Pacific Rim: Uprising pretty much single-handedly sums up everything that is wrong with bad blockbuster filmmaking.
2018 has seen some of the best blockbusters in recent memory, from the work over at Marvel Studios to even the underrated Solo or the most recent (albeit overrated) entry in the Mission Impossible series. However, the latest, and hopefully last, Pacific Rim film falls so flat that it’s like the Kaijus beat the machines.
The film is set 10 years after the last movie, but who actually cares at this point. Most of the cast from the original is missing. Charlie Hunnam was doing that ill-fated and insanely bonkers King Arthur film, so they replaced him with John Boyega, who everybody knows as Finn from Star Wars. And they added Scott Eastwood, who everybody knows as Clint’s son. Some of the supporting cast returns, with Burn Gorman and Charlie Day as Dr Hermann Gottlie and Dr Newton Geiszler, respectively, and they seem to have the most to do. Rinko Kikuchi’s Moko was one of most interesting characters from the first film, but Kikuchi realised the film was a sinking ship, exits in an explosive fashion. Boyega tries to carry the film all on his own, and while he has charisma in spades, he just can’t pull the film up from the by sinkhole that it’s in.
Pacific Rim: Uprising suffers most from the fact that it’s a sequel nobody wanted, unless it was on the condition it was directed by the original’s Guillermo Del Toro. The first film, which I sometimes referred to as “Transformers for Smart People,” was like the best of Ray Harryhausen: you felt the presence of a loving hand overlooking the monsters and robots fighting each other. Del Toro is a director who even when he is doing a big studio film pours his soul into his work: just look at the Hellboy films. The first Pacific Rim was no exception. The human characters, the monsters and the big slabs of machinery had personality, even Charlie Hunnam, who can on occasion be a bit wooden.
But Del Toro left the franchise to do his best film in over a decade, The Shape of Water, and won a much-deserved Oscar. This was a wise move. Pacific Rim: Uprising is a film that suffers from being a poorly constructed sequel where most of the creative team from the first have bowed out. It’s clearly been made just to get money from the Chinese market, which is what saved the first film from being a flop. That is the essential problem: the first was a film made out of love for the world, and the second was made out of a desire to make money from the world Del Toro created.
The disc includes all the usual special features, including a commentary from director Steven DeKnight, deleted scenes and a series of short featurettes.