Well, it took a dozen years and about 200 million dollars to make a sequel to one of the most satisfying action movies of all time. After netting a somewhat disappointing gross at theatres, Arny and friends blast their way into a DVD player near you, with mixed results.
The movie opens with someone riding a motorbike, as you'd expect. A voiceover informs us that John Connor is all grown up now, some twenty years after events of the second film. For some reason, he doesn't quite trust machines, and spends a life on the run. Little does he know that those crafty machines of the future have stumbled upon an excitingly original plan. That's right, send a Terminator (the delectable Kristanna Loken) back in time to kill John Connor and his future friends, so they can't lead a human resistance. Said human resistance of the future also sends a unit back to protect John.
The question of why the machines still rule the future is answered quite neatly. The events in T-2 did not avert Judgement Day - nothing can. To quote Agent Smith, 'It is... inevitable'. It's just a question of when, and how bad. If the old T-800 model (Schwarz.) can stand up to the advanced T-X (really, haven't we seen enough of that letter?), maybe humanity will have a chance in the future.
John soon stumbles headlong into Kate Brewster (Danes), a young veterinarian who once went to school with him. Her father just happens to work at the military, on a top secret project called SkyNet. Ms. Brewster is also on the T-X's 'terminate' list, and the trio are hounded by her at every turn in a desperate attempt to avert Judgement Day yet again.
That's the story, and director Mostow gives it a pretty good film treatment. He delivers the action, and aside from that, the movie's pretty sparse. The acting (aside from Loken, who just has to resist moving her face) isn't all that great. Nick Stahl is especially annoying as a John Connor who's too busy whining and complaining to do anything right. Arnie's still looking pretty sculpted, but it's kinda scary to see how old he's getting. A little too old to be wearing leather and tussling with a woman maybe a third of his age. There's no real moral lessons, no thematic constructs to distract you - just stuff blowing up.
And the stuff blows up pretty nicely. The actions sequences are filmed flawlessly. There's an excellent chase scene, and a fun shootout between the T-800 and the cops. (The T-800 makes it a point not to kill any of them... cause he's a stand up guy once you get to know him). The special effects are of the highest calibre, and the fight scenes are a joy to watch. Don't expect anything truly groundbreaking, but T3 delivers most everything a true action film should.
There's less substance than in T2, and Mostow can't seem to bring the style either. Although the movie has the potential to be a very dark and atmospheric entry, it's never fully realized. The cinematography is usually nothing more than functional, and seldom approaches Cameron's work. Nevertheless, T3 aims to do no more than deliver an explosive dose of action, and it does that just admirably. It's greatest weakness is having to follow up such an acclaimed film as 'Judgement Day'.
As far as the DVD itself goes, nothing stands out, except for the single deleted scene. Although there's a very good reason it was deleted, the 'Sgt. Candy' scene is pretty funny. Including it, however, would have ruined what little atmosphere the movie posesses. There's also the obligatory commentaries, and a few other extras that don't add much. You also have the ability to add some special effects to a scene, and view what you've created. It's a fun novelty the first couple times.
As for the transfer, it's pretty good, but doesn't have the crispness of other releases such as 'Matrix: Reloaded'. The audio however, is nothing short of spectacular. T3 puts that surround sound system you starved yourself to purchase to good use. Malnutrition is a small price to pay for such wonderfully mastered audio.
In short, T3 is an essential addition to any fan of the franchise. For anyone else, it's probably best enjoyed as a rental. The movie's really just a showcase for action pieces. It is however, a very pretty showcase.