Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003)

terminator 3 rise of the machines poster 2003 movie arnold schwarzenegger
7.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 8/10

Downer ending, explains the shift in T2

Tries to top T2

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Terminator 3:  Rise of the Machines

Studio:  C2 Pictures

Genre(s):  Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Action/Adventure

Release Date(s):  July 2, 2003

MPAA Rating:  R


We’re both robots…Let’s hug it out!

John Connor (Nick Stahl) believes Judgment Day has been stopped since ten years after the T-1000 set out to kill him the future he was warned of never arose.  Now a new Terminator (Kristanna Loken) has been sent back, and it has a new mission.  The T-X has targeted both John Connor and Kate Brewster (Claire Danes) and their only hope could be another T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger) who has been sent back to protect them.  Nick and Kate are about to learn the truth about Judgment Day!

Directed by Jonathan Mostow, Terminator 3:  Rise of the Machines is a sequel to the record breaking T2:  Judgment Day from 1991.  The movie was a financial success but received less positive reviews than its predecessors.


I’m kind of having a rotten day…just try me…I dare you…

I am one of those rare people that didn’t really love T2 when it was released.  I had loved The Terminator but the sequel didn’t make much sense in that the plot completely shifted in the second half of the film and altered history.  Terminator 3:  Rise of the Machine set to explain this shift, and in its own way improved the plot of T2 for me.

Terminator 3 feels more like a direct continuation of T2 since it explains how trying to destroy Skynet could even be possible since the past has already been altered.  It is revealed that the timeline for the future has slid and as a result, Judgment Day is still coming.  The movie falls into the rather predictable format with an “evil” Terminator going after John Connor (this time with Kate Brewster).  I do have to say that I rather like the downer ending, but I understand why others hated it.


T-1000 is NOT cooler than me so stop saying it!

The movie intended Edward Furlong to come back as John Connor but his substance abuse problem got him passed over as John Connor.  Nick Stahl is a good substitute and ironically also ended up suffering from abuse problems.  I don’t love Claire Danes in the movie and at this point still see her as more My So Called Life instead of an adult.  Schwarzenegger packed on the muscles to get back in his Terminator form and Kristanna Loken just doesn’t compare to Robert Patrick’s evil T-1000 (despite being superior model).

That is the problem in general with Terminator 3.  The movie tried to top T2 which has held up remarkably well.  The movie attempts to be bigger and more explosive but it comes off as a bit more desperate.  The big car chase does look good but it just doesn’t compare to the LA River chase of T2…much like most of this film just doesn’t compare.

Terminator 3:  Rise of the Machines might have leveled out the Terminator plot and provided a reason for the sequels, but it doesn’t mean it is good.  The movie is overly long and bloated and could have really used some editing and script revisions to help it.  Terminator 3:  Rise of the Machine was followed by the television series Terminator:  The Sarah Connor Chronicles that aired from January 13, 2008 to April 10, 2009 and Terminator Salvation in 2009.

Related Links:

The Terminator (1984)

Terminator 2:  Judgment Day (1991)

Terminator Salvation (2009)

Terminator Genisys (2015)

Terminator:  Dark Fate (2019)

Terminator:  The Sarah Connor Chronicles—Season 1 Review and Complete Episode Guide

Terminator:  The Burning Earth

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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