"an excellent choice not just for lovers of the monster movie genre but film fans in general"
Back in 2013 Guillermo del Toro unleashed upon us the modern day monster movie (arguable) classic that is Pacific Rim, it was something special in genre which has given us some great movie moments as well as its fair share of duds. With two new leads, a new director and a sprinkle of old faces can this sequel live up to the original?
The story picks up 10 years after the original, the world is slowly recovering but the affects of the original battle of the breach are still being felt, Kaiju tech is in high demand and it’s here we get introduced to Jake (John Boyega), son of decorated war hero Stacker Pentecost, Idris Elba's much loved patriarch from the original. Without giving too much of the game away, due to an unfortunate series of events and a superb chase, Jake is forced to rejoin the "Pan Pacific Defence Force" along with Amara who due to the same series forge somewhat of a mentor/student relationship. This is arguably the heart of the movie and is done brilliantly and to great effect. It’s also at this point we meet Scott Eastwood's character Nate who we later find out has a mutual love/hate relationship with Jake, both actors play both serious and comedic elements of their respective characters well and at times you can feel the tension between them.
Reprising their roles from the previous entry are Rinko Kikuchi as Mako Mori, Burn Gorman as Dr. Hermann Gottlieb and Charlie Day as Dr. Newt Geiszler. It’s worth noting without giving away any of the plot that Newt is a much bigger part of the story this time around, although Charlie Day always seems to be playing some variation of his "Always Sunny in Philadelphia" character even in the film, he is however a definite highlight.
As mentioned previously the original had Guillermo del Toro at the helm and that held a lot of weight with movie goers, this time however directorial and writing roles were handled by Steven S. DeKnight who is making the jump from the small to the big screen. Steven has previously worked on Buffy and Angel and also handled show running duties on Marvel's Netflix hit Daredevil, so he definitely has a good calibre heading into his directorial debut.
So the cast is impressive yes, but can the story hold up? the short answer is yes and very well so. Whilst there are most definitely elements of the story that are a little predictable and the expected tropes and clichés are present what’s been created is a story with a lot of heart and meaning... that just happens to involve huge robots defending the world from massive monsters.
Pacific Rim: Uprising will be an excellent choice not just for lovers of the monster movie genre but film fans in general, there are some nods to classic Godzilla/Ultraman films for the keen eyed and a plot all the family can enjoy. The cheesy in parts sound track is pretty easy on the ears as well. All combine to make this an enjoyable almost two hours of cinema.
To summarise, Pacific Rim: Uprising is one of the best Kaiju movies of recent years, one that will appeal to fans of the franchise and new comers alike. There are a few cheesy moments and a few emotional ones as well, It’s great fun and leaves you feeling pretty optimistic. The plot and button scene also leaves the franchise wide open for a 3rd instalment that we can only hope doesn't take another 5 years to arrive as this sequel did.