"It’s Just Popcorn Fun"
What You Need To Know:
PACIFIC RIM: UPRISING is more lighthearted than the first movie. John Boyega is a compelling as Jake, bringing heart and humor at the right moments. The problem is that the movie has too much exposition and fails to give enough time to character development. There are strong moral, redemptive themes of responsibility, forgiveness, sacrifice, and putting aside differences to fight for a common good. The destruction violence is high, and there’s a slightly excessive mixture of obscenities and profanities. So, strong caution is advised for PACIFIC RIM: UPRISING.
PACIFIC RIM: UPRISING is the sequel to the 2013 surprise hit PACIFIC RIM about a future earth where giant monsters called Kaiju have to be battled with giant robot machines called Jaegers, piloted by humans.
This sequel takes place 10 years after the first movie where the humans were successful at closing a portal through which an alien race called the “Precursors” sent their enormous monsters of doom. This was only possible because General Stacker Pentecost (played by Idris Elba) sacrificed himself heroically and saved the world.
A decade later, Pentecost’s son Jake (John Boyega) has not followed in his father’s footsteps. Though Jake once was in the academy as a Jaeger pilot, he’s since dropped out and lives in an abandoned city as a thief and party animal.
When Jake is arrested along with a junkyard scrapper named Amara, the two are given the opportunity to avoid jail time by joining up with some Jaeger pilots in training. Amara joins the other cadets, while Jake, because of his past experience, helps train them along with his old co-pilot, Nate Lambert (Scott Eastwood). Jake wants nothing to do with any of it, but he doesn’t have much of a choice. Also, his adopted sister is high up in the Pan Pacific Defense Corps, so he feels he owes it to her to stick around a little bit.
Though there hasn’t been a Kaiju attack in 10 years, the Defense Corps is trying to prepare for whatever may come, which includes training a new generation of pilots. Training pilots is a rigorous process that includes two compatible pilots interlocking their minds in a neural bridge, so they can function as one person when piloting the giant Jaeger robot. Only a select few can handle such a process.
Because it’s so difficult to pilot a Jaeger, the Defense Corps is pitched an idea from Chinese company Shao Industries to use drone Jaegers that Jake’s sister has developed with her lead engineer, Dr. Newt Geiszler (who helped save the world in the first movie). This idea seems like a possible solution until a rogue Jaeger attacks a city and kills Jake’s sister (along with many others).
Jake is now committed to finding out who was responsible. He discovers that the rogue Jaeger was actually controlled by a Kaiju brain that melded with the machine. Someone, a human, is trying to reopen the portal to bring the Kaiju back.
Can Jake and his new squad of cadets save the day?
PACIFIC RIM: UPRISING is more lighthearted than the first movie, which was created and directed by Guillermo del Toro. John Boyega is a compelling lead who brings heart and humor at just the right moments. The problem with the movie is that it has too much exposition. Also, the characters interact too quickly for viewers to identify with them completely. Thus, the movie speeds through plot points and dialogue assuming that the audience is invested in certain relationships without giving any breathing room to the audience. Because of this, several scenes fall flat.
On the flip side, however, most people won’t be showing up to a PACIFIC RIM movie for compelling dialogue. They want giant robots fighting monsters, and this sequel surely delivers this in spades. The action sequences are easy to follow, and the jeopardy is high. It’s solid, though predictable, fun.
Best of all, PACIFIC RIM: UPRISING has strong moral, redemptive themes of responsibility, forgiveness, sacrifice, and putting aside differences to fight for a common good. The destruction violence is high, but there’s little gore. Ultimately, the slightly excessive number of obscenities and profanities is what requires the most caution for PACIFIC RIM: UPRISING.