Pacific Rim: Uprising (2018)

Directed by Steven S. DeKnight

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Pacific Rim: Uprising is very much just an ‘okay’ movie.  I’m not sure what more there is to say.  The performances are a bit of a drag, if only because there seems to be a lot of effort only to recapture what worked about the first movie, but the visual effects are good, right?  I mean, they seem good enough.

The story, perhaps as expected, is forced and uneven, but it works to get us to a point where there are giant robots fighting other giant robots and then giant monsters.  It’s overly complicated where the first Pacific Rim was decidedly lean.  In that Guillermo Del Toro movie the conflict was clear: Giant robots versus giant monsters.  It was so clear that it was enjoyably silly and, from what I recall, never took itself too seriously.  This should be a ridiculous movie.

To justify the sequel the story has to jump ahead in time and then force a new conflict.  There’s something about rogue “Jaegers” and “Kaiju” that take over your brain, but what does it matter?  All I know is that there is a lot of exposition shoved at you, including in a dense but somehow still empty prologue in which we meet our protagonist, Jake (John Boyega), the son of the Idris Elba character in the first movie.

To give the movie some credit, casting an actor of color for this role and giving him some defining characteristics is a welcome sign.  He’s not just the bland white man who usually shows up in this kind of movie, with the wackier, more volatile character actors adding texture to the story around him.

And yet that bland character does happen to be here too.  His name is Nate, and he’s played by Scott Eastwood.

I don’t know how much I want to write about this movie.  It’s exactly what you expect it is, a blend of absurd action and supposed wit, about the same amount as The Meg, and yet it seems too self-serious for the most part for me to feel as though I’ve gained anything from watching it.

The movie just borrows from the original and adds nothing to the story.  It’s just a way to make money, but of course that’s already clear.  I don’t know, it’s one of a handful of unnecessary sequels that borrows iconography and delivers the same story about manufactured good guys versus manufactured evil.

Up Next: The Crying Game (1992), Clown (2014), Life During Wartime (2009)

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