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Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines - US reaction

Compiled by: Jack Foley

VERY few blockbuster sequels have as much expectation riding on them as Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, given how long it has been since Judgement Day, and how highly-regarded the first two films in the franchise remain.

But Arnie is back, and despite the absence of James Cameron (directing), and Linda Hamilton and Edward Furlong (starring), the general line in America seems to be one of pleasant surprise.

Naturally, the plot and characterisation falls down somewhat, but, on the whole, T3 was given a thumbs-up by those who reviewed it prior to its release on July 4 (Independence Day).

Leading the way is Rolling Stone, which wrote that 'Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines may lack the mythic pow of the 1984 original and the visionary thrill of T2, but it's a potent popcorn movie that digs in its hooks and doesn't let go until an ending that ODs on apocalyptic hoo-ha'.

It aptly sums up the overall feeling towards it.

Hence, the Los Angeles Times wrote that it is 'an expertly paced and efficient sci-fi thrill machine, 'T3' effectively marries impressive action sequences with persuasive storytelling and its star's uniquely appealing style of 'No' drama -- as in no reaction, no expression, no emotion of any kind'.

And the Washington Post referred to it as 'a solidly professional attempt and a pretty good summer movie in the bargain'.

The Hollywood Reporter, meanwhile, felt that 'Terminator 3 does all the right things, but the subtitle - Rise of the Machines - proves all too prophetic', while the Detroit News opined that it is 'a downhill rollercoaster of a movie that's consistently entertaining and explosive, at the same time T3 just isn't as emotionally connected or philosophically challenging as it predecessors'.

The Hollywood Report Card was also duly impressed, with its reviewer stating that 'I was pleasantly surprised and duly impressed. Jonathan Mostow has taken good care of Cameron's baby, showing both respect and homage to the characters and trends'.

Variety merely concluded that it 'delivers the goods'.

There were some negative notices, however, led by the likes of the San Francisco Chronicle, which wrote that 'there's a flat feeling about this effort that's unmistakable and inescapable'.

While the New York Post felt that 'Terminator 2 wrapped things up so thoroughly and in such a satisfying way that all this witless, plodding rehash can do is tell the same story again, a lot less skillfully'.

The New York Times, meanwhile, referred to it as, 'essentially a B movie, content to be loud, dumb and obvious'.

And the Philadelphia Inquirer felt that 'Terminator 3 moves at not-quite-breakneck speed, and the shape-shifting, metal-melting special effects aren't exactly spectacular'.

But the positives generally outweighed the negatives, with Entertainment Weekly awarding it a B+ and writing that it is a 'bright, heavy metal charm, unexpectedly lively and self-aware wit, and a sure sense of when to stop fussing with special effects'.

Likewise, the New York Daily News, which wrote that 'the effects in T3 are spectacular, and the action sequences — particularly the fights between the good and bad terminators — are exhilarating'.

Salon even suggested that 'loyal fans who actually do care about the Terminator saga's story will find some real surprises here', while the Detroit Free Press summed it up well, by writing that 'T3 is not just a rare example of a worthy sequel to a sequel, it's a rare example of a worthy summer movie, one that does its job above and beyond the fast-food call of duty'.

The final word, however, goes to, which concluded that T3 'tweaks the formula just enough to keep us entertained'.

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