John Boyega in a promotional shot for “Pacific Rim: Uprising.” The sequel to 2013’s worldwide hit is bound to upset “America First” supporters with its international agenda.
Studio: Universal (1hr. 51min.)
Plot: Jake Pentecost, son of Stacker Pentecost, reunites with Mako Mori to lead a new generation of Jaeger pilots, including rival Lambert and 15-year-old hacker Amara, against a new Kaiju threat.
Cast: John Boyega, Scott Eastwood, Cailee Spaeny, Tian Jing, Rinko Kikuchi, Burn Gorman
Bottom Line: ****
By Jon Rutledge
Ten years have passed since Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba) sacrificed his life to close the breach and keep the rampaging Kaiju in their own dimension. His son, Jake Pentecost (John Boyega) has chosen a different path, one that has him living off his profits from the black marketeering of stolen Jaeger parts. Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi), Stacker’s adopted daughter is now commands the Pan-Pacific Defense Corp (PPDC) following in her father’s footsteps. Jake, having been caught by the police, has a choice go to prison or help his sister train Jaeger pilots.
It’s rare that a popcorn film has the perfect balance of action, humor and emotion. The film checks all the right boxes needed to make it a good film. You have giant robots fight each other, and fighting Kaiju. You have heroic figures taking on unsurmountable odd. You have twist and turns and just enough humor to lighten the mood without being schticky. Fans of the first film are going to love the second one. The first film seemed like a test to see if people could get behind the premise, this one knows what it’s doing and build a great foundation to launch a franchise on.
John Boyega has a good grasp of this character as he fills each scene with charm. He has the humor hero role down pat. They introduced a new character, a scraper who has some talent with Jaegers, Amara Namani (Cailee Spaeny), who holds her own on the screen against Boyega’s charisma. They play well of each other. Charly Day reprises his role of Dr. Newton Geiszler from the first film as well as Dr. Herman Gottlieb played by Burn Gorman. They have a good comedic chemistry, glad they are back.
The director (Steven S. DeKnight) has been tied to some of my favorite television shows. The Netflix version of Daredevil, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel to name a few. With a resume of great shows, it’s no wonder that this film has a clear understanding of its premise and executes it well. It is great to see him launch onto the big screen. John Boyega also served as one of the producers of the film. In an i09 interview DeKnight talks about the influence Boyega had on the climatic battle scene.
You could compare this to the first Transformers movie. It too showed promise and made the right choses with its story action balance. I hope they don’t lose sight of what makes this film good. Maybe it’s not a good comparison? The differences between the films are in the fight scenes, in transformers you can hardly tell who is fighting whom and you don’t know how your hero is doing until the end of the battle. Pacific rim is just slow enough and the combatants are different enough you can follow the fight. The other problem is the Transformers movies started to slide too much to the humor side and lost its way.
I am excited to see they are looking to launch more, this is just what the big screen needs. This is a fun ride that will sweep you away and make you forget the troubles of your world while you enjoy the troubles of theirs. IF you go into the theater looking for a kick ass giant robot fighting giant monsters movie, you won’t be disappointed.
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April 1 - April 14, 2018