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Pacific Rim: Uprising (2018)

Josh Reviews Pacific Rim: Uprising

March 29th, 2018
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I wasn’t expecting that much from Pacific Rim: Uprising, and yet, the film still managed to underwhelm me.  The film isn’t bad; it’s perfectly unoffensive yet instantly forgettable.

I was super-excited for the first Pacific Rim, back in 2013.  Any new film from Guillermo del Toro is cause for excitement, and the film’s giant-robots-fighting-giant-monsters concept looked delicious.  And yet, I didn’t love that first film.  It was gorgeous-looking, beautifully designed and conceptualized; the action was tremendous; the cast was great. And yet I found the characters to be flat and the story-arcs superficial and predictable, so I didn’t invest in the story nearly as deeply as I felt I should have.

I was surprised when a sequel was announced, as the first film was not much of a hit.  (Apparently it made money overseas.)  But I was excited by the potential for a second film to take this great concept and take another swing at doing it justice.  When it was announced that Guillermo del Toro would not be directing, I was bummed, and as glimpses of the sequel started to be released (posters, trailers, etc.), I was not that taken by what I saw.  Still, I had hope.

The sequel, Pacific Rim: Uprising is set ten years after the first film and centers around Jake (John Boyega), the son of Idris Elba’s character from the first film.  Jake used to be a Jaeger (those are the giant monster-fighting robots) pilot, but he washed out.  Now he is drawn back into things and forced to mentor a group of younger cadets, including the young technical wizard Amara (Cailee Spaeny).  The world thought that the Kaiju (the giant monsters) threat was finished, but, wouldn’t you know it, that didn’t turn out to be the case.

There are a lot of characters in this film, but the film completely fails to allow the auidence to get to know or care about them, at all.  John Boyega is great, as always, and he does his best to elevate every scene he’s in.  He is loose and funny and a pleasure to watch.  But his character-arc is painfully thin.  It’s clear from the first second of the film that Jake has a heart of gold and that not only will he quickly be drawn back into the Jaeger program but that he will save the day in the end.  There is nothing remotely surprising or interesting to be found.  (Mr. Boyega’s charming turn as a leading man is failed by the film around him in almost exactly the same way that Charlie Hunnam’s performance was failed by the first Pacific Rim.  It’s weird!!)  But at least Mr. Boyega is fun to watch and … [continued]