The Jaeger’s and Kaiju’s are back as Pacific Rim heads back to the big screen for another monster bashing session.
This time round we’re following Stacker Pentacost’s son, Jake, John Boyega (Star Wars: The Last Jedi, The Circle). Jake has dropped out of the Jaeger training program, ’cause he’s too cool and stuff, and now he’s stealing things, swapping things, anything to make a living.
Whilst out on a jaunt to take some old Jaeger parts he runs into Amara Namani, Cailee Spaeny (Counting To 1000 (Short)), who is building her own, mini, Jaeger. The two are caught red-handed and thrown back into Jaeger training by Mako Mori, Rinko Kikuchi (Pacific Rim, Babel), Jake’s sister.
It’s here they meet the rest of the gang which mostly comprises of Scott Eastwood (Suicide Squad, Diablo) with Burn Gorman (Pacific Rim, The Dark Knight Rises) and Charlie Day (Pacific Rim, The Lego Movie) reviving their characters from the first film.
The story is that evil mastermind Tian Jing (The Great Wall, Kong: Skull Island) is trying to turn the Jaeger’s into drones which would have worked had it not been for the pesky Day who goes a little loopy.
This sets things up for a nice little fight between some new cadets in the Jaeger training program, of which Amara is one, Boyega and Eastwood reuniting in dad’s old machine all against a super-Kaiju.
The first Pacific Rim film was as cheesy as they come, some of that is referenced here with particular emphasis on ‘that speech’. But, at least what Pacific Rim did well was the Jaeger’s.
Original writer and director Guillermo Del Toro went to great lengths to create the interiors of the Jaeger’s, only using CGI where absolutely necessary. It’s fair to say that’s gone out of the window with this reboot or, if it hasn’t, it certainly looks that way.
As well as not looking so good, Pacific Rim Uprising also suffers from a script by numbers approach to story-telling. The story is so obvious that it sticks out like a, well, like a giant CGI robot fighting a giant CGI creature in a CGI city.
Gorman and Day, previously the ‘light relief’ in the movie, appear only as an afterthought when writers Steven S. DeKnight (Daredevil (TV), Spartacus (TV)), who also directs, Emily Carmichael (Stryka (Short), RPG OKC (Short)), Kira Snyder (The 100 (TV), The Handmaid’s Tale (TV)) and T. S. Nowlin (The Maze Runner, Phoenix Forgotten), realise they need someone to explain something and someone to be the bad guy in all this.
The movie has more than a feeling of the Transformers series of films and that’s not a positive, not by a long shot.
Throughout you have Boyega looking moody and miserable, Eastwood is given so few lines and so little to do that most of the time he looks as confused as we are about the whole thing, whilst Spaeny runs around just happy to be there.
Pacific Rim Uprising feels like a cheap knock-off sequel because, that’s exactly what it is. Made without the original writers or the original director or the struggles they had to bring the original to the screen, Uprising would have gone straight to video had they not, somehow, manage to get Boyega and Eastwood to star in it.
It’s mind-blowing then, that the ending sees them attempt to set things up for yet more of this absolute tosh. Let’s all hope that never happens.