I have to admit that I entered the theater for Terminator 3 with a somewhat heavy heart. As usual, I had avoided most of the reviews, but there was something about the advertising campaign (or lack thereof) that concerned me about this film.
I'm not sure if it was the low expectations or just a surprisingly well done movie that had me leaving the theater with an uncharacteristic "that was much better than I had expected." On balance, T3 is a suitable sequel to T2. It doesn't have the quirky charm of the first movie, although it does contain some of its efficiencies (rather small cast and few locations to shoot).
It appears that most of the $170M budget went to Arnold, the special effects and robot houses, and to the best crane chase that I've ever seen.
The plot is relatively straightforward, but does have a couple of twists. The audience is let in on most of them ahead of the characters, so you don't get to have as much fun guessing where things are going to go.
Acting is, like the Terminator, a bit mechanical. Arnold plays the original robot in a familiar and appropriate fashion. Similarly, the new nemesis (TX) plays her role in a single-minded and robotic fashion, but with flawless hair. However, the two human characters, John Conner and Kate Brewster come off a bit distant for my tastes. There is some passion (from them more than between them), but it is sporadic and feels uneasy. In the end, I just didn't find myself feeling a strong attachment to the humans in this film.
The ending was good, although a little preachy, and leaves an opening for more sequels if Arnold runs low on cash in the future.
If you are a fan of science fiction or action films, you should go see this, as it is better than most of the ones that have come out so far this year. The film does have some gore and is replete with violence, but then it is a war/chase film, so you would expect that.