Review – Pacific Rim: Uprising

I cannot begin to power rank the bizarre shit in this film. The fact that some kaiju form into a gigantic kaiju like Voltron, as seen in the trailers, isn’t even the 15th craziest thing this film throws at you. Pacific Rim: Uprising, is one of the most bonkers sequels I’ve ever seen, and I enjoyed every damn second of it. I’m gonna be high off the energy rush of this film for weeks.

Uprising picks up 10 years after the first film and finds Jake (John Boyega), son of the first film’s Stacker Pentecost, who leads a new generation of Jaeger pilots against a new threat.

It starts off pretty standard and safe, and then about 30-40 minutes in just takes a turn into the depths of wackiness. If you’re willing to follow it there, you’re in for a treat. I was more than willing, and I had a great time. The twists it takes genuinely take you by surprise because they’re so ridiculous that you never would have guessed them even possible. My buddy Huston pointed out that it doesn’t ever take the safe and predictable route, you have to give it that. We were laughing our asses off in giddy excitement at all the crazy possibilities this film was laying out. This is clearly not a case where the sequel is the same movie as the first but with a different equation – this is an almost indescribable wacky shot of adrenaline.

Steven S. DeKnight isn’t the craftsman that Guillermo del Toro is, but he more than capably makes this film as bonkers and exciting as possible. You can still feel del Toro’s fingerprints on the film – in a good way – but this film is definitely different than the original. It’s clearly its own beast. DeKnight films the battle sequences with the ecstasy of the child inside us all who grew up on classic Godzilla films and other sources of pure entertainment and wonder. The carnage on display could be repulsive if it wasn’t so damn fun to watch. Entire cities get laid to waste, but they make a point to evacuate everyone so you can enjoy the destruction guilt free. DeKnight may not be the filmmaker that del Toro is, but he sure makes a damn fun film.

The cast is having a great time. I’m always down to watch John Boyega, and Charlie Day reaches new heights of camp in this installment. Scott Eastwood is and will always be a terrible actor, but there’s something about his inability to convincingly deliver a line that makes the film even more enjoyable. It just adds to the giddy nature of it all.

I’m sure you can find plenty of reviews that are takedowns of this film, how there is no character development, a lack of plausibility and other rote criticisms. To them I say: you’re a piece of shit. Take those criticisms to films where they actually matter.  Why is having nothing but fun watching a film such a dirty thing, as if we should be ashamed to find joy in watching giant robots fight monsters? I came to have fun, to feel like a kid again, and I had a fantastic time watching this. I hope you do too, I hope you can still have fun watching film.

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