Jake Pentecost, son of Stacker Pentecost, reunites with Mako Mori to lead a new generation of Jaeger pilots, including rival Lambert and 15-year-old hacker Amara, against a new Kaiju threat.
2013’s ‘Pacific Rim’, Guillermo del Toro’s monsters v giant robots movie, was a big enough hit at the worldwide box office to warrant a sequel and as someone who really liked the first film, I was on board for whatever the filmmakers came up with. Steven S. DeKnight has taken over directing (and co-writing) duties from del Toro and the film does suffer for it somewhat, but I still found this to be a lot of fun if you take it for what it is i.e. a big dumb action movie! The film takes place ten years after the events of the first film, with most of the characters from that battle now deceased and replaced with a new cast (with a few exceptions).
One of those new characters is Jake Pentecost (John Boyega), the son of Idris Elba’s Stacker, and he is introduced as a rebellious youngster who makes a living stealing ‘Jaeger’ parts and selling them on the black market. Boyega is a likeable presence in everything I’ve seen him in and he’s a smart choice to play Elba’s son, portraying him with a roguish and charismatic quality. The rest of the cast aren’t particularly great, from Scott Eastwood’s stoic co-pilot Nate to newcomer Cailee Spaeny who both feel out of their depth. The main storyline of the film revolves around a rogue Jaeger starting to attack cities, with the blame starting to centre on a corporation headed up by Liwen Shao (Jing Tian) where Charlie Day’s Dr. Newton now works. It’s a particularly silly plot that feels unrealistic (even for the setting) although at least the filmmakers have attempted to avoid a complete re-run of the original, even if it’s only moderately successful. In terms of the good points, the special effects are on point and the choice to shoot in daytime (as opposed to the rainy, night shoots of the original) helps to bring clarity to the big fights when they do happen.
There’s nothing unique or original about ‘Pacific Rim Uprising’ and it does operate as a merely functional sequel to the superior original, but sometimes I’m happy to just watch some mindless escapism and in that regard, ‘Pacific Rim Uprising’ delivers.
Directed By: Steven S. DeKnight
Starring: John Boyega, Scott Eastwood, Cailee Spaeny, Rinko Kikuchi, Charlie Day, Burn Gorman, Jing Tian, Adria Arjona, Zhang Jin, Karan Brar, Ivanna Sakhno, Mackenyu and Zhu Zhu