Five years ago, Guillermo Del Toro crafted a visually stunning slap-fight between monsters from another world and monstrosities from the world of men. Pacific Rim not only featured visual effects of the highest caliber but a plot that was easy enough to understand and really made the tension of the plot palpable and the balance between the film’s aesthetics and the narrative was enough for me to call Pacific Rim a success.
The way Pacific Rim ended, I thought that was a suitable end to the story but does anything made in Hollywood really end? I didn’t think so, hence Pacific Rim: Uprising was born. Steven S. DeKnight takes over for Del Toro in the sequel which takes place 10 years after the events of the first film.
Pacific Rim: Uprising follows Jake Pentecost, son of the legendary Stacker Pentecost, as he is wrangled back into the Jaeger Program after a run-in with the law. With the time of war with the Kaiju in the rearview, the Jaeger Program may be experiencing changes from the up-and-coming Shao Corporation but a new threat in a rogue Jaeger may throw the peace which the previous generation of Jaeger pilots fought and died for, out of the window and Jake must finally live-up to his father’s legacy and stand on the front lines to face this coming storm.
In the opening minutes of Pacific Rim: Uprising, Jakes makes it perfectly clear that he is no Stacker Pentecost. By the time the film is over, it is abundantly clear that Pacific Rim: Uprising is nothing like the first film. Suffice to say that the Jaeger Uprising ends in nothing but unmitigated disaster.
Going into this movie, I tried to hold out hope that this could reinvigorate my admiration for the first film and not be another unnecessary Hollywood sequel with no purpose whatsoever but as the film progressed and I was eagerly waiting for it to end, I felt whatever hope I had for this film die, minute by minute.
I was subjected to a boring and shoddily constructed plot that was devoid of humor, wit or originality, visual effects that paled in comparison to the first film and the fact that Pacific Rim did not need a sequel.
Steven S. DeKnight and his writing team, Emily Carmichael, Kira Snyder and T.S. Nowlin, tried (and failed) to spark a franchise from a solid sci-fi action flick. As Jake is no Stacker Pentecost, Steven S. DeKnight is no Guillermo Del Toro; DeKnight just perverts and degrades an original story with appeal and turns it into something pitiful.
The cast is made of good performers but they suffer from this weak story. John Boyega, Scott Eastwood, Cailee Spaeny, Tian Jing, Jin Zhang, Adria Ajorna, Karan Brar, Wesley Wong, Ivanna Sakhno, Mackenyu, Lily Ji all come together to infuse some new life in the world of this film and it is nice to see Rinko Kikuchi, Burn Gorman and Charlie Day return but their talents are just utterly wasted in this film.
There isn’t much to say about Dan Mindel’s cinematography, Dylan Highsmith, Josh Schaeffer and Zach Staenberg’s editing, Stefan Dechant’s production design, Lorne Balfe’s music, Lizz Wolf’s costume design, the art direction or the set decoration. The overall production just felt so cheap compared to the original film.
Pacific Rim: Uprising was dead on arrival for me. I tried and really wanted it to succeed but I just knew that there was no way this movie could cancel the apocalypse again.