Thumbs up or thumbs down? Simple, spoiler free reviews.
Pacific Rim: Uprising is a 2018 science fiction action film directed by Steven S. DeKnight. It is the sequel to Pacific Rim, with original director Guillermo del Toro serving as a producer. The sequel stars John Boyega as Jake Pentecost, a once-promising Jaeger pilot whose legendary father gave his life to secure humanities victory against the monstrous Kaiju. He has since abandoned his own training and is now trading stolen Jaeger tech in a criminal underworld. But when an even more unstoppable threat is unleashed on the world, Jake is given one last chance to live up to his father’s legacy. Scott Eastwood, Cailee Spaeny, Jing Tian, Charlie Day and Burn Gormanl also star.
I enjoyed the first film, it was the right kinds of dumb. Big robots fighting big monsters, whats not to love? I mean yes, it wasn’t actually very good but it was fun. A lot of fun!
The sequel is…not as good? It’s certainly not the worst film I’ve ever seen, however it wasn’t as good as the original and felt a little bit meaningless. It felt like a franchise that had lost its charm.
Big robots fighting big monsters? Yeah that’s cool, but you’ve shown me the same thing before.
As with many sequels, Pacific Rim 2 struggles to re-position itself to be ready for a second movie. I don’t think it did that job very well, old characters written out and new characters struggling to settle. It certainly didn’t help that Charlie Hunnam couldn’t return due to scheduling conflicts with King Arthur: Legend of the Sword – which for the record is a terrible film. Idris Elba couldn’t return for obvious reasons, while Rinko Kikuchi barely appears. There’s no Ron Perlman either.
This basically means that other than some of the supporting cast, they had to start the franchise again but with new lead characters. Which is always a little awkward. Granted Boyega is lots of fun, he holds this together using sheer charisma and charm. He’s actually a better lead than Hunnam ever was if I’m honest with you. If he wasn’t in this film, it would have even less going for it. I would have loved to see him and Idris Elba together as father and son in the original rather than popping up later as part of a previously never mentioned pre-existing family. The rest of the new cast, while not awful, just kind of tag along for the ride.
The real problem that this film suffers from is that while the first outing was big, loud and dumb it was still really fun. This sequel, as I’ve already mentioned, has a ‘been there before, seen it already’ vibe. It’s just as big, just as loud, just as dumb but felt empty.
There is a twist in this movie that was hidden from all of the trailers (that I’ve seen at least), which is awesome. I love it when trailers don’t give the whole film away and it happens far too much these days. The twist itself however, I hated. It really derailed my interest, already lacking, from the film in its poorness.
Ultimately, Pacific Rim: Uprising is average at best and despite a few moments it cannot and does not match up to its predecessor. There are plans, depending on this films success, to turn it into a much larger franchise. Following the Star Wars template of main films and spin offs. I’m not saying it can’t do that, I’m just saying it needs to be a hell of a lot better to do that.
Still, it’s a hell of a lot better than Transformers.