Pacific Rim: Uprising, or Uprising for short, is one of those movies that you have to go into with a certain mindset if you want to enjoy it. If you’re looking for a movie that’s going to make you sit down and think or offer up gritty character drama, you’re not going to enjoy this movie. If you’re looking for some Top-Gun style antics, with what could be called a downright strange dash of Power Rangers tossed in, and giant robots duking it out with other giant robots and huge monsters, you’re going to have some fun.
In my previous review of Ready Player One, I said it might be one of Spielberg’s masterpieces, though this film does not draw the same comparison. There’s no room for any such questioning here, this isn’t a masterpiece, but like Ready Player One, it’s fun. It’s fun in a very different way, but fun. It’s a film that, for the most part, knows what it is and doesn’t try too hard to go beyond that.
Guillermo Del Toro stepped away, handing the director’s reigns to Steven DeKnight, and it shows. Del Toro’s embrace of what could be described as ‘big-budget B-movie’ style is gone, replaced by DeKnight with something cleaner, brighter, and more representative of modern Hollywood. How good or bad a thing that is depends on the viewer. One could make the argument that Del Toro’s clunky and cheesy approach carried a bit more heart, but at the same time, the argument could be made that DeKnight’s version better understands the expectations viewers have for a movie like this.
In regards to the nuts and bolts, the CGI is done very well, the action is solidly choreographed, and the acting comes off well enough. The majority of the cast from the original film is absent, including Charlie Hunnam, Idris Elba, and Ron Perlman. Replacing them are the film’s lead, John Boyega, playing the son of Stacker Pentecost (Elba), who fills the role of wisecracking and charismatic rogue against Scott Eastwood’s straight man. Along with them are the traumatized prodigy, Amara, played by Cailee Spaeny, as well as other pilot cadets who bring that strange dash of Power Rangers to the film. All of whom carry through a very serviceable performance.
If you’re looking to turn your brain off for two hours of steel-crunching, popcorn munching action, Pacific Rim: Uprising will suit your needs, just don’t expect too much more than that.
All in all, four out of five stars.
Not necessary, but enjoyable enough.