Pacific Rim Uprising Review: Tainted Spectacle with Weightless Jaegers

Jordan Samuel Jordan Samuel
Expert Contributor
March 20th, 2018

Content Editor, Film Critic and Writer for ComiConverse.com, the Founder and co-host of the official Nerdcast Network Podcast


Reviewed by:
Rating:
2
On March 20, 2018
Last modified:March 20, 2018

Summary:

A lack of cohesive storytelling and intriguing characters turn Pacific Rim: Uprising into a clumsy shadow of its former self, with no personality of its own.


Reviewed by:
Rating:

2
On March 20, 2018
Last modified:March 20, 2018

Summary:

A lack of cohesive storytelling and intriguing characters turn Pacific Rim: Uprising into a clumsy shadow of its former self, with no personality of its own.

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Pacific Rim: Uprising Review

Universal Pictures

Jake Pentecost is a once-promising Jaeger pilot whose legendary father gave his life to secure humanity's victory against the monstrous Kaiju. Jake has since abandoned his training only to become caught up in a criminal underworld. But when an even more unstoppable threat is unleashed to tear through cities and bring the world to its knees, Jake is given one last chance by his estranged sister, Mako Mori, to live up to his father's legacy.

Pacific Rim surprised many back in 2013, with an inspired look into Japanese monster “Kaiju” flicks and one epic storyline that focused on giant mechs fighting against evil. It did not change the cinema as many just weren’t bothered about fighting robots, especially after the disastrous Transformers series lost all hope in these epic monster clashes. Instead, it found cult status and among many was acclaimed for its fun take on a dying formula in western cinema.

Years after the release, it seems that Universal Pictures is taking another crack at the franchise with the Star Wars actor John Boyega aiming the Mech Suit. Not many are excited about the project, but perhaps this will be the one which catches us by surprise in the wait for Avengers: Infinity War. But does it work? Or just show how much audiences have changed in the absence? Find out as we delve into the works of Pacific Rim: Uprising.

Guillermo del Toro’s original Pacific Rim had a heart in every element from the powerful action scenes to pulse pumping Soundtrack, but sadly the sequel entirely forgets what made it such a great 2013 summer flick. Unfortunately, newcomer Steven S. DeKnight (Daredevil) just cannot top the heights seen in the former instead relies on poorly directed spectacle and needless connections for an MCU styled universe. Uprising just lacks the tact seen in 2013, trying too hard in making audiences grasp for air - alienating any room for original characters. I wanted to like this approach but just came out feeling drained a feeling that should never happen from a Godzilla-inspired Kaiju film.

Story continues below

Pacific Rim: Uprising is set ten years after the original, with the Jaeger robots now used for police work against criminals. Earth’s prior enemy, the Kaiju (sea creatures) have all but despaired from earth, but of course, in real sequel fashion, they weren’t dead. It’s up to a group of young Jaeger robots lead by presuming actor John Boyega to defeat the returning threat.

Universal Pictures

The plot might sound exciting but is nothing more than a pointless retreading of the original story - filling in gaps which should have been left alone. DeKnight sadly just cannot allow himself to be creative, due to being tied to explaining Jake Pentecost (Boyega) fathers place in the Pacific Rim universe (that sounds so wrong). While the new characters are beautiful enough, with John Boyega providing a strong performance everyone just feels hollow with little to no development. I wanted to fall in love with Jake Pentecost (John Boyega) and Amara (Caliee Spaeny) but instead felt disconnected from their adventure within Jaeger Academy.

The absence of Charlie Hunnaman is felt in the scenes with Moka More, with Jake Pentecost's connection to his adopted sister handling rushed and hollow. DeKnight doesn’t find a way in making their relationship flow, making it feel almost unearned when the emotional fight scenes take place. Nate (Scott Eastwood) is another defective part of Pacific Rim: Uprising, who feels out of place among the personality-driven Jake Pentecost (John Boyega). He also shares a pointless love triangle with Jeager mechanic Jules (Adria Arjona) - something that feels out of place among the warfare.

Despite, the apparent issues with tonal balance and characters Pacific Rim: Uprising offers some great visuals. That pops in IMAX 3D - as battles look immensely beautiful with vivid colors. But, that is not all audiences are treated to a great soundtrack which follows in the previous outings footsteps making each battle pack the oomph needed on sound systems across the country. More of these scenes could have made a fantastic sequel, but the lack of cohesive storytelling and compelling characters turn Pacific Rim into a well of disappointing results. Guillemero's presence is missed and in turn makes this a generic action film, without the needed charm.

Pacific Rim: Uprising

  • 2
A lack of cohesive storytelling and intriguing characters turn Pacific Rim: Uprising into a clumsy shadow of its former self, with no personality of its own.

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