Pacific Rim: Uprising (2018)

  • Time: 111 min
  • Genre: Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi
  • Director: Steven S. DeKnight
  • Cast: John Boyega, Scott Eastwood, Rinko Kikuchi

Storyline:

Jake Pentecost, son of Stacker Pentecost, reunites with Mako Mori to lead a new generation of Jaeger pilots, including rival Lambert and 15-year-old hacker Amara, against a new Kaiju threat.

One comment

  • Charm goes a long way, and certainly John Boyega proves his can power Pacific Rim: Uprising, the goofy and serviceably entertaining mess of a sequel to Guillermo del Toro’s 2013 film Pacific Rim. Though the original is held to be the recent Oscar-winning director’s least personal film to date, there is something in its gleeful and glorious spectacle that strongly suggested otherwise; it was as if the Mexican director had released his inner child, revelling in the wonder of giant robots fighting giant creatures and smashing everything in sight.

    Sequels by their very nature already tread on familiar ground. There’s a bit more leeway if they’re part of a continuing story like the Harry Potter and Star Wars franchises but, most of the time, it’s an uphill battle to present what’s already been seen in a way that feels both new yet comforting, different but the same. Certainly Uprising falls firmly in the latter category – the thrills are there but they’re not quite on the same level as what came before.

    It’s been ten years since the events of the original. Boyega plays Jake Pentecost, son of Idris Elba’s Stacker, who sacrificed himself during the Battle of the Breach in order to help save the world from the invading Kaiju. “I am not my father,” Jake emphatically states early on in the film and, indeed, the film quickly establishes that he’s party boy who makes his money scavenging Jaeger parts. Yet, one also knows that he will surely prove himself very much his father’s son, especially when he reluctantly rejoins the Pan Pacific Defence Corps (PPDC) at the behest of half-sister Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi). There, he reunites with friend and rival pilot Nate Lambert (Scott Eastwood), vies with him for the affections of Jules (Adria Arjona), mentors scrappy teenager Amara (Cailee Spaeney), and grudgingly but instinctively throws himself back in the fray when the world is threatened by a new breed of Kaiju.

    This new breed of Kaiju comes via a clever twist on the parts of director Steven S. DeKnight, Emily Carmichael, Kira Snyder, and T.S. Nowlin, who nevertheless confirm that it takes a whole lot of people to craft truly generic material. Not only does Uprising come off as a copy of a copy of a copy of Pacific Rim, it skews closer to the mind-numbing soullessness of the Transformers films. Del Toro didn’t exactly create fully dimensional characters in Pacific Rim; they were stereotypes at best, but they were strongly defined and, compared to Uprising’s figures, never felt formulaic. With Uprising, one can almost hear the studio and screenwriters ticking boxes: independent and self-reliant teenage girl, check; blandly handsome Ken doll, check; Asian actors to appeal to the Chinese market, check, check and check.

    All of which is why one is hugely grateful to Boyega, whose enthusiasm is so infectious that he almost compensates for the rest of the film, not to mention Eastwood’s wooden and lacklustre presence.

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