By midlandsmovies, Jul 29 2018 04:00AM
Pacific Rim Uprising (2018) Dir. Steven S. DeKnight
From a director mainly known for his work on the Spartacus TV show comes a film of equal low-budget quality in the follow up to Guillermo Del Toro’s quirky sci-fi smash ‘em up between skyscraper-sized robots and huge monsters.
Star Wars’ John Boyega appears as Jake Pentecost, the son of Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba) from the first film, who is an underground scavenger buying and selling parts for Jaegers which are now being built illegally.
He crosses paths with a young girl who has built her own from scrap (Cailee Spaeny as Amara Namani) and after a brief skirmish with the authorities, both are taken to a military academy to be trained on the next generation of robotic behemoths.
Boyega is his charismatic and likeable self but the whole cast are a selection of stereotypes and clichés to which no one can hang much characterisation on given their one-dimensional roles. Here we have the sarcastic kid, cocky pilot, mad tech guys and a training academy rival all present but definitely not welcome. Pentecost’s daughter Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi) is also back alongside the two quirky (and annoying) scientists played by Charlie Day and Burn Gorman.
Although the first film was hardly known for its depth, the characters had a simplistic charm, whilst here they only appear as ciphers for the action.
And speaking of the action, the editing on the fights has moved into the super quick arena which echoes the Transformers films. As with those, it becomes increasingly difficult to see what’s happening and discern who is fighting who. In the original, each Jaeger and Kaiju were explained which clarified their skills and abilities and gave some breathing space that is desperately needed here. Therefore, what we get is mindless smashing between two, mostly anonymous, giants that we don’t know, or care, much about.
With a few additions to the franchise involving the development of new technology concerning Kaiju blood and the use of rockets and drones, the funky neon colours and night time visuals of the Far East seen in Del Toro’s vision have been replaced with stark (and boring) daylight – emphasising the cheap and nasty CGI.
And by the end, the look, style and tone of Pacific Rim: Uprising goes off the rails with buildings coming down like the conclusion of Man of Steel with not a member of the public in sight.
So sadly the film has little of its own personality to engage with and by its headache-inducing conclusion it unfortunately *wants* to be Transformers, which is bad in itself, but in reality can barely hit the heady heights of the Power Rangers. A sequel to avoid.
Midlands Movies Mike