Review: Pacific Rim: Uprising

Are you into gigantic robots? Are you into gigantic monsters? Are you into gigantic robots and gigantic monsters fighting? Do you love perplexing plot points? If so, Pacific Rim: Uprising is the movie for you.

The long awaited sequel to 2013’s Pacific Rim is finally here. In a film overstuffed with unnecessary storylines and science that isn’t explained, Pacific Rim: Uprising is grounded by John Boyega – he plays Jake Pentacost – the son of jaeger pilot/world hero Stacker Pentacost (Idris Elba).

The story picks up 10 years after the “Battle of the Breach”. There hasn’t been a kaiju sighting since the breach closed, but the world has changed. We find our protagonist, Jake, stealing jaeger parts and constantly getting in trouble. After a run-in with another thief named Amara (Caliee Spaeny), the two end up in jail. In lieu of jail time, Jake’s sister Mako (Rinko Kikuchi) offers the two criminals a deal – Jake rejoins the jaeger program as an instructor and Amara enlist as a cadet.

Meanwhile, the jaeger program is being threatened by the Shao Corporation, a group that wants the use drone jaegers instead of human pilots. Wouldn’t you know, things go wrong at the event and the breach is reopened. Jake and his group of young cadets must save the world again from the new kaiju invasion.

Pacific Rim: Uprising is a little bit  good and a lot of “meh”.  The good…John Boyega. He’s really coming into his own as a star. He’s charismatic, funny, and has an incredibly strong presence. Boyega jumps out whenever he’s onscreen. He is the only thing that gives this story a heartbeat. Boyega carries the film and makes it entertaining despite some of the terrible dialogue and ridiculous plot.

The meh….where to start. First, Scott Eastwood is being Scott Eastwood once again. I’m not sure if he has another gear, but he’s really good at being Scott Eastwood in every single movie he’s in. His scenes could’ve been deleted scenes from Suicide Squad, The Fate of the Furious, or The Longest Ride.

The most meh part of the film is the so called plot that goes in a bunch of different directions and ultimately ends up going nowhere. The twist leading into the third act is unnecessary and doesn’t add anything to the plot. I’m sure it sounded clever on paper, but man doesn’t it it really fall falt.  It ’s a plot twist for the sake of having a plot twist because that’s what sequels do, and why a lot of them don’t work.

The acting leaves a lot to be desired (Not you Boyega). The young cadet group isn’t bad, they aren’t given much to do but have a few petty one-liners. There’s no reason to care about of these kids putting their lives in danger because the film spends very little time with them.  Give these kids something to do, or don’t have them in the film.

2013’s Pacific Rim was all about “drift compatibility” and how polits have to work together to survive. Well, all of that is tossed out the window. They’re putting pilots together like 2-for-1 appetizers at Applebees – no rhyme or reason, just throwing things together. This may seem like simple thing to overlook, but drift compatibility was the heart of the first film.

Some of the head spinning plot is saved by the jaeger on monster action. Those scenes are fun and full of energy. The third act is a fun live action anime. It has all the action people want to see in a Pacific Rim movie.

Pacific Rim: Uprising is fun in spurts, but is ultimately a waste of John Boyega’s talents. He gives an A+ performance in a film that doesn’t utilize him as much as they should. The film suffers from what a lot of sequels suffer from – it’s more interested in being a sequel to something people liked than actually telling an interesting story.

Grade: C