FILM REVIEW: PACIFIC RIM: UPRISING (12A)
SHOWCASE CINEMA DE LUX PETERBOROUGH, OUT NOW
CAST: JOHN BOYEGA, SCOTT EASTWOOD, CAILEE SPAENY, CHARLIE DAY, BURN GORMAN, RINKO KIKUCHI, TIAN JING, ADRIA ARJONA, JIN ZHANG & IVANNA SAKHNO
RUNNING TIME: 1 HR 51 MINS
DIRECTOR: STEVEN S DEKNIGHT
Now this is a how to make an entertaining blockbuster.
It’s an action-packed robot versus monsters yarn, that knows exactly what it is – but doesn’t outstay its welcome.
It’s not going to win any awards for the storyline, but with a nice bit of humorous banter, high-octane thrills, and impressive visual effects, if you leave your brain at the door of the cinema, this is colourfully enjoyable fare.
But it’s actually as the first headlining movie vehicle for Star Wars’ John Boyega which really pulls it through.
He really flexes another side of his acting muscles – completely different to his Finn character – by providing a funny, and importantly non-irritating lead star, in this sequel to Oscar-winner Guillermo Del Toro’s (The Shape of Water) 2013 original, who is on production duties here.
It’s pretty predictable stuff that we’ve seen oodles of times before: Boyega’s Jake, the son of Idris Elba’s deceased Stacker Pentecost from the first movie, is a roguish bad boy who turns good after a Kaiju monster threat re-emerges via the slightly-annoying Dr Newton Geiszler (Horrible Bosses’ Charlie Day) alien-controlled mind, which re-opens the other-wordly intergalactic dimension one more time.
Here Jake helps nurture a young Amara (a likeable well-casted turn from Cailee Spaeny) in the Jaegar – the massive two-person-controlled robots that now protect the planet in case of further threats – program, while having a stereotypical conflict with his more ‘by the book’ ex-buddy Nate Lambert (The Fate of the Furious).
A few other side stories are shoe-horned into a movie that ultimately builds up to a more than passable robot/monster mash-em by the end.
But the good thing is, unlike a Transformers movie, you can actually tell what is going on – and to such an extent you may even care somewhat for the characters during the closing battle to save the world.
The only problem with all the special effects, this is a heavily-budgeted actioner, so hopefully it will make enough box-office bucks to warrant a third – because one is interestingly hinted at here.
But as it stands – despite Day’s irritating human protagonist – this impresses far more than say Transformers 2, or 3, or 4, or 5, and with Boyega, Britain really has a rising Hollywood star.
Rating: 3/5 – Gavin Miller