Cailee SpaenyJohn Boyega...
Action & AdventureScience Fiction
Steven S. DeKnight
In 1 Cinema
Giant robots fighting one another, buildings collapsing like Legos, and giant dinosaur-like creatures on the loose with an aim to destroy the world all in amazing 3D graphics. Sounds cool ha? It is, but that’s all it is.
Pacific Rim: Uprising is the sequel to Guillermo Del Toro’s 2013 film Pacific Rim. Del Toro did not come back for the sequel, instead it was directed by Steven S.Denight, and it was very obvious that this wasn’t a Del Toro movie; it was obvious because the sequel film was home to a lot more robot-punching action, and a lot less characterization/character development, than its older counterpart.
The sequel is set ten years after the war, which was featured in the older film. Jake Pentecost (John Boyega), son of Stacker (Idris Alba) who had died saving the world in the previous film, is currently enjoying a party animal/scavenger life: he parties all night and scavenges for Jaeger robot parts to sell in the morning. Jake gets himself arrested after an encounter with scrapper Amara Namani (Cailee Spaeny), and they both head to jail. Jake eventually returns to training Jaeger pilots, with Amara being his first recruit. For the rest of the film, Jake and his partner Lambert (Scott Eastwood) fight rogue Jaegars, and wild Kaijus, alongside the cadets.
Plot wise, the film is not that complex: slacking son of hero realizes he is a hero himself and saves the world, oh and there are a bunch of cool robot fight scenes, and dinosaur-like creatures too. The setup for this film, whether established by its predecessor or by this film’s very own opening scenes, paves the way for a film that is anything but plot-shallow. The film, however, proceeds to disappoint. Yes, the fights scenes are awesome, no argument here, but other than that there really isn’t much to the film.
The second problem with this film has to be its script. The script lacks any form of character development, and is home to several, briefly and abruptly placed, forced personal moments. John Boyega employs his charm to the utmost as Jake Pentecost, but not even his most cynical nor his most hilariously sarcastic comments can redeem the script. Jake as a character was relatable and definitely memorable, all thanks to Boyega himself, but whenever the script interfered with its cliché lines, it was over. Boyega’s witty and cynical personality would have been much better served had the script appropriately developed Jake’s character.
The rest of the cast members somehow fade into the background. Scott Eastwood was a one trick pony: we get it you are tough, strong, and hot, but please just use another facial expression. Cailee Spaeny, however, was the most damaged by the script; the script did not create any room for her character to develop outside the context of the little sister/big brother dynamic taking place between her and Boyega. The cadets were barely memorable, again due to the script. Charlie Day returned as Dr. Newton Geiszler with a new twist, one that really did not suit his on-screen persona.
The film’s trailer promised epic fight scenes, giant robots, and wild creatures, and to that extent the film delivered. So if you want a mindless 100 minutes, and you enjoy watching robot fight sequences, this film is for you; however, if you are looking for elements like well-developed characters, and a great plot line, this film is definitely not for you.