Pacific Rim Uprising was everything that I needed in a sequel. It took what was great about the original film and ramped it up to 11. Heck, what director Steven S. DeKnight did in this film along with the cast and crew was nothing sort of amazing. I really had a heck of a ride and if you like the first film even remotely, than you’ll enjoy this one. So, now that that’s out of the way, let’s get to what this thing is all about.
10 years later and the world is living Kaiju-Free and if you’re not in the military preparing for the next Apocalypse, you’re partying it up and just kinda scavenging around trying to make a buck. At least that’s the impression we get from John Boyega‘s Pentacost character. He’s the son of Idris Elba‘s great General in the first film and brother to Mako Mori, once again played by Rinko Kikuchi. While he’s out meeting past DeKnight Spartacus stars and getting himself into trouble, he gets thrown together with fellow junkyard dog, Amari, played by Cailee Spaeny. The two of them bring a good balance of humor and heart as they are discovered by the military for building a rogue Jaegar and forced to join ‘The Resistance.’ From there you get a story of Robot fighting Robot and Robot fighting Monster. Not to take away from just how awesome all of that is, but I also don’t want to spoil the film all that much.
The new Jaegars are even more impressive than they were in the first film, with the standout being the Saber Athena. The fastest Jaegar of the group that can wield dual samurai swords and do a bunch of sweet ninja moves. When this thing gets going into battle, jumping off walls and doing flips and taking swords to Kaiju faces; it’s a sight to behold. Yet, you can’t have a good Jaegar without good pilots and joining Boyega and Spaeny are Scott Eastwood and Tian Jing. While Eastwood’s Nate Lambert seems like a guy you’d hate, he actually comes around to being a character you love. The same can be said about Jing’s ruthless corporate leader Liwan Shao; who gets her own story arc throughout the film.
Returning to the cast as Newt and Gottlieb are Charlie Day and Burn Gorman who didn’t skip a beat between films. They play their characters just as comedic and heartwarming as the first film and were a delight to see in every scene they’re in together. There are also a bunch of cadets who do a good job being cadets but none of them particularly stood out to me. What was great, and what made the first film work so well, is that almost every Nationality is represented in these movies. While the first one and likely this one won’t do too well in America; the foreign market is where these movies make their money. The cast is widely diverse and the climax of the movie takes place in Japan and really shows off the culture well.
If I had one thing bad to say about the movie is that the score wasn’t as great as the first movie. Ramin Djawadi composed the original, while Lorne Balfe did this one and it’s Game of Thrones versus the Megamind video game. The only time I got super pumped up by the music is when I heard the throwbacks to Djawadi’s score.
A lot of critics want to compare this to a Transformers film and dump on it because it’s not as good as the original. Fine, critics are entitled to their opinion; but I will have to disagree. The movie makes sense, unlike most of the new TF films. It has a clear trajectory of the plot and the characters. It opens up the mythology, and yes leaves rooms for a sequel. It takes what Del Toro did in the original and just enhances it through the action and introduction of new characters. I had a blast the entire movie and would highly recommend seeing this on the largest and loudest screen you can!