Review by J.T. Johnson
DIRECTOR: Steven S. DeKnight
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Dan Mindel
WRITERS: Emily Carmichael, Kira Snyder, Steven S. DeKnight, T.S. Nowlin
MUSIC: Lorne Balfe
In 2013, director Guillermo del Toro released “Pacific Rim” and I must admit that I was not nearly as blown away as I thought I should have been. One of the biggest reasons for this was an uninteresting lead character played by Charlie Hunnam who gave shall we say a less than stellar performance. Idris Elba was a far more interesting character, but unfortunately they killed him off by the end of the movie.
The new movie follows John Boyega as Jake Pentecost, the son of Elba’s character from the first film. He has pretty much become a small time smuggler since the war with the monstrous Kaiju ended ten years ago. After being busted, he is told that he can either go to prison or rejoin the Pan-Pacific Defense Corps as an instructor for new recruits.
Soon enough, a new threat emerges that will reopen the breaches to the Kaiju’s homeworld. Jake and his recruits, along with his partner Nate Lambert (Scott Eastwood), must rise up to take on the new threat. Of course, we’re not here for character development or some deep story.
What we want to see is plenty of robots fighting monsters. This film definitely gives us that, whether it is taking on rogue Jaegers (the robots piloted by the humans) or the inevitable return of the Kaiju themselves. Thankfully, the film also benefits from the leading man charms of Boyega, an actor that has really stood out over the last few years thanks to his role as Finn in the current “Star Wars” trilogy.
Boyega’s character has the most development due to his involvement with one of the original film’s main characters. There’s nothing new about him in the leading man department. He is simply a young man that is still angry with his dead father and the fact that he has to live in his dad’s shadow. Thankfully, though, Boyega makes the character just a tad more interesting with his good performance.
My biggest problem with this film is something that is plaguing other big budget films at the moment. Universal Pictures wants this to be a massive franchise, so the ending of the film blatantly sets up a sequel, making me once again feel like I didn’t get a complete experience. I’ve said this before that I don’t mind franchise building, but not if it comes at the expense of the story in the film being featured.
I don’t really know what else I can say about this film and this may be one of my shorter reviews as a result. The highlights of the film are improved action sequences and a more charming lead. Beyond that, though, there is not really much more I can say.
If you want mindless action featuring robots that is at least more bearable than other films such as “Transformers”, then this may be your ticket. If you’re looking for anything more than that, then you won’t find it here.