'Pacific Rim Uprising'
(John Boyega, Scott Eastwood, Cailee Spaeny, et al / 12A / 1hrs 51mins)
Overview: Jake Pentecost, son of Stacker Pentecost, reunites with Mako Mori to lead a new generation of Jaeger pilots, including rival Lambert and 15-year-old hacker Amara, against a new Kaiju threat.
Verdict: It has been ten years since humanity triumphed over the invading Kaiju in "Pacific Rim". The world has begun rebuilding from the devastation caused by the conflict and for the most part humanity has moved on. However for Jake Pentecost (John Boyega), he exists as a hustler in a yet to be recovered zone that was heavily damaged by the conflict. Jake lives for the hustle, finding and trading one item of value for another from cookies and cereal to parts from down Jaegers.
Looting and operating parts from the former combat giants is very illegal but with the massive payout from their parts, the lure is too great for Jake to ignore. This pursuit leads him into trouble and reluctantly paired with young scrapper Amari Namani (Cailee Spaeny).
Jake gets a choice of prison or returning to train Jaeger pilots as he is the son of the late hero Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba), and naturally has many unresolved issues of sharing the name of the beloved hero. Figuring training a class beats jail, Jake agrees to teach Amara and a new class of Jaeger pilots with his former rival Nate Lambert (Scott Eastwood), and to say they still have issues with one another would be an understatement.
Despite this, training moves along as planned and Nate and Jake even work well enough to pilot a Jaeger at a ceremony that will usher in a new but controversial new age in protection for humanity.
When an unexpected threat arrives and causes mass devastation and chaos, Jake and Nate must get to the bottom of the threat. As their investigation moves along a massive threat is discovered which pits them and their untested recruits against a threat old and new which threatens to end humanity. What follows is a FX laden finale where cities are laid waste to and massive combatants engage is a truly impressive visual spectacle.
While "Pacific Rim: Uprising" does use a familiar plot threads, it does so in an engaging way. The film does have a very basic plot and does not delve too much into character development and leaves some of the threads it opened unresolved. What it does have is a good amount of action after a slower than expected build up.
The action is visually appealing and exciting and delivers a much better experience than the last few "Transformer" films did. The cast works well with one another and it was nice to see Charlie Day and others from the first film return as Day always makes his scenes engaging.
While you may have a sense of seeing much of this before in giant monster and robot films, it is done in an appealing way. There is much of the film that you can see was clearly included to make sure the film appeals to audiences in China and Japan but in the new global film market, it is vital for films to do well in those markets, and with a film based in the Asian Pacific Rim, it only makes sense to do this.
Eastwood and Boyega work well with one another and the finale opens the door wide open for a third film that looks like it would extend the franchise by taking things in a new and exciting direction.