If there’s one word to add to a sequel title that promises an unnecessary story, then it has to be ‘uprising.’ It’s no surprise, then, that the latest Pacific Rim installment is a cash grab dressed as a flimsy excuse to continue what, as a stand alone film, was a solid B-movie experience for monster movie fans.
John Boyega plays a Jaeger pilot and son of Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba) who you may remember from the first film as the cool guy that canceled the apocalypse. Everyone in the movie remembers too, because it’s all they talk about. It’s 10 years after the war on the Kaiju, but there are still Jaegers–giant robot killing machines–and Jaeger pilots around for some reason. Meanwhile, a competing company wants to replace pilots and install drone technology on the Jaegers. Nothing could go wrong, right? Throw in a malevolent force hijacking the Jaegers, and we have an excuse for a sequel.
The cast is suitably B-list. Scott Eastwood Captain America’s it up as a fellow Jaeger pilot, as all the blond-haired, blue-eyed pilots from the first movie were killed. Charlie Day and Burn Gorman are back and, rather than provide comic relief, are thrust into “important” plot points. Cailee Spaeny adds some needed spunk as a tween Jaeger-building genius.
The first Pacific Rim did us the favor of not being a Transformers movie, whose action scenes are famous for being clumsy, incoherent, and cluttered with CGI debris. Guellermo Del Toro had the sense to zoom out and let the size of the fight carry the energy of the action scenes. The hits had some real ‘oomph’ to them. I wouldn’t say Pacific Rim: Uprising is a wholesale rejection of Del Toro’s finesse, but it definitely doesn’t maintain it. Action scenes are hectic and short (and there are fewer of them, for some reason) and not terribly exciting. It’s a shame, because they’re about the only reason this franchise exists.
There are a couple improvements on the original. Uprising is about 20 minutes shorter than the first, and John Boyega is an improvement over Charlie Hunnam. Other than that, you’re better going into this movie with low expectations or perhaps none at all.
that she’s willing to wait for the movie to come out on Redbox. Probably a good choice.