Fun; Good And Dumb: Our Review of ‘Pacific Rim Uprising’

Posted in Movies, Theatrical by - March 23, 2018
Fun; Good And Dumb: Our Review of ‘Pacific Rim Uprising’

You know sometimes there is just something to be said for going big and as dumb as hell…

For a movie that isn’t even remotely designed or targeted for North American audiences; Pacific Rim Uprising is actually smart enough to lean into what it actually is, just a big, dumb and mostly fun piece of Kaiju flavored eye candy that isn’t actually going for any actual story or character development just lots of loud crashes and oooos and ahhhs as destruction reigns supreme on the screen.

Jake Pentecost (John Boyega) was once a promising Jaeger pilot whose legendary father gave his life to secure humanity’s victory against the monstrous Kaiju. Jake, unwilling to live under the pressure that comes with his last name has since abandoned his training only to become caught up in a criminal underworld. However when an even more unstoppable threat is unleashed to tear through our cities and bring the world to its knees, he is given one last chance to live up to his father’s legacy by his estranged sister, Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi) who is leading a brave new generation of pilots that have grown up in the shadow of war. As they seek justice for the fallen, their only hope is to unite together in a global uprising against the forces of extinction. Jake is joined by gifted rival pilot Lambert (Scott Eastwood) and 15-year-old Jaeger hacker Amara (Cailee Spaeny), as the heroes of the PPDC become the only family he has left.

Shifting from emotionally poignant and epic science fiction straight into full throttle action nonsense, Pacific Rim: Uprising is actually better than it deserves to be if only because it leans into its B-Movie styling’s for the benefit of the overseas box office which will just want something big and loud rather than anything truly story driven.

Director Steven S. DeKnight is no stranger to fun and entertaining aspects of trash storytelling.  Having served as a show run on the recent Spartacus and also a full season of Daredevil he knows what buttons to push and here with this continuation of the Pacific Rim we get the big and the brash elements of this universe in a fashion that for better or for worse would have made Michael Bay proud.  Sure it’s a shift in the noble tale of action and the need for humanity to band together in the face of a common enemy but it’s big, brash and it more than a little fun to watch unfold on the screen.

The script which was co-written by DeKnight has an efficient flow to it all.  Sure it could have used a little more time to breathe in order to establish characters and individual motives but it doesn’t waste a lick of time getting from action set piece to action set piece which is really the film’s bread and butter to begin with.  The CGI is crisp and solid with the large scale moments feeling appropriately handled and never too far out of range for what this universe is traditionally capable of.

Sliding John Boyega into the leading man role was a rather deft touch, with his natural charisma, leading man swagger and ability to make a speech while wearing a Han Solo-esque looking vest.  It was smart of him to snag a producer credit because while it isn’t necessarily any kind of high art the film easily sets itself up for a sequel given the fresh blood injected into the ensemble.  With only Rinko Kikuchi, Charlie Day and Burn Gorman the table is set for Scott Eastwood and Caliee Spaeny to inject some fresh blood into a newly recharged war against these monsters and their alien overlords’ intent on destroying the earth.

This is one of those instances where it’s just as much a reboot as it is a sequel and while purists may have wanted to keep this on the original track the Guillermo del Toro started it all off on, there’s nothing wrong with turning this more into a Saturday morning Power Rangers/Toho Films type of effort rather then something a little heavier.  It’s hardly high art, but Pacific Rim Uprising embraces the spectacle inherent in a movie franchise about that is about alien monster and giant robots fighting each other.  Just good dumb fun.

This post was written by
David Voigt is a Toronto based writer with a problem and a passion for the moving image and all things cinema. Having moved from production to the critical side of the aisle for well over 10 years now at outlets like Examiner.com, Criticize This, Dork Shelf (Now That Shelf), to.Night Newspaper he’s been all across his city, the country and the continent in search of all the news and reviews that are fit to print from the world of cinema.
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