Readers: by now you know me. I am the watcher of terrible movies, the lover of the mass-produced, the lowest of lowest common denominators. Hell, you don’t even have to pay me to watch ‘League of Extraordinary Gentleman’ - that’s just my average Sunday afternoon. Seemingly ‘Pacific Rim Uprising’ should be licking all the boxes - so why was I left so unsatisfied?
Imagine this - a world set ten years after the events of ‘Pacific Rim’ where a new breed of Jaeger (big giant robots) pilot are being trained. Enter Jake Pentecost (John Boyega, 'Star Wars' franchise), the son of Stacker Pentercost (Idris Elba from the first film), who is a rebel living in his father's shadow desperate to prove himself. They use giant robots to fight giant alien monsters; the end.
My feelings for the first twenty or so minutes of ‘Pacific Rim Uprising’ were actually quite high. They seemed to be playing with the form established in the first film, even briefly outlining what actually happened in it. But then the guts and plot of this (attempted) giant of a film began to prolapse at an alarming rate. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t expect much from a plot in an action film like this, but when plot points seemingly contradict each other as well as the very laws of nature, you have to wonder if anyone actually said, “We sure about this?”
John Boyega has literally put his money where his mouth is in this film, as both producer and lead, but it really just feels like a poor decision after something as strong and iconic as the 'Star Wars' franchise. He isn’t terrible, but there is a scene where he attempts to give an Idris Elba-type rousing speech and ends up yelling “Do you understand!?” so many times that it feels like he’s talking to us the audience members, both about his decision to be in the film and our willingness to watch it.
I don’t expect much from a plot in an action film like this, but when plot points seemingly contradict each other and the very laws of nature, you have to wonder if anyone actually said, “We sure about this?”
One of us understands (it’s not me).
But for all its faults, there are a couple of things ‘Pacific Rim Uprising’ gets right. There are some moments where the attempted humour is quite fun. I particularly enjoyed the scene set in Sydney where they destroy a bunch of buildings that I actually recognise (this must be what New Yorkers feel like!) and feeling like I was finally watching a ‘Power Rangers’ movie set in my home town. The supporting cast of Charlie Day, Scott Eastwood and Rinko Kikuchu do as good a job as they can with what they have to work with and Day certainly has the most, but it still leaves you wondering about so many of the odd decisions that were made. The 3D is also quite good, but that’s sort of expected.
Sadly, you are left sorely disappointed. At just under two hours, ‘Pacific Rim Uprising’ is, much like a rusty trombone, a one-note film, and even then the note is out of key. I really wanted to like it. I promise you I did. But I walked away disappointed, shaking my head and massaging my eyes that had been rolling for about one and a half hours.