Review: Pacific Rim Uprising

March 23, 2018
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I saw Pacific Rim, the first one, in the movie theater.  I own the movie on bluray, I think.  If you were to ask me a single thing about that movie, I couldn’t answer it accurately.  It was a completely and utterly forgettable movie.  Was it fun?  Probably.  Did it look cool?  Most likely.  Was it a stupid plot?  Without a doubt.  So the real question is, why did a movie that was universally described that way, get a sequel?  Was it just to make money?  Well, Pacific Rim Uprising cost $150 million to make and I would be shocked if it makes that back.

Part of me feels bad for director Steven S. DeKnight.  This was his first feature film after a successful run in TV directing multiple episodes of Netflix’s Daredevil and CW’s Smallville.  DeKnight wrote this film as well as directed to which must mean that he really liked the first one.  I want to say that I admire that he got to complete a passion project by continuing a story that he felt a connection to but nothing about Pacific Rim Uprising felt like that.  From beginning to end this felt like a cash grab of epic proportion filled out with terrible writing, limited vision, phoned-in performances, and tragic execution.

This time around, John Boyega (Star Wars, Attack the Block) is the star.  He’s the son of Idris Elba (Thor, Beasts of No Nation), who was the star of the first one and is wisely not in this.  Remember, I saw the first one on more than one occasion; I still could not remember if Boyega was in the first one or not…he was not.  He’s joined by Scott Eastwood (Suicide Squad, The Fate of the Furious) who continues to prove that he only has a successful acting career because of his father, Clint.  The only performance that’s worth looking up at the screen for is from newcomer Cailee Spaneny who plays the stereotypical spunky young recruit who ends up saving the day.  Even Charlie Day (FX’s It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Horrible Bosses), who’s usually hilarious and great, gives one of the most embarrassing performances of his career.

I think one of the worst things about this film is that it’s the worst parts of every genre it pulls from.  It has the terrible “war film” cliches.  It has the predictable “disaster film” twists.  It bores you with the most awful examples from “family dramas.”  It was as if DeKnight wrote the script to prove how lame and cookie cutter he could make it in a dare for Hollywood to fund it.  I found out after the film that my friend that I took to the screening enjoyed it slightly more than me.  The more I started to press him on why, I found out that it was because he got high in the parking lot before he met me outside the theater.  I’m not a drug user but for the first time in my life, I was jealous that I wasn’t included.