Terminator 3 is the summer movie of 2003 that hard-core action fans have been awaiting. It's not ponderous and incomplete like The Matrix Reloaded. It's not steeped in characterization and modern-day mythology like Hulk. And it's not vapid and flashy like Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle and Bad Boys 2. Instead, it's a relatively straightforward science fiction adventure film - just what movie-goers expect from a third outing with Arnold Schwarzenegger's cybernetic alter-ego.
The movie is not weighted down by plot, but it does have a recognizable storyline featuring legitimate characters and a few nice (but minor) twists. Some degree of attention is helpful - Terminator 3 is not an intellectual challenge, but neither is it vacuous. The film has plenty of action sequences, some of which are spectacular. Director Jonathan Mostow has wisely not relied too much on computer graphics for these. A fair amount of stunt work was required, and the computer components are incorporated seamlessly. Additionally, Mostow does not play the game of cutting every second or so, and the music never upstages the visuals. Terminator 3 gets the most bang for its buck by letting the camera linger on the spectacle, and allowing tension, not flashiness, to be its hallmark.
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