Thursday, March 29, 2018

[Review] Pacific Rim Uprising

A Pacific Rim sequel? With no Guillermo del Toro as director? This film was destined to be a blockbuster bummer before it even smashed into theaters. But if I'm being generous, Pacific Rim Uprising at least provides a decent amount of goofy popcorn entertainment, even if it profoundly lacks the electric spark and awesome spectacle of its predecessor. The film is like haphazardly prepared leftovers that just aren't as tasty and crispy the second time around. That said, it's still easier to digest than recent counterparts like the Power Rangers reboot and Transformers: The Last Knight.

I'll keep things simple: John Boyega (Star Wars) leads the way here, playing the son of Idris Elba's character, who sacrificed himself at the end of Pacific Rim (in case your memory is foggy). Anyway, he teams up with a crew of trained/training Jaeger pilots, including the likes of Scott Eastwood and Cailee Spaeny to, yes -- beat the living crap out of some colossal monsters... eventually.

A lot of shenanigans and build-up take place before anyone actually pounds a metal fist into a monster, but at least those shenanigans are fairly watchable, especially with eccentric characters like Burn Gorman and Charlie Day on board. The crucial element here is the sense humor. This film never takes itself too seriously, and even with all the big objects and creatures stomping around, the tone is pretty light on its feet, which is a good call for a movie about mind-controlled robots fighting Kaiju that look like a mix between super dinosaurs and mutant cockroaches. There's a ridiculous sequence where John Boyega's Jaeger takes a dive-bomb from the stratosphere, and you just have to go with it.

But even with its bright spots, Pacific Rim Uprising can't help but feel like an unnecessary sequel in the shadow of Guillermo del Toro's gleeful rock'em-sock'em extravaganza. But hey, it's only about an hour and 40 minutes long, so it doesn't feel like a HUGE waste of time... And of course there's a bit of robot fatigue here, but the filmmakers seem to get it. At one point, Charlie Day's character goes "Giant robots? Real original, guys!"

( 5/10 )

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