Pacific Rim Uprising
- James Mottram
- 20 March 2018
It's giant robots versus monsters once again in this competent sci-fi sequel
A belated sequel to Guillermo del Toro's 2013 tale of monsters versus robots, Steven S DeKnight's film is a competent-enough companion, albeit to an original that didn't exactly set the bar sky-high. It's been ten years since the devastating war between humans – controlling giant robots called Jaegers – and creatures from the deep known as Kaiju; Jake Pentecost (John Boyega) is living in the shadow of his Jaeger pilot father Stacker (played by Idris Elba in the first film), who sacrificed his life in that conflict, in order to save mankind.
When he runs into trouble joy-riding in an unregistered Jaeger, designed by impish youngster Amara (Cailee Spaeny), Jake is given a reprieve by his half-sister Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi, returning from the original): prison or tutoring young pilots in the Pan Pacific Defence Corps. He takes the latter option, and it'll be no surprise to learn that he's forced to face up to those daddy issues before too long.
The plot really kicks in when a Jaeger goes rogue, almost killing the powerful Liwen Shao (Tian Jing), whose company is controversially designing 'drone' Jaegers. Who is piloting this out-of-control robot and why? And where are the Kaiju? To say more would be entering into spoiler terrain, but the twisty plot integrates original characters and Kaiju experts Dr. Newton Geiszler (Charlie Day) and Dr. Hermann Gottlieb (Burn Gorman) in a convincing fashion.
Best known for his work in TV as a producer and occasional director on the likes of Daredevil and Smallville, DeKnight does a fair job with the action, showing a modicum of restraint before building up to maximum-level carnage. When he does unleash the beast(s), the devastation is satisfying – not least when Tokyo gets trampled in a sure-fire nod to the classic Godzilla movies. Some of it annoys (Amara's subplot, as she joins the PPDC, is tedious) but there's enough here to scratch your adventure-fantasy itch.
General release from Fri 23 Mar.