Pacific Rim returns with its breed of Monster versus Machines, or should I say Kaiju vs. Yagers in Pacific Rim Uprising. It is perhaps an unnecessary sequel but it is for the most part watchable. It lacks the care of the first but is still largely entertaining.
The Yager pilots program is about to be replaced by a new more efficient program involving drones. The launch of the program grows horribly wrong when the new Yager begin opening the breaches that once let the Kaiju in. It is up to a young and inexperienced group of new pilots lead by Jake Pentecost (John Boyega) to stop the invasion and find out who has sabatouged the programs.
Unsurprisingly, Pacific Rim Uprising is a film about big dumb robots fighting big dumb monster. It is anime without the angst or exestential questions. It’s big speeches filled with big explosions. There is little question that Pacific Rim Uprising looks great. Cities being destroyed as mere obstacles to the ridiculous battle betwen machine and alien is impressive. Yet while special effects have improved somehow lacks the giant scale of the first film. It was nice as a local to see Sydney totalled in the first big fight.
The film while not filled with noteworthy character gives John Boyega to be a charming leading man. He is funny, inspired and has an emotional gravity that isn’t necessarily warranted by the script. He carries the film on his persona a lot and he actually gets to keep his actual accent for once.
The original Pacific Rim has a wierdly specfic care with telling its lore. Uprising doesn’t really have the same qualms. Things feel convoluted but not well explained. Drone programs that must be up and running in 48 hours for example. No Kaiju threat at this point in the movie, no real explanation of the drones but a sense this needs to be done quickly. People partying in old devestated cities scavenging for parts and to live, oh that seems interesting. Don’t worry about it we won’t be here long. There are new concepts and ideas here but they never feel explored particularly well.
Yet for everything you might want to find fault with Pacific Rim Uprising feels efficient, cruely so at some points. Characters from the previous film are discarded or used as plot devices before ever become attatched to them. But that efficiency means bad jokes don’t over stay there welcome and a sense of momentum exists throughout. You just can’t really feel attatched to anything.
Pacific Rim Uprising Cheat Sheet:
Pacific Rim Uprising is an average film that lacks the character, lore or sense of scale of its predecessor. It does have a charming John Boyega as its lead and an efficiency which is a double edged sword. It’s an OK watch but not essential one.
+ Looks great when Kaiju and Yagers fight.
+John Boyega carries the film on charm alone.
+Never overstays it welcome.
-New lore elements lack the care of the original.
– No sense of scale.
-Nothing to make it stand out whether it be characters or story.