Pacific Rim: Uprising (2018)
Starring: John Boyega, Scott Eastwood, Cailee Spaeny, Burn Gorman, Charlie Day, Tian Jing
Directed by: Steven S. DeKnight
Written by: Emily Carmichael, Kira Snyder, T.S. Nowlin, Steven S. DeKnight
Rating: PG-13 Running Time: 1 hr 51 min.
My 2 Cents:
On this trip to the movies I was joined by fellow geek, Craig. We had both seen and somewhat enjoyed the first Pacific Rim movie, and were hoping for more, big monster vs. robot fun.
Uprising picks up the story several years after the events in the first film and sets up Jake Pentecost (John Boyega) son of legendary Jaeger pilot, Stacker Pentecost (played by Idris Elba in the first movie) as our hero for the movie’s running time.
John Boyega and Scott Eastwood play Action Guy 1 and 2. Cailee Spaeny plays Feisty Hacker Girl and Burn Gorman plays Bumbling Brilliant Scientist. That is to say, this film is loaded with generic cookie-cutter characters that you’ve seen in a lot of action movies (see any Transformers flick). They are one-note, forgettable, and even a little boring. The rivalry between Action Guy 1 and 2 wasn’t really interesting and is quickly resolved. Action Guy 1’s daddy issues aren’t really explored all that much, and Feisty Hacker Girl’s tragic past is pretty much forgotten during the finale. Even the attempts at humor mostly fail too.
The script doesn’t give these barely formed ‘humans’ any story arcs to care about. Possibly because the film tries to deliver a convoluted plot rather than develop its characters, but also because (and more likely) nobody thought anyone would care. These details, however, are what separate the great monster movies from the merely good ones. Films like the original Jurassic Park or 1933’s King Kong were ground breaking big monster fun with a beating heart. Uprising is most certainly not one of those.
That aside, if the only goal here was to deliver monster/robot action and nothing else, Pacific Rim: Uprising, does check enough of the right boxes so as not to be a complete waste of time. It’s certainly something to see on the big screen that’s for sure. The Jaeger on Kaiju action is a blast to watch. The visual effects are great, the action is nicely staged, and the tech on display is creatively designed.
It’s perhaps not quite as interesting as the first film, but also not a disaster for the franchise. The action takes up most of the running time and is worth the price of a ticket. Just don’t expect to care or remember anything about it once you leave the theater.