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The Curator of Schlock #297 by Jeff Shuster

Terminator 3: The Rise of the Machines

It ain’t that bad. 

Terminator: Dark Fate premiers this weekend. I expect it to smash box office records. I see Terminator sequels, spinoffs, and television series in the future. Arnold Schwarzenegger will dance in the limelight once again. Commando II will soon follow. In fact, I’ve got ten large riding on my personal prediction that Terminator: Dark Fate will outdo the opening weekend gross for Joker. That’s a lot of Mai Tais!


Terminator: Dark Fate is the latest attempt at a proper sequel to Terminator 2: Judgment Day. I thought it might be interesting to revisit the first of the sequels, 2003’s Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines from director Jonathan Mostow. Many critics at that time felt that this movie missed the mark. Roger Ebert felt the movie was “dumbed down for multiplex hordes.”

Well, consider me a member of the horde.

I don’t know if Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines is thought-provoking or blah blah blah! What it is is fun. Anyone remember when going to the movies was fun instead of feeling like going to a funeral?

We’ve got an adult John Conner (Nick Stahl) in this one. Sarah Conner died of cancer. The human race escaped Judgment Day. The machines didn’t rise up, but John has stayed off the grid because he didn’t trust that the future was safe. And he was right. The T-X, a new terminator in the form of an attractive blonde woman (Kristanna Loken), shows up to terminate other important soldiers of the human resistance since no records of John Connor exist at that time. One of these future soldiers is a straight-laced veterinarian named Kate Brewster (Claire Danes). She catches John stealing medicine at the animal hospital she works at.


Meanwhile, Arnold’s Terminator, the T-800, is back. He walks naked into a Male Strip Club into a crowd of appreciative ladies while a stripper on stage takes his clothes off to the tune of The Village People’s “Macho Man.” The T-800 tells the stripper he wants his clothes and the stripper tells him to “Talk to the hand!” The T-800 steals the stripper’s clothes after breaking that hand. Arnold reaches in the jacket for a pair of sred-tinted, star-shaped sunglasses. He removes them and crushes them under his boot. I’m sorry. I laughed at this.


T-X shows up at the animal hospital. So does the Arnold Terminator. T-X has a gun hidden in her arm that can shoot electricity, flames, and who knows what else. The Arnold Terminator, Kate, and John escape, and we get some explosive chase scenes. Turns out Kate will be John Conner’s second-in-command in the War Against the Machines. She’s also his future wife. Oh, and her father is General Brewster, the man who activates the evil super computer, Skynet. In an effort to stop Judgment Day, John and Kate race to her father’s military installation hoping to prevent him from activating Skynet.


Too late. In addition to the T-X, they have to deal with Skynet and early models of the drones and land robots we’ve seen in future War Against the Machines. Is Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines as good The Terminator or Terminator 2: Judgment Day?


Is it a thrill ride from start to finish?


Is it better than any movie I saw over this past summer?


A movie doesn’t have to be perfect. Sometimes a movie can just be fun.

Talk to the hand.

Jeffrey Shuster 4

Photo by Leslie Salas.

Jeff Shuster (episode 47episode 102episode 124episode 131, and episode 284) is an MFA graduate from the University of Central Florida.