Film and Plot Synopsis
Set ten years after the events of Terminator 2: Judgment Day, John Connor is now an adult living a nomadic life off the grid. His mother Sarah has died years before of leukemia, leaving John as the sole person in the world with knowledge of what may come. However, when two Terminators appear from the future again with missions to destroy and protect, John finds that he and his mother did not stop Judgment Day, they merely delayed it. Now, John, the T-101, and a woman named Kate Brewster must work together to stop the new Judgment Day, which is set to begin at 6:18 that day. If John cannot stop the rise of the machines, humanity maybe doomed.
Buy the Film
‘Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines’ Movie Summary
However, Skynet still exists in the future and sends a new Terminator model, the T-X (Kristanna Loken), back in time to John’s present in Los Angeles, California. The T-X’s mission is to kill all known future allies of John Connor in the Human Resistance. As before, the Resistance sends a reprogrammed T-101 Terminator back in time to protect the T-X’s targets, including Kate Brewster (Claire Danes), a woman that John knew as a child who will eventually become John’s future wife.
John wrecks his motorcycle while riding at night and breaks into an animal hospital in order to patch himself up. Kate happens to work at the same hospital and is called in during the middle of the night for an animal emergency. The T-X locates Kate and John at the hospital, but they are both saved by the T-101 when he arrives to protect Kate. The T-101 sends Kate and John away while he battles the T-X. The T-X overpowers the T-101 before dispatching several unmanned emergency vehicles that she can control remotely to pursue Kate and John’s truck. The T-101 eventually recovers and helps temporarily stop the T-X allowing for Kate, John, and the T-101 to escape.
The T-101 takes them to a mausoleum in a cemetery where John’s mother is allegedly interred. However, the casket is actually a weapons cache that Sarah left in case Judgment Day was not stopped. Police surround the mausoleum, and the T-X also arrives in the form of Kate’s fiancé Scott Mason (Mark Famiglietti) whom she has killed to get to Kate. Kate runs away from John and the T-101 and is taken into police custody. The police psychiatrist Dr. Peter Silberman (Earl Boen) is called to scene to handle Kate’s mental state. The T-101 evacuates John from the mausoleum by placing him in the casket and carrying him to a hearse. In the exchange of gunfire, Kate runs from police but soon reunites with John and the T-101 who prevent her from being killed by the T-X disguised as Scott.
I feel the weight of the world bearing down on me. A future I don’t want. So, I keep running as fast as I can… anywhere… nowhere. John Connor
They are soon on the road again. The T-101 explains that John and Sarah did not stop Judgment Day, they merely delayed it. The T-101 also shares that Skynet will still wipe out most of humanity at 6:18 p.m. that day. The T-101 states that his plan is to drive John and Kate to Mexico to escape the nuclear fallout that will follow. John attempts to order the T-101 to take Kate and himself to see Kate’s father, United States Air Force General Robert Brewster (David Andrews) at his airbase. The T-101 refuses but complies when Kate orders him to do it. The T-101 reveals that he was sent back in time by Kate and is not programmed to follow John’s command. When John asks why, the T-101 informs him because he killed John on July 4, 2032. Kate reprogrammed him and sent him back to protect her.
Meanwhile, General Brewster is the supervisor of a new computer program called Skynet for Cyber Research Systems. The program is designed to take control of the United States’ military defenses making them nearly autonomous. General Brewster is facing pressure from the Joint Chiefs to activate Skynet to stop an anomalous computer virus that is infecting servers worldwide and is close to crashing the internet. Brewster is reluctant to initiate Skynet. Brewster is unaware that the virus is Skynet, unleased onto the World Wide Web by the T-X, in order to establish control over the Skynet system in our time.
John and Kate arrive too late to stop General Brewster from activating Skynet. The T-X shoots Brewster and activates and controls the weaponized machines that are on the military base, killing nearly all the military personal stationed there. Before dying, General Brewster gives Kate and John the location of what John believes is Skynet’s system core at Crystal Peak. John and Kate head to the tarmac to take the General’s propeller plane to the remote base. While in route, they encounter the T-X who the T-101 engages in combat. The T-X severely damages the T-101 and takes control of its systems, reprogramming it to kill John.
The T-X pursues John and Kate through the military facility. John and Kate are temporarily able to trap the T-X in a particle accelerator when the magnetic field bonds the T-X to the accelerator, but eventually it escapes. John and Kate encounter the T-101 at the airplane, where the Terminator tries to kill John until John points out that it is about to fail its primary mission. The T-101 shuts itself down in order to reboot itself without the T-X’s corrupted software. John and Kate escape and fly to Crystal Peak. The T-101 and the T-X both follow shortly afterwards.
After arriving at Crystal Peak, John and Kate find the facility mainly deserted. The T-X arrives shortly afterwards and moves to kill the human couple. The T-101 crashes a helicopter into the T-X, damaging the upgraded Terminator. John and Kate are able to get the blast doors of the military facility open and begin to enter when the doors begin to close again. The T-101 uses its body to keep the doors open to allow them inside. When the T-X tries to crawl in after them, the T-101 blows both himself and the T-X up with his last hydrogen energy cell. The T-101 and the T-X are both destroyed.
John and Kate go to the depths of the Crystal Peak facility with plans to blow up Skynet’s core. Once inside, they discover that the facility does not house Skynet’s core, but it is an old nuclear fallout shelter for high level government and military officials. John concludes that Skynet has no core and that it has become part of cyberspace after becoming self-aware. Judgment Day begins as Skynet fires nuclear missiles worldwide, starting the nuclear holocaust that kills billions. John contemplates blowing himself and Kate up with the explosives that he has until they begin receiving radio transmissions on the emergency equipment. John accepts his fate as future leader of the resistance and begins to answer the transmissions from around the country.
Additional Film Information
- Add the film to your collection today
- Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines official website
- Peruse IMDb’s article on Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines
- Learn more Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines information at Wikipedia
- Get Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines numbers at Box Office Mojo
- Find out what people think about Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines at Metacritic
- Read Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines reviews from the folks at Rotten Tomatoes