Pacific Rim Uprising

 

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The sequel to Pacific Rim is even bigger this time round, if that’s possible. And we still don’t care.

 
Pacific Rim Uprising

A very big robot

 

How do you follow up a brace of Oscars for best picture and best director? Well, if nothing else, Guillermo del Toro – director of The Shape of Water – is one ambitious filmmaker. In 2013 he directed Pacific Rim, a humungous sci-fi epic that made Godzilla look like a glove puppet. With the most expensive film of all time now looming on the horizon – Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War, in cinemas April 26 – Pacific Rim Uprising, produced by del Toro and directed by the American screenwriter Steven S. DeKnight, has upped its own ante. A mash-up of Transformers, RoboCop and Tron, the new film eats size for breakfast. Robots tower over skyscrapers and hurl handfuls of traffic like sand. Cities are destroyed like ants’ nests kicked into oblivion.

 

A Jaeger – a colossal automaton handled by two human pilots – has gone rogue and the ‘Pan-Pacific Defense Corps’ has to step up to the plate. Originally constructed to combat enormous aliens that had popped through an interdimensional portal under the Pacific, the Jaegers made a formidable law-enforcement agency, best operated by good-looking kids brought up on VR gaming. Ten years after the death of the heroic General Pentecost (Idris Elba) and the defeat of the aliens, an even bigger threat emerges, a mind-controlling force bent on global destruction. So, who better to lead a new generation of good-looking gamers to face the enemy than Pentecost’s own son, the cocky, athletic Jake Pentecost, played by John Boyega?

 

One can picture the pitch: OK, let’s make the monsters even bigger this time, get a cast of young cosmopolitan actors who look like models, stir in some state-of-the-art CGI, add a slew of smart-ass wisecracks and eye-catching locations, throw in the son of Clint Eastwood and get a black English actor to play the hero. How could it fail? Of course, it all depends on your taste. Boyega, who portrays Finn in the Star Wars films, does make an engaging lead, and much of the metallic action boasts a wow mentality, if one is not tired of that sort of thing. But the congestion of plot swerves and technical jargon is more than a little overwhelming and ultimately one really doesn’t care for anybody or anything. It’s rather rum that the 12A advisory warning alerts the viewer to “moderate violence” and a “rude gesture.” Yes, a robot does give us the finger but the collateral loss of human life would seem to be no more troublesome than the innumrable blips on a video screen.

 

JAMES CAMERON-WILSON

 

Cast: John Boyega, Scott Eastwood, Jing Tian, Cailee Spaeny, Rinko Kikuchi, Burn Gorman, Adria Arjona, Zhang Jin, Charlie Day, Karan Brar, Wesley Wong, Ivanna Sakhno, Shyrley Rodriguez.

 

Dir Steven S. DeKnight, Pro John Boyega, Cale Boyter, Guillermo del Toro, Jon Jashni, Femi Oguns, Mary Parent and Thomas Tull, Screenplay Emily Carmichael, Kira Snyder, Steven S. DeKnight and T.S. Nowlin, Ph Dan Mindel, Pro Des Stefan Dechant, Ed Dylan Highsmith and Zach Staenberg, Music Lorne Balfe, Costumes Lizz Wolf.

 

Legendary Pictures-Universal Pictures.

110 mins. USA/China/UK. 2018. Rel: 23 March 2018. Cert. 12A.