Pacific Rim Uprising: The Mech Battle of the Century

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Published April 19, 2018
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The Montclarion
Actor John Boyego stars as Jake Pentecost in "Pacific Rim: Uprising."

Prepare yourself for some robotic mayhem because “Pacific Rim Uprising” definitely delivers that over-the-top spectacle.

Written and directed by Steven S. DeKnight, this film is one of the biggest and most recent science fiction films to hit theaters. It is the sequel to Guillermo Del Toro’s 2013 film, “Pacific Rim,” which delivered exciting mechanic-on-monster mayhem with strong characters played by an impressive cast.

“Pacific Rim Uprising” focuses on the aftermath of planet Earth being attacked by giant monsters called Kaiju, which means “monster” in Japanese. The humans use giant humanoid machines called Jaegers to fight the monsters. The film follows a group of prodigies trying to fight the Kaijus. Their generation believes that the threat was eliminated after the initial invasion, but they realized that it was just the precursor to something worse.

Promotional Poster .jpg

“Promotional Poster for Director Steven S. DeKnight’s robotic mayhem film ‘Pacific Rim: Uprising'”
Photo courtesy of Fandango

What DeKnight did with this film felt strange. He turned the story into a brand that revolves around Jaeger and Kaiju causing destruction and not much more. DeKnight does not have much film experience and has a background in television working on shows like “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Daredevil.”

The supporting cast is relatively weaker in this film than it was in the first one. Minor conflicts were thrown around in the film, but they were never followed up with. So, in other words, there is no strong reason to care about them. John Boyega’s portrayal of Jake made him a likable character with an interesting charismatic presence. However, the most interesting character in the group was Amara, played by Cailee Spaeny, who is shown with impressive talents and a charming personality. Spaeny and Boyega both gave very respectable performances, which can not be said for the other cast members in the film.

Additionally, the film also pays homage to previous anime series that had robotic battles, like “Gundam.” But with that anime series, the focus isn’t solely placed on the mechanic battles. Shows like “Gundam” pay tribute to the horror and pain of war. Those storylines make the series good, while the mechanic battles were just the icing on the cake. This is important because both “Pacific Rim” films are meant to be tributes to those anime shows.

“Pacific Rim Uprising” understands how to present watchable and entertaining action sequences combined with some impressive special effects, but it did not have a powerful enough storyline to back up the action. It tried too hard to be a brand as if it was desperately trying to be like the next “Transformers.” It was like having a cake but with only the icing.

The film also had many moments that were unintentionally comedic, which were mostly attributed to the writing of the characters. An example is Charlie Day’s character. He was meant to have a serious role, but his performance was difficult to take seriously.

At the theater, people were laughing at his performance. That just shows that someone from “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” will not cut it as a villain. The audience laughed more during those scenes than the film’s intentionally comedic moments. It is just that embarrassing.

This film is an example of a director only relying on the action and not the actual story itself. It is worth watching if you are interested in seeing giant mechanic battles or if you just want to have a good laugh or two.

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