I think of The Terminator as a near-perfect action movie; it established James Cameron as a filmmaker of enormous skill, and gave Arnold Schwarzenegger an ideal outlet. (Up until that time, he was regarded as something of a joke in the movie world.) While that film was made by team of young, unknown, hungry collaborators, it seemed to me that its sequel was the polar opposite—a heavy-handed, corporate “creation” made by people with too much money to spend and nothing to say.
T3 falls somewhere in between those two extremes. It breaks no new ground, and hasn’t the originality of concept that made the first film so striking…but as a no-brainer action yarn, it’s certainly fun to watch. The action, stunts, and special effects are top-notch, and the pace never flags.
The one thing that doesn’t work in the new film is a lame attempt to revive Arnold’s famous catchphrases. They fall back on this idea several times, and each time he utters a variation on “I’ll be back” it falls dead. But as an action/sci-fi icon, Arnold still fills the bill, and the other actors do their jobs well, though I don’t think I’d necessarily put this on the resumé reel.