to previous riddles and went away too far from the original ideas of Terminator". No fate but what we make for ourselves" we were told in parts 1 & 2. Now it has changed to Judgement Day is inevitable". Why is that, you may ask yourself and why would a Terminator know that? It's only one of many things that don't really make sense. A fact that's even more annoying when you think about how perfect the series has been so far. Sure, James Cameron had also made mistakes (John's and Sarah's age, for instance) but the main story did always make sense.
Mostow obviously was afraid of stepping into Cameron's shoes and be compared to him, so he decided to put several nods to the previous movies in sequel no. 2. Nice thought, but T3 is definitely too much of a nod" to T1 & T2. It's part parody, part rip-off that has only few new elements. Again there are two Terminators, one brand new, one obsolete, we get a spectacular car chase, desert scenes, etc. Furthermore, we get a funny version of the bar scene at the beginning and a funny" cameo by infamous psychiatrist Dr. Silberman. Yes, some of the jokes are actually quite funny, but really, why would the Terminator smash the gay glasses? Come on, this is supposed to be a serious movie! The worst thing about all this repeating old stuff is that this time there's no suspense whatsoever. It just feels like we've seen it before and we know exactly what's coming.
One scene that could have brought a cool twist to the movie was the one where Arnold gets reprogrammed by the T-X. It would have been so cool, if the T-800 had turned into the bad guy again now. It would have showed that a machine knows no loyalty. Instead we got the most stupid scene ever in a Terminator" movie: John Connor asks the T-800 not to kill him and the Terminator obeys. Reese said in part 1 It can't be bargained with" and now John did just that. Sad. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. And what's with John Connor? Isn't he the one who will go on to lead mankind? In T3, he isn't much of a leader to me. Is it the writers fault or Nick Stahl's, I don't know, but the character is such a sissy in this movie, it's painful.
About the T-X: why the hell isn't that thing bigger, stronger, faster? The T-X has no real improvements compared to the T-1000 and it seems to be really stupid. How else could it lose to the trashy T-800? And why did it change back to its known form just before it could have killed Kate Brewster in the disguise of her fiancé. Why would it walk around with the same face all the time, anyway? (Granted, that's a question that T2 had already raised and not answered) Although Kristinna Loken played her part quite well, I think it was a bad decision to have a woman play the T-X in the first place. How cool is it to watch Big Ol' Arnold beat up a girl? There are so many more minor mistakes in this movie it gives me headaches (why was the T-800 already programmed to not kill innocent people and look for the keys in the car when it was a different Terminator than the one in part 2? If Arnie is not programmed to answer John's questions why did he answer when John asked if he was gonna kill him? Why did the T-X investigate the place where Kate Brewster works at night? Why didn't the T-X try to reprogram the T-800 from the beginning? Why has the Terminator never used the little atom bomb chip, he's carrying within, against an enemy?), but I think I better stop here.
However, I did like the ending a lot as it's the only real improvement to the whole story and an open door for a sequel. "Terminator 3" is still the best action movie of this summer and it feels really good to see Arnie back in action one more (last?) time.