The excitement I had for the release of “Pacific Rim” in 2013 was pretty high. I mean you had Guillermo del Toro directing a film that involved modern version of giant robots fighting monsters which feels like something every kid who grew up watching Godzilla movies would love to see. This move had almost everything I hoped for including the use of a cargo ship as a baseball bat, I had little hope for seeing more from this universe. Lucky for me I was wrong and its rock’em-sock’em robot time once again.
We find ourselves ten years after the great war had been won against the dreaded Kaiju, and while most of the world has rebuilt there are still reminders of the fight that was. While most people have moved on, people like Jake Pentecost (John Boyega) are living their life by stealing from the past and selling it. While on one of those runs he encounters Amara Namani ( Cailee Spaeny) a young girl who has managed to build herself a smaller Jaeger. When the two of them get caught Jake’s sister Mako Mori ( Rinko Kikuchi) helps him avoid jail on the condition he return to the Jaeger program to help train the pilots of tomorrow, one being Amara who is also put into the program. The only thing threatening the Jaeger program as a company lead by the tech of Dr. Newton Geiszler (Charlie Day) who is planning to launch drones that don’t have the complexities of the older Jaeger program. Things don’t go well and soon a new Kaiju threat is unleashed and it is up to the next generation of Jaeger pilots to save the world once again.
The formula is pretty simple here for enjoyment, robots beat up monsters, but like with everything it can never be that simple. Sure there are plenty of ass kicking but sometimes emotions get involved and that sucks some of the fun out of things. I get it, characters give a story soul, but less melodrama and a shorter run time would have a made this story a whole lot more fun. Gone are all the bigger name actors like Charlie Hunnam and Idris Elba and in their place we are given John Boyega and Scott Eastwood, which feels a lot like a direct-to-video movie from the 90’s move. With “Pacific Rim: Uprising” it turns out to be just an ok movie as it’s not the replacement of the actors that take the film down a level, but the extra stuff that means nothing drags this into forgettable territory. The stars of the last film are not the only ones ‘not’ returning as del Toro is replaced by Steven S. DeKnight who is making his feature film debut. Now, I never will argue that “Pacific Rim” was a great movie, there is no denying the joy of a way better Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla that it went for. With the second coming, elements of the fun are still there but just in smaller doses, but still enough to put a smile on any geeks face. I wanted to love this and while I did have more than a few moments of ‘wow’ it really feels like ninety minutes would have been the perfect run time for this movie. Hey, I am just happy we got a sequel as I didn’t think I would see giant robots save the day once again, which feel like a win even if the movie drifts from its beginnings.