Sequels are sparingly better than their precursors. Pacific Rim: Uprising had a very low bar, and to the film’s credit it comfortably clears it.
Does this make Uprising a great film, or at all memorable? No, but at least this one manages amidst, of all things, giant robots fighting giant monsters, to not take itself all too seriously.
Following on loosely from the 2013 blockbuster, Uprising, which could just as well been called Resurgence, had this not already been taken, packs a new batch of heroes and a matching set of city-stomping Kaijus from the deepest, darkest depths. Borrowing heavily from the aforementioned sequel, Jake (John Boyega), the son of the Idris Elba character in the first film, should you do so well as to have retained any salient information from the original, is quickly lumped in with another group of Jaeger pilots.
The rookies are led by Scott Eastwood’s Nate who, among others, remains convinced that funnelling billions of dollars into giant mechanical humanoids is the best way to deal with Surf Lifesavers’ worst enemy. Charlie Day and a number of others return for those immodestly large piles of money, while Cailee Spaeny’s Amara emerges as the most welcome new addition to proceedings. Endearing in a brief supporting role, the presence of which would regularly be used for a recyclable romantic subplot, the change of direction is refreshing and allows much more time for smashing things together.
And things indeed go smash, and spectacularly so. The finale and one particular assault on a Kaiju the stand-out among several irresistibly enjoyable, eye-watering additions, for those cinemagoers getting tired of only seeing North American cities get wrecked, it’s now Australia’s turn. Not content with heaving a giant monster into Circular Quay the first time around, one major Aussie city gets a strong showing as it’s iconic infrastructure and transport hubs are rendered as little more than passing afterthoughts. While the lack of reverence to the city’s actual geography and appearance might make a few locals groan, if this is something that bothers you then you’re really in the wrong cinema and I hope you brought popcorn.
Enjoyable, full of nonsensical happenstances and completely forgettable, this film doesn’t deserve nor benefit from high expectations, or any expectations at all. If it doesn’t bother you that no figure in this project, characters or otherwise, seems to have thought anything through all that much or that this is effectively a $150 Million Dollar fan take on much better source material, then, like this author, you are probably going to have fun.
Pacific Rim: Uprising is in cinemas now