Pacific Rim: Uprising (2018)

Back to recently released, high-budget B-movies that somehow got the A-movie treatment. It’s a film about giant robots fighting giant monsters. What could possibly go wrong?

Ten years after the last major battle of the first Pacific Rim movie, Jake Pentacost makes his living robbing stuff from busted Jaegers, giant mechs with double names that would sound cool to a twelve-year-old that were designed to fight giant monsters. With no more giant monsters, a bunch of these end up in the scrapyard, and Pentacost makes a living off of stealing parts. However, he ends up going after a part just stolen by a teenager, Amara Namani. When he tracks her down, she pilots a little mech she built from scrap, and they get busted and forced to join up. Pentacost goes back into the military as it is being drawn down thanks to a Chinese drone manufacturer arriving on the scene, when all of a sudden a mysterious Jaeger shows up, beats the snot out of Pentacost’s Jaeger, kills his sister, and leaves. The drones are voted in, while Pentacost and former-best-friend-now-rival-but-soon-best-friend-again Nathan Lambert discover the evil Jaeger came from Siberia, where they discover it’s piloted by a freaky alien tentacle brain. That’s when it’s revealed Dr. Newton Geiszler has been mindmelding with an alien thing in what I think might be that VR sex toy from Demolition Man, and now all of the drones are in fact alien hybrid killing machines. The drones let three giant monsters through dimensional wormholes before getting killed, while Chinese CEO Shao Liwen joins the heroes. With nearly everyone dead, the cadets join Pentacost and Lambert to fight the giant monsters, which then merge together to form one super monster. The giant monster beats everyone up, and so Pentacost and Namani ride a rocket into the upper atmosphere and literally drop their Jaeger onto the big bad guy. Lambert kicks Dr. Geiszler’s ass, Pentacost and Namani have a snowball fight, the Earth is saved, and they’re hinting hard at another one of these movies. Please God, do not let there be another one of these movies.

If you read that, followed it, and aren’t wondering what the hell any of that wall of text means, you’re a better person than I am. I watched the thing, and I don’t understand it. I never thought I would find giant robots fighting giant monsters boring, but Pacific Rim: Uprising somehow does the impossible there. I nearly fell asleep, which is impressive considering I was watching this at noon. It was a little bright outside.

Ok, so the director had primarily only worked in television, but he has done some stylized work along the way with shows like Angel and Daredevil, so I can’t say that excuses him. Part of this is that we have a dense world and backstory combined that is both unrealistic and bland, combined with monster fights that just feel rote and lack any real sort of majesty. They just happen. Come on, I want to be wowed by the absolutely massive critter, not just shrug at it. I also would like a remark on all of those Japanese people who were most certainly killed by all the skyscrapers that the heroes literally dropped on these monsters. You folks know you killed thousands more people, right?

Fuck it, let’s just go watch Robot Jox.

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