Having left the Jaeger Pilot program, Jake Pentecost (John Boyega) unwillingly returns to train young cadets in the program as a last chance given by his adopted sister, Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi). But, when an even bigger threat is unleashed upon the world, Jake is thrust back into the Jaeger cockpit to save the world and live up to his father’s legacy.
I had waited 5 years for this sequel and I must say that I’m beyond impressed with the outcome. Not only were Jaegers utilized in full-force but the whole entire concept with the Kaijus were further explored. The plot is fast-paced and full of twists which I definitely did not see coming. In the early scenes of the movie, I had already predicted the advancement of the Kaiju attacks based on the original. However, I was hit with a writer curveball. They not only reinvented the wave of Kaiju attacks, evolved a Kaiju to mega status Kaiju, but they also created a new super villain out of a character which we least expect. Utilizing elements of the original, they were able to cleverly misdirect the audience’s perception of certain characters. It was also refreshing to have an ending which wasn’t that predictable.
Alongside the new characters, fans of the original Pacific Rim will definitely recognize a few key characters who return with more screen time than before. The blend of old and new characters made didn’t create any disassociation due to the plausible links the plot has established. It was also easy to grow attached to the characters as they had relatable personalities. Despite that, I was still not able to ignore the unexplained disappearance of Raleigh Beckett. Though he is mentioned in passing during a speech Jake gives, it is glaringly obvious that there is no further mention of him anywhere. It also seemed like Mako had never met the man before! It seemed rather strange to me that the main character of the original could be stricken off the script so easily without a proper explanation. At least say the man took a sabbatical, or that he decided to leave on an island alone away from all this Jaeger tech but don’t treat it like he didn’t exist. Some might argue that he probably died in another battle or didn’t survive his injuries (which we all know is poppycock) – if that was the case, I would have seen his holograph photo alongside Stacker Pentecost.
The CGI in Pacific Rim Uprising is pure visual magic. The colors were vivid and everything just felt so real – like I was witnessing real life footage with ‘em big Jaegers kicking ass.
Now, let’s talk about those Jaegers.
Gypsy Danger is now re-named to Gypsy Avenger; which doesn’t seem to have the same ring to it if you ask me. We are also introduced to three new Jaegers: Guardian Bravo, Saber Athena and Titan Redeemer. Each of this Jaeger possessed bad-ass weapons that was of another level. They were all in action during the climatic scene where each Jaeger was able to show off their weapons. Saber Athena caught my eye first especially with the tight fighting choreography that was done in the Jaeger cockpit by the pilots. Coupled with the ionic twin blades, it was a fluid fighting sequence that was visually stunning. Just when I thought nothing could beat that, Guardian Bravo literally whips out an ionic whip which was (forgive my lack of suitable descriptive words) SO COOL. If I could frame the slow-motion sequence of them using the whip as a moving photo, I would. Lastly, we have Titan Redeemer, which is a unique 3-pilot Jaeger. Just when I started to wonder what the third pilot would be used for, I am floored by the clever work distribution of the pilots. While there are 2 piloting the Jaeger, the third actually goes into a battle station to provide additional firepower!
It’s suffice to say that Boyega is definitely a rising star as he seems to be able to create chemistry easily with his fellow co-stars. While his portrayal of Jake Pentecost might not differ from his real-life personality, he was able to create a similar intensity that Idris Elba has during the dramatic scenes which inevitably makes you believe that he is his son. No stranger to playing a strong and powerful Asian female, Tian Jing delivered yet another brilliant performance with her portrayal as Liwen Shao. Though it may have seemed that she was conversing mostly in Mandarin, she does show her bilingual ability with the clarity of her English lines in the second half of the film.
Despite the new blood, veterans Burn Gorman and Charlie Day who reprised their roles as Dr. Hermann Gottlieb and Dr. Newton Geiszler, are not to be overshadowed. They each continue to hold their own as the duo we know and love from the original, while also further pushing the growth of their own characters. The development of these two notable characters in this film helped to alter the individual role they play which essentially separated the view of them being a duo. I was particularly impressed with Day’s performance as his ability to turn maniacally comedic is something that I could laugh and be scared of.
It’s been a long time coming and Pacific Rim Uprising definitely does not disappoint. Judging from how the film ended, another sequel could possibly be in the works and I’m all for it!