Guillermo del Toro falters with this repetitive and humourless action movie
From Cronos and The Devil's Backbone through to Pan's Labyrinth and the Hellboy films, director Guillermo del Toro has had quite the run. However, with his eighth film he finally falters - his reputation taken down spectacularly as if by one of the film's giant robots.
In mere minutes we're taken from the initial, present-day invasion of the Kaiju (gigantic aliens who emerge from a portal in Earth's seabed) to the year 2020 where the battle continues to rage. In order to fight the monsters, humanity has created monsters of its own: towering robots called Jaegers which match the enemy in strength and size. They're piloted by two-man crews whose minds merge in a process known as 'The Drift'. Charlie Hunnam plays our handsome maverick Raleigh Becket, kicking ass under the command of Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba).
The action quickly becomes repetitive and del Toro and Travis Beacham's screenplay is so humourless and cliché-riddled that the cast buckle under the strain: Hunnam struts and pouts; Elba is saddled with less than stirring speeches; Charlie Day gives us a sub Rick Moranis mad scientist; and horrible accents abound. Only del Toro veteran Ron Perlman provides a flicker of interest as a flamboyant criminal who makes his living from the sale of alien parts.
The promising idea of 'The Drift' is underexplored and causes unintentional hilarity when at one point 'Drift compatible' becomes a euphemism for something more romantic. Worst of all, the movie's skip-to-the-end approach to story and family friendly peril means it's almost totally devoid of tension. What a shame that the latest from a director famed for his imagination has turned out to be such a crashing bore.
General release from Fri 12 Jul.