Pacific Rim: Uprising Review: Too Many Characters, Not Enough Kaiju

There are some great action scenes and some fun surprises, but those were not enough to win this fan over.
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The action in Pacific Rim: Uprising takes place 10 years after the initial breach that allowed the Kaiju to try and destroy the Earth the first time. The global community has done a lot of rebuilding and healing from the first attack. But of course when things are going well, there are those who think that peace is forever. And while I don't want to spoil the film for those of you who still want to see it, let's just say that sometimes those who helped save the world are not always on the side of peace. 

I loved the first Pacific Rim film. Guillermo del Toro crafted an action-packed, story-driven monster movie. He is a great at making movies like that. Pacific Rim was a film that left me feeling both excited and inspired as a writer and as a viewer. So of course I was excited to see this film. I expected great characters, awesome robotic Jaegers, and of course Kaiju!!! (Who doesn't love a giant monster that emerges from the earth under the sea?!) Granted del Toro was not involved in Pacific Rim: Uprising, but I still had high hopes.

But instead of a story-driven monster movie, I was disappointed to watch a film that played more like an episode of a longer television series. Throughout the film, a lot of characters are introduced who are not ever developed. These characters end up feeling like clunky set dressing. And the ones that you do meet in more depth are more caricatures than characters. The motivation behind Jake Pentecost (John Boyega) not wanting to play by the rules and fight for the world felt lazy and overplayed. Granted, his dad saved the world by sacrificing himself, but I still don't understand why Jake feels the need to rebel and be a thief. The writers do not make his motivation clear enough. They do a better job explaining the motivation behind Amara Namani's (Cailee Spaeny) need to have her own homemade Jaeger. Her experiences as a child get the most explanation in the film through a solid flashback. It was these kind of character developments that the first film had that this film does not.

This film does have some great action scenes and some fun surprises, but those were not enough to win this fan over. There are other interesting story elements (aside from the cavalcade of characters) that get introduced in Pacific Rim: Uprising but these elements are not explained or explored enough to really make an impact. I want to know more about new monsters and new Jaegers not just have them appear and then move on with little or no explanation.

While some people may say that these types of films are not supposed to have strong stories, I disagree. The first film had a strong story with characters who have good backstories and real motivation. Pacific Rim: Uprising relies too heavily on the action, which due to too many quick edits can even loose its audience at times.

Pacific Rim: Uprisingis rated PG-13, has a run time of 110 minutes, and is now available on DVD and Blu-ray.

  • Deleted Scenes with Commentary by Director Steven S. DeKnight
  • Hall of Heroes - John Boyega takes us through the awesome weaponry and cutting-edge enhancements of the latest generation of Jaegers featured in the film.
  • Bridge to Uprising - The cast and crew discuss how the world of Pacific Rim has changed in the ten years since the events of the original film.
  • The Underworld of Uprising - Humanity won the Kaiju War, but every war has casualties. John Boyega and Steven S. DeKnight give a tour of the coastal “Relief Zones.”
  • Becoming Cadets - Step into the Shatterdome, and learn the grueling physical and mental preparation required of the young actors who portrayed the PPDC cadets.
  • Unexpected Villain - Learn the secret reason that turned one of the most beloved heroes of the original film into a villain obsessed with humanity’s destruction.
  • Next Level Jaegers - The cast and crew discuss the amazing technological advances of the Jaeger program in the years since the events of the original film.
  • I Am Scrapper - Actress Cailee Spaeny shares the backstory of Scrapper, Amara’s incredible self-built Jaeger and its many unique abilities.
  • Going Mega - Filmmakers take us through the technical and creative challenges of creating the most deadly threat the Pan Pacific Defense Corp has ever faced: the Mega Kaiju!
  • Secrets of Shao - Meet the woman behind Shao Industries. Actress Tian Jing shares her insights on the enigmatic tech tycoon Liwen Shao.
  • Mako Returns - Actress Rinko Kikuchi and director Steven S. DeKnight explain the significance of Mako Mori’s return and her importance to the events of Pacific Rim Uprising.
  • Feature Commentary with Director Steven S. DeKnight

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