Director: Steven S. DeKnight
Cast: John Boyega, Scott Eastwood, Tian Jing, Cailee Spaeny, Rinko Kikuchi, Burn Gorman, Adria Arjona, Jin Zhang, Charlie Day
If like me, you are new to the Pacific Rim universe, director Steven S. DeKnight helpfully begins the sequel Pacific Rim: Uprising with a quick recap. We are told that 10 years have passed since the events of the last film, which was directed by the profoundly imaginative Guillermo del Toro. The inter-dimensional breach through which aliens were sending massive, glowing monsters called Kaiju has been sealed. Jaegers, massive robots that humans created to fight Kaiju, are around but generally a fragile peace has been achieved. Our hero is a slacker named Jake. His father saved the world in the first film. But Jake’s catchphrase is: “I am not my father.”
Honestly, the first hour of Pacific Rim: Uprising could qualify as dumb fun – basically a dimaag nikal ke dekho situation. A rogue Jaeger unleashes destruction, buildings crumble like biscuits, there is a lot of meaningless sound and fury and keeping it all afloat is the considerable charm of John Boyega who plays Jake. He is also a co-producer on the film. Boyega, who you of course know from Star Wars, retains his original London accent. As the reluctant hero, he adds a touch of irreverence and humor to the narrative, which starts to make less and less sense.
By the second hour the small joys have worn thin. Everyone is barking urgent orders at each other, mass destruction has been unleashed on Tokyo and metal is crunching ferociously against monster. The characters, apart from Jake, are too bland to matter and there is zero emotional investment. Instead the frenzied CGI spectacle slowly numbs your brain and sucks your soul out. You wonder: Am I watching another Transformers movie? You will start to feel a little beat up.
This is usually the point when fanboys rise up and say, “Aunty you don’t know anything about these movies, stick to Shah Rukh Khan romances”. And they are not wrong. These are not worlds that I am familiar with. But shouldn’t a film work for everyone – the fans and the freshers?
I’m not sure even fans will find this industrial-strength head-banger entertaining. The best thing is that Pacific Rim: Uprising is under two hours though I have to warn you – it feels much longer.