Pacific Rim Uprising Review

Pacific Rim: Uprising Poster #2

When Pacific Rim came out, many thought that the film would be a hit. After all, Guillermo del Toro directing a film that has giant monsters fighting giant robots is pretty awesome. Unfortunately, the film didn’t make a lot of money… At least, not enough that would’ve greenlit a sequel. But when Legendary struck a deal with Universal, the studio decided to revive the franchise. But is this the film that fans deserve or is it just a forgettable sequel?

While Pacific Rim is still a better film overall, Pacific Rim Uprising improves on certain key elements. First, Pacific Rim failed to deliver on the promise of giving audiences these epic mecha vs kaiju battles, but Pacific Rim Uprising delivers on that promise and delivers it in a big way. Not to mention, Uprising‘s leads are a major improvement as well. It’s just a shame that the film falls flat in everything else.

Pacific Rim Uprising follows Jake Pentecost several years after his father sacrificed his life to save humanity. Now, Jake must lead a new generation of Jaeger pilots from a new Kaiju threat that is rising from the shadows.

Pacific Rim Uprising - John Boyega

The biggest flaw that Pacific Rim had was that it didn’t have enough Jaegers vs. Kaiju action. After all, how can you have all these awesome looking Jaegers and destroy them so quickly? Thankfully, Steven S. DeKnight rectifies that with faster and more dynamic action sequences. With all of the advancements in Jaeger technology, the fight scenes mimic those in some DeKnight’s past work such as “Daredevil” and “Spartacus.” With this in mind, the entertainment value of Pacific Rim Uprising goes up significantly.

Even though DeKnight improves on the fight scenes, the film isn’t as pretty as the original film. There are several times where it looks and feels like a television series rather than a theatrical film. Ultimately, it’s just missing del Toro’s trademark visual flair.

Similarly, the storyline isn’t as good as one would like. First, the revelation of how the Kaijus were able to return to our world is a bit outlandish. Now, telling you why would be a bit of a spoiler. However, know that you’ll be left scratching your head and asking yourself why this happened. Additionally, you won’t find any sense of drama in the film as well. The filmmakers simply just traded in the drama for action and spectacle.

The film also crams a bunch of characters together but only a select few get the spotlight. Sadly, these few never really develop during the film. There’s just no character development at all in Uprising. Not to mention that the side characters are just one-note characters that randomly appear throughout the film. Be that as it may, the inclusion of these characters is a smart way to broaden the appeal of the film.

Pacific Rim Uprising - Scott Eastwood

Despite all of these issues, Pacific Rim Uprising was still enjoyable because of the efforts of its star, John Boyega. Boyega is a massive upgrade over Charlie Hunnam in a lot of departments. Unlike Hunnam, Boyega gives his character some personality. Not to mention, he’s incredibly charismatic and funny too. Maybe it’s due to Hunnam hiding his British accent and Boyega keeping his but the difference between their performances is noticeable.

Cailee Spaeny also shines as Amara, one of the new additions to the franchise. Luckily for her, Amara is the only character that is fully fleshed out throughout the film. As a result, she plays her character in a smart but vulnerable way. Scott Eastwood, on the other hand, is a bit forgettable as Nate Lambert, the other new addition to the franchise. Eastwood tries to do the best he can with the little he’s got but he’s unable to overcome those shortcomings.

As for the returning characters, it seems as if Burn Gorman and Charlie Day switch roles here. Burn Gorman manages to make us like his character more here than the first film. He also does more in this film than he does in the original. Sadly, Charlie Day gets the shaft here. Although he had a big part in the first film, he doesn’t have quite as big of a role in Uprising. As a matter of fact, you’ll begin to dislike his character as the film goes on.

Overall, Pacific Rim Uprising is an entertaining action-packed extravaganza. With Steven S. DeKnight at the helm, the Jaeger fights are truly fun to watch. The problem is that you won’t find a lot of substance to go along with those action scenes. That’s because the film is full of one-note characters and an outlandish storyline. However, if you’re willing to overlook those issues then you’re in for a hell of a time. It’s definitely better than you expected.

Rating: 3/5 atoms

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