pacific rim: uprising

★★★

Director: Steven S. DeKnight (debut)


Starring: John boyega, scott eastwood, cailee spaeny, and jing tian


REVIEWER: Lyall Carter

Jake Pentecost is a once-promising Jaeger pilot whose legendary father gave his life to secure humanity's victory against the monstrous Kaiju. Jake has since abandoned his training only to become caught up in a criminal underworld. But when an even more unstoppable threat is unleashed to tear through cities and bring the world to its knees, Jake is given one last chance by his estranged sister, Mako Mori, to live up to his father's legacy.

I remember watching Pacific Rim and marvelling at this new Guillermo Del Toro world, filled with aliens and human operated robots. But something about it didn't grab me in the way his other work had. Maybe it was too close to Transformers. Maybe the story or the characters weren't engaging. Not entirely sure what it was.

Sadly I found the same to be true with Pacific Rim: Uprising. Great creature and robot effects, action, and John Boyega is superb, but something just doesn't quite click. 

Pacific Rim: Uprising picks up ten years after the events of Pacific Rim. The world has pretty much returned to normal except some coastal settlements that are wild west-esque. Here we find Jake Pentecost, son of Stacker Pentecost, a hero from Pacific Rim, who makes his living stealing parts from old Jaegers. In the middle of a heist, he comes across Amara, who has built an illegal 'mini' Jaeger. After being arrested they are given a choice: go to prison or join the Pan Pacific Defense Corp. Here they learn of a growing conspiracy that will be a threat to the entire earth. 

The story largely works - theres no weird or unexplained elements. But it always feels, with the stakes so high, that we should feel that. But with the massive Jaegers its almost like - well don't worry, they'll jump inside the big robot and smash everything to pieces. This is where the story breaks down a little. 

John Boyega. Boy is he a star on the rise. Finally let loose to lead instead of being a part of the big Star Wars ensemble cast, Boyega shows that he can truly lead a big movie. He's got Will Smith like swagger, he's tough as old boots, and he always has a wise crack up his sleeve. Watching Scott Eastwood is like jumping back in a time machine fifty odd years and seeing his Dad Clint at that age. Eastwood is fantastic as the tough, stern, major who trains the cadets to use the Jaegers. Cailee Spaeny is great as Amara, the toughened street kid and brings youthful naivety and optimism to the role.  

As in the first instalment, the action is epic as Jaegers fight the Kaiju and other Jaegers. Whether its in a densely populated city or a snow swept landscape, the fight sequences are big, bold, and ballistic. The CGI is perfection - never missing a beat.

Big robots fighting bigger aliens with an on form John Boyega, but its the story that lets down this team of Kajui fighters. 

★★★

SPECIAL FEATURES BLU-RAY

HALL OF HEROES

 

Get all the in-depth specs of all of the Mark-6 Jaegers presented by John Boyega.

 

BRIDGE TO THE UPRISING

 

The bridge between the two movies is explored while the film makers stamp their own mark on the Pacific Rim story.

 

THE UNDERWORLD UPRISING

 

In this featurette we gain a glimpse into the relationship between Jake and Amara from their first meeting stealing Jaeger parts where they don't like each other at all to the end of the film where they respect each other. 

 

BECOMING CADETS

 

Jake and Lambert lead the teenage cadets who were born into a world that has been changed forever by the war between Jaegers and the Kaiju. This feature explores the actors and their characters back stories.

 

UNEXPECTED VILLAIN

 

Dr. Newton Geiszler drifted with a Kaiju brain which effects him and allows him to be manipulated by them. This feature explores the friendship between Dr. Newton and Hermann.

 

NEXT LEVEL JAEGERS

 

This featurette looks at the development and design of the new Jaegers from the ideas and input of everyone from director Steven S. DeKnight to the art and visual effects departments.

 

I AM SCRAPPER

 

Scrapper is a Jaeger that Amara built in such a way that it only needed one pilot. In this featurette we gain insight into the character and design of Scrapper.

 

GOING MEGA

 

This featurette explores all of the three main Kaiju that are in Pacific Rim: Uprising.

 

SECRETS OF SHAO

 

Shao is a billionaire determined to defend the world against Kaiju attacks. Here we gain a glimpse into her company Shao Industries and Shao the drones she is developing that don’t need two human pilots.

 

MAKO RETURNS

 

Mako is the emotional lynch pin in this movie not only connecting the two films but being an emotional drive for Jake Pentecost and in this feature actress Rinko Kikuchi talks about her character. 

SPECIAL FEATURES: 

Just like the Jaegers in Pacific Rim: Uprising the special features on this Blu-ray release are huuuuuuuge and filled with great interviews from the cast and crew. 

 

★★★★★

Pacific Rim: Uprising is available on DVD, Blu-ray, 4K, and digital from all good disc and digital retailers. 

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