Movie Review: ‘Pacific Rim: Uprising’

by Ian Sarmiento

When audiences went to see “Pacific Rim” in 2013, they wanted to see giant robots punch giant monsters. They were not disappointed.

Five years later, they are treated with a sequel with “Pacific Rim: Uprising,” because who doesn’t want to see another epic showdown between robots and monsters? This sequel not only brings back old friends but also introduces new characters as they face off against something much more than another monster threat.

The story follows Jake Pentecost (John Boyega) as he struggles to live a simple life in his broken world. His father, Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba), was none other than the man who died to save the world from the giant monsters known as the Kaiju. In his father’s absence, Jake makes a living by stealing from junk yards that hide fallen Jaegers, the giant robots used to fight the Kaiju. However, in his most recent heist, everything goes very wrong. The audience is introduced to Amari Namani (Cailee Spaeny), a 15-year-old dumpster diver who is building her own Jaeger. Together, Amari and Jake get into some serious trouble, changing the course of their lives forever.

Overall, the story is well-paced, and audiences don’t have to struggle to follow the straightforward story. Despite this, the way the movie re-introduces and gives background to some characters isn’t very good. A couple of the characters from the first movie come back to play an even bigger role in the sequel. Unfortunately, a majority of the other characters’ roles are insignificant.

Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi) and Dr. Newton Geiszler (Charlie Day) are two of these recurring characters. Mako, a close relative of Jake, pushes Jake to go back into the program that he initially joined. However, we don’t get to see her for a majority of the rest of the movie. Charlie Day’s character’s role in the first movie really sets him up to have an even bigger role in this sequel. However, the film is so focused on the other characters that Charlie Day’s character is used very poorly.

Overall, the character development was mediocre. The deaths of some characters are supposed to push major characters past their limits, but these deaths were underwhelming. It was difficult to understand the grief that the characters felt. Even if it was easy to see that the characters were hurting, it didn’t feel like it was enough to do push the characters that far.

Despite the poor use of characters, audiences get what they really came for: a variety of action-packed fight scenes that almost feel real. The use of computer graphics allows the robots and monsters to really come to life. The new use of the computer-generated imagery, and the perfected editing makes it hard to find something to complain about, action-wise.

Overall, the movie does a good job of creating the action that many expected and wanted. With a few quirks here and there, the movie keeps the audience on the edge of their seats. Managing to properly throw in a big twist and even end on a cliffhanger, the movie is definitely worth seeing at some point.

Ian Sarmiento is a freshman broadcasting and digital media major and art and entertainment writer for Cedars. He enjoys playing the piano, watching anime, and buying swords and knives so he can pretend to be a ninja.

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