#REVIEW: “PACIFIC RIM UPRISING”
Review by George Kozera for Mr. Will Wong
Five years ago, we saw from Guillermo del Toro his Toronto-made opus, Pacific Rim ehich left us giddy with excitement. Monsters and robots and spies…oh my! “Pacific Rim” made me a better, more inclusive moviegoer for, in the past, I would always frown upon the idea of spending time in the dark watching high-concept, popcorn-fueled extravagance. Pacific Rim among others, changed all that!
PACIFIC RIM UPRISING continues the story ten years after the original. Jake, played by John Boyega (Star Wars), is the son of tragic hero Stacker Pentecost, played in its Predecessor by Idris Elba in the first Movie. Jake is forced back to the military to assist Lambert (Scott Eastwood, Clint’s son) train teenaged cadets to control robots called Jaegars to combat giant lizards, Kaiju. In the meantime, a Chinese company developed a new type of Jaegar that does not need to be driven by humans…you see, the soon-to-be obsolete Jaegars need two humans inside the robot (who perform the tasks like they are competing in the Dance Dance Revolution arcade game of yore) to manipulate the giant robots. All this eventually leads to a battle with manned Jaegars, unmanned Jaegars and Kaijus leaking Gatorade electric blue secretions.
PACIFIC RIM UPRISING will appeal to hard core fans of franchises like “Transformers”. The pace is hyperkinetic, if inconsistent. Buildings fall in a symphony of destruction. The teenaged cadets are enthusiastic and heroic. The Plot convolutions are so that you can’t tell the good guys from the bad guys (mirroring modern Washington DC). John Boyega has a powerful screen presence and I appreciated that he tried to find the same lilt in his voice that Idris Elba has. Scott Eastwood is a spitting image of his father when he was younger. Cailee Spaeny, as Amara (the spunkiest of the cadets because, not only did she build her own Jaegar from leftover scraps as we see when the Movie starts, she also has a tragic backstory) – an Ellen Page vibe about her. Hers is an impressive introduction.
What PACIFIC RIM UPRISING really needed is the love that del Toro has for monsters and robots and spies. Directed by Steven S. DeKnight, known primarily for TV work, he follows a tried and true methodology, laced with many clichés both visual and verbal when fans of the first Film deserved a bit more.
Universal Pictures Canada release PACIFIC RIM UPRISING Friday, March 23, 2018.