Pacific Rim: Uprising (2018) – Rise Up

“But I ain’t my father,” said Jake Pentecost (John Boyega). He just didn’t want to be underlooked because of his father’s name, after sacrificing his life as a Jaeger pilot ten years ago. On the other hand, Jake still has a great ability to drive Jaeger. However, Jake didn’t want to join the military as a prison. Jake just wants freedom because the world is safe and peaceful now. No more Kaiju invasion, Jake sold parts from Jaeger every day to thugs.

During one of the missions, Jake meets a 15-year-old girl. She can make a mini Jaeger from Jaeger’s wreckage. The two of them were eventually recruited, forcibly, by the military. Jake had to lead as a pilot, who were mostly young, against an unexpected attack from Kaiju. Each of us isn’t someone else but it applies to Jake. Believing in his abilities, he began to develop little by little.

First of all, I didn’t know this movie existed. It’s also hard to say that this isn’t a sequel, for me, because it’s more of a spinoff. Steven S. DeKnight was not Guillermo del Toro and I don’t know why they were trying to make “Pacific Rim” as a franchise. In this case, I prefer this film as any Michael Bay movies especially “Transformers”. Del Toro presents a mecha fight against monsters, not separated from a subtle message about emptiness in the human side. The first movie is a love-letter to all mecha anime and monster films. For Del Toro, he didn’t want to just copy it from any science fiction or mecha genre. However, “Pacific Rim” has its own identity.

In the second film, DeKnight takes over and he tries to maximize the characterization. The protagonist is Jake Pentecost, the son of Stacker Pentecost, and the genius teenage girl, Amara Namani (Cailee Spaeny). Initially, “Pacific Rim: Uprising” has its own intention of turning a love-letter into mass culture, a brand like “Transformers”. The first act is pretty convincing but I miss the characters in the first movie a bit. Instead, this is just like a spinoff where the protagonist from the first movie isn’t given enough screen in this “second” movie.

This movie is forgettable. There is so much pushed build upon the characters in this film. In fact, “Pacific Rim” isn’t only about Jaeger’s and Kaiju’s non-stop action. With forced and crude characterization, I think Kaiju directed this movie. Speaking of performance, John Boyega is John Boyega, not Idris Elba or anyone. They both have the same characteristics namely likable, charismatic, and disciplined. Yet, Jake is a comic in this movie. Apart from having emotions and development, the comedy just cringed, there is no exact placement at all.

I also don’t really understand, or indeed this is just a trend in Hollywood, but stop put a meme or internet jokes in movies. This also applies to “Black Panther” where I didn’t really think there was a dead meme in the film. Anyway, the chemistry between Jake and Amara is just awkward. I don’t really understand why Jake always mentioned, as well as Amara, he was handsome to Amara. Are there other sides where the director or writer never tells us? Wait, I almost forgot. Kaiju directed this movie.

Cailee Spaeny’s Amara is charming, when she is supposed to be an annoying character, she is more shine here than other characters. Yet, I don’t really understand a treatment for her character. In fact, she just needs half-second to be able to control the agile of a Jaeger. Just amazing. Both Jake and Amara have a redeeming quality in their development and characters. They are the real partner, other than a weak characterization, not executed well. I still don’t understand what this film is actually other than the title saying that it’s still but “Pacific Rim”. There is another subplot but when the main stories overlap, automatically, no reason why a subplot exists in the first place.

Yes, it’s kind of a bit of a political theme in this movie where in this film, Kaiju is no longer the main enemy but it’s human. What an original story we got here. Half the story is just full of action and action. The choreography is just bad like the Jaegers and Kaiju just destroy and crash each other into the building. It’s like throwing many balls but instead, they throw what they can throw like a car and others. Both the story and the action, at this point, I don’t really care how the film ends. As blockbusters in general, I gave up with this film. Even Charlie Day is just another worthy part of this movie.

Besides the movie is a Guillermo del Toro love-letter to mecha and others, “Pacific Rim: Uprising” includes a tribute. They include the Gundam statue in Japan but it’s just like you don’t have to care what this movie is about. Gundam is phenomenal not only about action or explosion but how all of the characters deal with psychology, politics, and humanity. Likewise with other mecha anime such as “Neon Genesis Evangelion” or “Code Geass”. Both anime explore a character study. Therefore, they have their own identity. Not only about robot battles or whatsoever but it’s about horror and suffering from war. On the other hand, this movie is a cover, no identity, just about a brand so they can sell many toys and merch. What did I expect?

“Pacific Rim: Uprising” is a blast without essential, like “Transformers”, this is about fun, about monsters, about robots, and about special effects. While the first movie has its own uniqueness why we care about these characters and stories, this movie is just not really works. This movie refers to blockbuster fans but not to “Pacific Rim” fans. Well, we have to wait four years from now if this film has a third sequel or series or whatever.

2.5 out of 5 stars.