Pacific Rim Uprising takes place a decade after the events of the 2013 movie where, in the Battle of the Breach Stacker, Pentecost (Idris Elba) sacrificed himself to stop the Kaiju from their onslaught on our world.
Ten years later, the threat of the Kaiju has gone (for now) but the world prepares for another onslaught, building more jaegers (big roboty things) and studying their foes should they return. While the nations of the world rebuild and work together, the people in the areas most affected struggle to get by.
Dr Newt Geiszler (Charlie Day) and Dr Hermann Gotlieb (Burn Gorman) reprise their roles from the original as researches in to the Kaiju while Scott Eastwood as a hard and by the books marine, John Boyega as son of Stacker and former jaeger pilot join the franchise along with Cailee Spaeny as a young mechanic/fighter/engineer/kid with attitude.
Of course the Kaiju, sent by their masters the alien race known as the Precursors, return to wreak havoc and try to make Earth their own.
The biggest problem with Uprising is the fact it becomes essentially a teen movie straight out of the Hunger Games or Divergent playbook with a bit of Power Rangers thrown into the mix. The original had a more grown up kind of vibe to it. Yes, it sounds stupid saying that. But De Toro, clearly inspired by anime and Godzilla, put his familiar style on a film about big robots and big monsters as much as he could; it really helped set an interesting tone and made Pacific Room a bit more than a bog standard action blockbuster.
Uprising though seems to be far more basic and perhaps aimed at a broader and younger audience. Doing that, it just means it loses any originality and identity.
There are positives though; mainly the cast. John Boyega and Cailee Spaeny are both very good. As the son of the heroic Stacker Pentecost, Boyega brings humour, charm and likability and works well with Spaeny who takes on the role of cocky youth from a troubled past. If this was a Hunger Games-type movie, those two would be a near perfect duo. The support cast, including a few returning characters, are on form and worthy of a better film, you can see they are trying and having fun with it.
The film fails in too many areas to be really enjoyable. The run time is short but at points I was waiting for it to end, and there is a lack of action until the final act which goes in to overdrive without being really engrossing.
Pacific Rim Uprising is a disappointment, which is a shame considering how good and interesting the original was. The sequel is ultimately forgettable and I was more interested in some of the trailers.
I’m not waiting for the next in the series. However, given the box office success, it seems having more Pacific Rim will be a formality.