Instigated by recent Academy Award-winner Guillermo del Toro in 2013, the robots vs. monsters universe of Pacific Rim is expanding with a sequel, helmed by first-time director Steven S. DeKnight, no one really asked for.
Out in theatre today, Pacific Rim Uprising features John Boyega as Jake Pentecost, son of Idris Elba’s character from the first installment, 10 years after the Battle of the Breach, during which daddy sacrificed himself to save the world from alien-engineered giant amphibious creatures.
In a story that feels more like an adrenalized reboot than a follow-up, Jake will lead a new generation of Jaeger (giant androids) pilots with the help of officer Nate Lambert (Scott Eastwood), Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi) and young trainee Amara Namani (Cailee Spaeny) to protect Earth from another monster invasion.
A Lot More Transformers-Like Action
As far as quality goes, it’s thanks to its spectacular fight scenes that the movie really engages. Many sequels tend to recycle what made their predecessor successful and double down on it, and Pacific Rim Uprising is no exception, if not a prime example of this foolish habit.
Stuffed with “competent, clanging CGI action,” Pacific Rim 2.0 is “sensational” once “giant machines are pummeling monsters.” But while it’s easily comparable to Michael Bay’s “atrocious” Transformers sequels, the film, however, steers clear from their “exhausting overkill,” although the movie’s second half “is so overstimulating that it might just push your shocked brain into stasis.”
Sadly, it rapidly all feels like “a numbingly endless orgy of smackdowns between giant phony-looking toys minus the gee-whiz grandeur that del Toro brought to it the first time around.” “If that’s what an audience is paying to see, the movie doesn’t shy away from the spectacle.”
But a Story and Characters Without Much Dimension
On the other hand, Pacific Rim Uprising is “a snooze when it’s focused on confusing human drama.” “Every moment of this film that doesn’t involve robot-action is a real struggle.” While the movie “tries to throw a plot twist here and there, the film feels like it was made by a committee.” “Even though, yes, we get more monsters and more robots,” storywise “it’s tough to detect any real tension.”
Among its “unmemorable group of heros” “behaving strangely only because the story dictates they must,” John Boyega is “the sole bright spot in this otherwise gloomy slog.” Although his character “is never more than a collection of clichés,” the British actor plays with “relaxed charm” the only role that “seems to have some spirit to him.”
“Even the characters that return from the previous film seem as if they have no idea what movie they are in, and the nonsensical story just tosses them around with little grace.” And as if this wasn’t enough, newcomer Scott Eastwood plays “a pathologically boring character who seems to exist only to call Jake a carefree rebel over and over again.”
Verdict: We all deserved better than a sequel that “doesn’t do anything to really justify its existence.”
Best quotes from the reviews:
“Scott Eastwood, especially, seems to have all the flavors of tap water.” – Alan Cerny, ComingSoon.com
“The first half of Pacific Rim Uprising is about as fun as a trip to the dentist. The second half, however, is a dizzying and delightful foray into enjoyable pandemonium. It’s like the laughing gas really kicks in.” – Jordan Hoffman, Vanity Fair
“I don’t know if I’d go so far as to say that Pacific Rim Uprising is drastically worse than the last two Transformers sequels. But the fact that it’s even a contest certainly isn’t a recommendation.” – Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly
“A semblance of stakes might make the whole thing a little more enjoyable.” – David Sims, The Atlantic