2013’s “Pacific Rim” isn’t one of Guillermo del Toro’s finest works. However, it does succeed as a giant monster vs giant machines popcorn flick. The filmmaker has a gift of making even a cookie-cutter blockbuster like “Pacific Rim” an original look. In all honesty, I have grown bored of seeing giant monsters or machines taking down buildings for two hours at a time. Between “Godzilla”, “Pacific Rim” and next month’s “Rampage”, when it enough, enough? Let me not forget this summer’s “Jurassic World” sequel and last year’s “Kong: Skull Island”. Having said that, how does “Pacific Rim Uprising” compare to the original? Not very well, I’m afraid.
Set ten years after the events of the first film, the creatures have been destroyed and the portal to their universe has been closed. The nations have rebuilt with some coastal cities forever destroyed. Living in one of those demolished cities is Jake Pentecost (son of the first film’s hero). He is played by John Boyega. Jake gets by stealing old Jaeger robot parts for people who want to build their own. He eventually gets caught, along side a young mechanic named Amara (Cailee Spaeny). His choice is either prison, or train Jaeger piolet cadets. Of course, he picks the ladder. Jake’s old partner Nate (Scott Eastwood) isn’t all too thrilled about his return but it doesn’t take long for them to start working together. Unfortunately, the training sessions are cut short when a new Kaiju threat appears and now the cadets must fight along side their trainers to save the world once again.
Steven S. DeKnight makes his feature-film directorial debut. He may be lacking in the directorial experience, but DeKnight has produced such television shows as “Smallville”, “Dollhouse”, “Spartacus”, and “Daredevil”. The good news is that “Pacific Rim Uprising” isn’t as chaotic and mind-numbingly bad as almost every “Transformers” sequel. The bad news is that there isn’t much of a story here either. It’s more of the same, minus the quality that del Toro brought to the first film. Boyega is one of the saving graces of “Uprising”. He delivers a few solid laughs here. It’s too bad he is forced to play off-of Eastwood who has absolutely no screen presence. Burn Gorman and Charlie Day return as Doctors Hermann Gottlieb and Newton Geiszler. These two were actually quite fun to watch in the original but here Gorman is completely wasted and Day is given a story arch that is to me one of the film’s worst creative decisions. I didn’t hate “Pacific Rim Uprising”, but I left the theater unimpressed. It’s just another routine CGI spectacle that offers plenty of eye candy but not much else.
By: Marc Ferman