Pacific Rim: Uprising is the 2018 sequel to the original Pacific Rim (2013), and similarly features giant mechs fighting massive sci-fi creatures. Unlike the original movie, Pacific Rim: Uprising is directed and written by Steven S. DeKnight, instead of Guillermo del Toro
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Pacific Rim: Uprising Review
The original movie was an entertaining mix of sci-fi, horror, and classic monster movie. Pacific Rim: Uprising amps up the action in predictable modern Hollywood fashion, adding more CGI and explosions. Unfortunately, it struggles to replicate the charm or personality of the original movie, coming off as cheap and unnecessary.
The story of Uprising takes place ten years after the original movie and follows Jake Pentecost (John Boyega), an obnoxious action-hero who lives in squalor following the events of Pacific Rim. Despite the major destruction of notable United States cities, Jake seems to thrive in the chaos, living in the streets and between the lines.
He lives in the shadow of his military father, who gave his life in the war against the giant monsters a decade prior. Early on, while attempting to repair a human-piloted mech known as a Jaeger, Jake runs into a young and eccentric hacker named Amara (Cailee Spaeny). Before long, the duo are thrust into a military cadet training camp, where Jake trains Amara to become a Jaeger pilot.
The story is mostly straightforward, and while it features some characters from the original Pacific Rim, retains none of the heart. The “soldier in training” plot of Amara is serviceable, and Jake gets some occasional character development as he deals with an old-time rival at the camp named Lambert (Scott Eastwood).
The first half of the film spends a lot of time attempting to develop the characters and establish a compelling plot, but it all feels incredibly ham-fisted and uninspired. The actors constantly battle with the outrageous script, which ultimately tarnishes the image of the original movie.
Where Pacific Rim felt evocative and inventive, Uprising feels mechanical and cash-grabby. In both story and scope, Uprising feels a lot like a Michael Bay-directed Transformers movie.
Towards the end of the film, the action predictably picks up, resulting in bombastic fights between the aforementioned Jaegers and otherworldly monsters. These massive battles have a definite sense of scope, and at their best, feel like high-tech Godzilla battles on steroids.
Unfortunately, the fights have a tendency to go on for too long, and the action ends up feeling just as drawn out as the plot. On a technical level, the action sequences between mech and monster are quite impressive, but they lack any emotional weight or consequence.
Ultimately, Pacific Rim: Uprising feels like a standard Hollywood cash-in. It’s a sequel to a movie that didn’t need a sequel, and its tone and atmosphere couldn’t be more different from the first movie. Instead of being dark and mysterious, Uprising is bright and obnoxious.
The overall plot is functional, but it struggles to make sense and ultimately ruins a few of the returning characters. The end of the movie is jam-packed with CGI action that is sure to catch your attention but will struggle to keep it. It’s not a terrible movie, but it’s surely disappointing and unsatisfying.
- Watching giant mechs fight huge monsters is still a lot of fun, even when it's repetitive
- The CGI is technically impressive, and the movie makes decent use of color
- The script is weak and at times, laughable
- New characters are uninspired and boring, and old characters aren't given proper justice
- Even the action can feel hollow and repetitive, despite its large-scale appeal