Pacific Rim: Uprising
dir Steven S DeKnight
scr Steven S DeKnight, Emily Carmichael, Kira Snyder, TS Nowlin
prd Guillermo del Toro, John Boyega, Mary Parent, Cale Boyter, Jon Jashni, Femi Oguns
with John Boyega, Scott Eastwood, Cailee Spaeny, Charlie Day, Burn Gorman, Jing Tian, Max Zhang, Adria Arjona, Rinko Kikuchi, Karan Brar, Wesley Wong, Ivanna Sakhno
release US/UK 23.Mar.18
18/China Universal 1h51
Pacific Rim: Uprising
Ready to rumble: Spaeny, Boyega and Eastwood

day gorman tian
See also:
Pacific Rim (2013)
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Pacific Rim: Uprising Looking even more like a Transformers movie than the original, this sequel doubles down on the crashing, clanking robot-versus-robot action. Fans of this kind of animated mayhem may find it exciting, but most moviegoers will be bored by the lack of thrills or suspense. Thankfully, John Boyega is along for the ride, bringing a blast of badly needed comical energy.

It's been a decade since gigantic alien kaiju were banished and their undersea breaches sealed. Meanwhile, humans continue developing enormous fighting robot jaegers. In trouble with the law, the previous war hero's son Jake (Boyega) is brought back into military training with rebel teen Amara (Spaeny), who illegally built her own mini-jaeger. Their senior officer is the ludicrously handsome Nate (Eastwood), Jakes former copilot. Meanwhile, doctors Newton and Gottleib (Day and Gorman) are developing new tech for the monolithic corporate boss Shao (Jing). And everyone is taken aback when more rogue jaegers appear.

As before, the film is a riot of impenetrable mythology, as characters throw jingoistic phrases around willy nilly. It's such gibberish, mixed with vaguely sciency graphs and charts, that the audience's only option is to zone out. It's the same reaction whenever two massive robots start throwing each other into skyscrapers. Despite the ramped-up, frantic chaos, it's fairly simplistic and coherent. But everything is so wilfully artificial that it's impossible to engage.

So it's a good thing that the cast is having fun. Boyega brings his snappy personality, teasing everyone as Jake blatantly ignores rules of decorum. His scenes with the sparky Spaeny are excellent, because she's as sarcastic as he is. This leaves Eastwood with an underdeveloped role as the butt of their jokes. As before, Day and Gorman play up their amusingly prickly bromance, although separating them in the plot is both annoying and contrived.

Still, that wouldn't matter if the action sequences had gravity. They're so over-sized and destructive, and the characters such macho meatheads, that there's not a moment of intrigue. People piloting towering metal robots simply aren't engaging, especially when they're indestructible one moment then clearly not the next. And as they face off against the re-emerging kaiju in a city-levelling finale, there's never even the hint that this won't go exactly as we expect it to. So the scariest thing about it is that the seeds are sown for a third one.

cert 12 themes, language, violence 21.Mar.18

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