'Pacific Rim: Uprising'
The original ‘Pacific Rim’ had no right to be any good, but in the hands of a strong filmmaker (who now has an Oscar to back him up), it ended up being a very satisfying and all-around entertaining blockbuster. With trailers that look just as unappealing as those for the first movie did, I hoped that the sequel would make me eat crow again. Sadly, it’s doesn’t. ‘Pacific Rim: Uprising’ is as bland as it looks.
Guillermo del Toro opted out of the sequel so he could make ‘The Shape of Water’. In his stead, the studio gave it to a director with three episodes of ‘Angel’, two episodes of ‘Smallville’, one episode of ‘Dollhouse’, and one episode of ‘Daredevil’ under his belt. It comes as no surprise that ‘Uprising’ feels like an expensive made-for-TV movie.
Set ten years after the events of the first film, the sequel opens with a voiceover explanation of what has happened during the interim. The red flags begin here. The intro feels like it was yanked out of a ‘Transformers’ movie. Although we saw how the Pacific breach (the underwater lightning portal that allowed Kaiju to enter our dimension) was closed in the last movie, the world now seems to be completely polluted with busted jaegers (the piloted mech that were used to fight the kaiju) and kaiju skeletons. It’s as if the entire Pacific Rim region has become a bony junkyard for waste that wasn’t there ten years ago.
Like del Toro, Charlie Hunnam decided to pass on the sequel, so the face of the franchise has been swapped out for John Boyega and a smudged-on shadow of a mustache. His voiceover intro explains that he’s the son of the late Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba’s heroic character from the original movie). Knowing that he could never live up to his father’s ranks, he’s gone the opposite direction and become a Han Solo type who smuggles and steals and charms his way out of sticky situations. After getting busted in an opening sequence, his adopted sister Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi, one of three returning cast members) pulls some strings to keep him out of prison if he’ll follow in his father’s footsteps and head a team of jaeger pilots.
At this point, the structure of the movie drastically veers from the original. The first movie didn’t get tangled up in plot and science and explanations. Instead, it focused on robots punching monsters, which is what we came to see. It knew exactly what it was and delivered the goods in the most fun fashion.
The ingredients for a good ‘Pacific Rim’ movie are present in ‘Uprising’, but the recipe is off. Charlie Day and Burn Gorman return as the bumbling mad scientists, but they’re wasted. We don’t see a kaiju until the third act. ‘Uprising’ has an extremely boring first half that gets bogged down in post-breach politics, military contracts, double-agents and hurt feelings. The magic is lost. Instead of a simple and fun action movie, we’re handed a braindead and tone-deaf action flick that tries to be more than it is and functions in the same league as the latter ‘Transformers’ sequels.
As someone who loved ‘Pacific Rim’, I really wanted ‘Uprising’ to be good. Although it has some enjoyable moments, the movie is pretty much a franchise killer. While the foreign box office may entice the studio to greenlight another sequel, I don’t look forward to seeing any more.
Saw it last night. It’s really bad. Avoid until Redbox or HBO if you can hold out.
Soon as I saw no Hunnam or Del Torro in the first teaser, I expected this review. It’s a pity, great franchise material in half competent hands.
Saw this in IMAX 3d and I did enjoy it, but it left me a bit disappointed. I like Boyega and thought he was a great choice to star in the movie, but I never bought him being the son of Stacker Pentecost. Just because he’s black with an English accent doesn’t mean he has to be tied to Idris Elba. That connective tissue is weak. Nothing in the first movie suggests that Stacker had a son and they should of just told an unrelated Jaeger pilot story. As much fun as it is to watch the jaegers fight the kaiju, they were way more destructive to the city than the actual kaiju were. Kicking buildings down and hurling buildings at the kaiju to fight them. It would’ve been nice to see them actually try to lure the monsters out of the city then just make an even bigger catastrophe than the supposed threat. There wasn’t really any awe to the mechs. In the first movie there was a big connection to them. Gipsy Danger felt like a character that I could root for. Gipsy Avenger is kind of a cheap knock off that nobody gives a shit about. Same goes for the other jaegers, they look cool but there was no time spent with them to really admire them or root for them. All in all, there still was a lot of fun to be had, but it was too inconsistent as a sequel.