FILM REVIEW: Pacific Rim: Uprising

If you’re expecting scripted exchanges parallel to Hamlet or Macbeth, you’re probably in the wrong cinema screen. If, however you are expecting to see giant massive robots fighting humongous monsters interspersed by dialogue that doesn’t get in the way of the carnage…I’ve got news for you: you’re probably going to have a good couple of hours.

This film is, for want of a more adventurous word, really fun.

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Our first journey around the rim left us licking our lips for more,  as Guillermo del Toro’s creations smashed the world and left us wishing for a ‘not-so-final ending’. It left the question, would we ever see another rim, Pacific or otherwise? The closing of the breach (from the first film) allowed the gargantuan monstrosities to cross into our universe seemed final, so how would they manage to get through a second time? Therein was the issue the writers had to address. I am happy to report, they managed it and they managed it well. It’s crazy and built on absolute insanity but it really works and is actually fairly believable (In a world inhabited by Jaegers and Kaiju anyway.)

Years after the war has ended humanity is as divided as ever,  with the haves and have-nots still existing and at absolute extremes.  Jake Pentecost (John Boyega) the never mentioned son of Stacker Pentecost (formerly played by Idris Elba), lives in the have-not’s part of town and exists on his wits, hustling his way to whatever he needs. With the war over, big scores often come from raiding the decommissioned Jaeger yards for tech that is very valuable on the black market. As with any technology, the iron giants are being copied. The Jaegers Masters are not happy that their tech is being copied and low level mechanics are building their own Machines for their own needs.  The world is now a defensive fortress and built to hopefully put up more of fight than it had previously, with Jaegers still all over the globe in strategic positions to defend if the unthinkable happens and they are needed once again.

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So with the Jaeger program continuing worldwide, even with the threat of Kaiju eliminated, the guardians now fill a more authoritarian role, tackling the illegal machines and the pilots that build them.  The program has expanded somewhat and has a new division for taking the best and brightest children and training them to drift with each other should they need to be called to action. Companies are bidding to partner the program and there are sinister people the world over that would like a piece of the Jaeger Pie, or Kaiju Cake if you prefer. The question is: who do we trust?

Returning Characters are always great in a sequel, Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi), Dr Newton Geiszler (Charlie Day) Dr Gottieb (Burn Gorman) all reprise their roles and have their own ambitions and drives and along with the new cast they play off each other wonderfully. There are twists and turns that I really didn’t expect, assuming the plot would be more like a monorail. There are narrative story stops we need to go to in a particular order, but in Pacific Rim: Uprising it feels like you could end up at a very different place by the conclusion.

The budget lends well to the massive scale and sheer size of the fight scenes that aren’t too quick or blurry which is a criticism that has been thrown at other Robot beat’em ups. The Jaegers for the most part are beautiful to look at, but an issue I have is that they simply don’t have enough screen time. It’s an easy film to follow and the beauty of it is in that simplicity. There’s no over complicated plot and or script and the near 2 hours run time zips by.

I really enjoyed it but the box office doesn’t lie… so we’ll see if this becomes a smash or ends up being another Rim Job.

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REVIEW BY MIKE PRIME

 

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