Pacific Rim Uprising - This Robo-Monster Movie Sequel Rocks For Fun
Dir: Steven S DeKnight
Starring John Boyega, Scott Eastwood, Cailee Spaeny, Burn Gorman, Charlie Day, Rinko Kikuchi
One of the great strengths of Guillermo’s Del Toro’s original Jaeger-on-Kaiju movie was the sheer heft of it. His giant robots and his uber-monsters moved as if they weighed something. Not just something, a lot. Thus, PR1 had a visual pace that was a complete contrast to the Michael Bay fifty million edits per second approach of his generally dreadful Transformers movies (the inevitable comparison.) And was all the better for it.
DeKnight gets some of this in his engaging sequel, but it’s a while in coming, largely because he focuses the action initially on robot on robot. At least the first four battles in Uprising are sans Kaiju, leaving us dangerously close to unwelcome Transformers territory, especially with the introduction of Scrapper – a mini-Jaeger than can turn itself into a ball and roll around, not a million miles away from your basic “cute” Bumblebee type.
So those are the negatives. The positives? Well it’s totally daft – but knows it. The Kaiju do eventually show up. And it has John Boyega in it!
Having already made a huge impression in his Star Wars movies, here Boyega (also producing) makes his full-on move to charming leading man action hero status – keeps his accent and pulls it off with great aplomb. The man really knows how to charm on screen and uses the role here of Jake (son of Stacker) Pentecost to commandingly lead the movie and the earth-defending Jaeger team of rag tag recruits both. It’s a testament to Boyega’s abilities that he’s as big a deal here as the robots and the monsters themselves.
Elsewhere, Burn Gorman is great fun, Charlie Day is not annoying, and we have a solid action movie that knows how preposterous it can be – ups that ante notably – but still knows how to stick around and deliver the heroic stuff. It lacks the finesse and, as we said, the sheer heft of Del Toro’s original. But it certainly knows how to be purely entertaining (and how to appeal to that ever expanding Chinese market!)
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