Movie Review: Pacific Rim Rises Up

Movie Review: Pacific Rim Rises Up
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About the Author

Tyler Collins

Tyler Collins

Tyler Collins is a thespian and performer who has worked with theatre, film, and TV across Ontario. He comes from Campbellton, NB, and has lived in North Oakville over 20 years. He is a graduate of Journalism from Sheridan College. Twitter: @MrTyCollins

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In the long list of expensive, city-crushing action movies, it’s hard to make something different. Still, there’s something about watching large, expensive CGI fights in blockbusters. When done with intelligence and the right attitude, they don’t really get old.

If Pacific Rim: Uprising teaches us anything, it reminds us these kinds of movies can be fun. There’s nothing revelatory being done in this peculiar sequel, but it’s innocently entertaining from start to finish.

Following 2013’s surprise hit Pacific Rim, the kaiju (evil underwater monsters from another dimension) have been stopped from attacking Earth. Now, the jaegers (giant, human-controlled robots) protect the planet against other threats, including, of course, more kaiju, back for round two.

If the concept sounds confusing, this may not be the movie for you. The several short, cute subplots are trivial to the big picture. All that really matters is there’s a large team of robots fighting a large team of sea monsters.

The second half is much better than the first hour or so. What made the first movie so interesting were the creature battles and jaw-dropping visual effects. Because the world was saved in the first movie, Uprising begins as a political comedy. Once the dust settles and the monster fighting gets going, the mojo comes back too.

Photo: Universal Pictures

Unlike the slow-paced and snarky Transformers movies, this cast of monster fighting rogues is earnest and warm. Many characters are immensely likeable and easy-going. Even with an unambitious script, the film’s tone makes it easy to cheer on the good guys to save the world.

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The committed screenplay is courtesy of a team of writers, notably led by director Steven S. DeKnight. The dialogue and storyline are convincing enough. More importantly, it’s never so cheesy or confusing it becomes distracting.

What does stand out as a weakness is how predictable each upcoming event is. Anyone who’s seen any war/action/fantasy will smell every scene that happens in the same order. The final battle sequence, however, does not feature the opponents you might expect. That one climactic twist is well done.

There’s as many impressive fight scenes between these colossal foes as there are unimpressive morals and reasons for existing. But Pacific Rim: Uprising is enough of a diversion to entertain those looking for a breezy night at the movies.

It doesn’t quite amount to the cathartic fun of its predecessor. Nor does it teach us anything or pioneer the art of film. Sometimes, a movie’s heart, thrills and guts are enough to rise up as passable entertainment in its own right.

Pacific Rim: Uprising
2 1/2 out of 4 stars

PG, 1hr 51mins. Sci-Fi Action Disaster Fantasy.
Written and Directed by Steven S. DeKnight.
Starring John Boyega, Cailee Spaeny, Scott Eastwood, Burn Gorman, Tian Jing and Charlie Day.
Now Playing at Film.Ca Cinemas, Cineplex Winston Churchill and Cineplex Oakville & VIP. Also in IMAX.

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