Tokyo destroyed yet again

RECRUIT: John Boyega plays Jake Pentecost, a thief who becomes a jaeger pilot in Pacific Rim: Uprising.

Pacific Rim: Uprising

  • Sci-fi; Cert R13, contains violence; 1hr 51mins
  • Starring: John Boyega, Scott Eastwood, Cailee Spaeny, Rinko Kikuchi, Tean Jing, Charlie Day, Burn Gorman and Max Martini
  • Director: Steven S Deknight

PACIFIC Rim: Uprising – a crossover of the Kaiju (monster) genre popular in 1950s and Japanese Mecha Anime – wanders a path between brilliant and absurd.

That is not to say it is not fun to watch. Though the story-telling tends to jump from one barely-realised scene to the next, the pace suspends disbelief long enough for the story to play out.

Taking place 10 years after the Kaiju wars of the original 2013 blockbuster, the monsters are gone but the planet has not fully recovered.

A cohort of young people living among the ruins of the damaged cities profit by stealing parts off giant warrior robots (jaegars) – now decommissioned and stored in giant warehouses.

Two such thieves – played by John Boyega (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) and first-timer Cailee Spaeny are arrested during a robbery. Because of their piloting and mechanical skills, they are given the choice between prison or joining a skeleton crew of young jaeger pilots on guard duty.

When an assassination attempt reveals the existence of a criminal group, it is up to the new recruits to stop them from taking over the world.

In this off-balance sequel, the storyline’s potential is too often lost in the rock-’em, sock-’em rabbit hole of the action sequences. The script, by a five-person writing team, has a schizophrenic narrative that bounces between insightful and silly.

This sequel lends heavily from the original filming style that allows the viewer to actually see the fighting clearly with steadycam shots instead of the jerky, cut-too-soon style of movies like Transformers.

The subplots centred around two characters featured in the original – played by Burn Gorman (Crimson Peak) and Charlie Day (Horrible Bosses) – bring in the movie’s best comic scenes and help set up the film’s final showdown.