He’s back

“Terminator 3” opened yesterday, to generally favorable reviews, like this one from the L.A. Times:

An expertly paced and efficient sci-fi thrill machine, “T3” effectively marries impressive action sequences with persuasive storytelling.

While “T3” would not have been made without Schwarzenegger’s participation, it would not have succeeded without the ability of its lesser-known director, Jonathan Mostow. Though his name lacks the marquee value of that of James Cameron, who ably directed both predecessors, Mostow’s skillful work in his own previous features, “Breakdown” and “U-571,” made him a shrewd choice here.

In those films as well as this, Mostow shows a gift for doing action right by not dumbing things down and by emphasizing the underlying reality of even far-fetched situations. And, unlike directors who come to action from music videos and commercials, he understands the necessity of connecting mayhem to human storytelling.

“T3’s” greatest accomplishment may be the simple ability to make us worry about its characters, the way it allows us to feel that the people being chased are in actual danger. Not even $175 million ensures that that will happen. In fact, it sometimes ensures just the opposite.

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