Written by Fajar Binti Benjamin
Pacific Rim: Uprising, as described by my friend, is the “Perfect Popcorn Movie”. You don’t go in to concentrate on the details and analyse the characters’ motives. You go in to see some robots smash into each other while you exercise your jaw over a large popcorn bucket. Once you start letting just the smallest number of neurons fire around your brain after the movie, the whole thing crumbles apart.
As someone who has never seen the first Pacific Rim, the basic gist I’ve concluded about it is this: Giant alien monsters (Kaiju) wanted to destroy earth. Humans decided the best way to combat that was to build giant robots (Jaegers) that must be operated from within by a team of two people, as the strain of controlling a giant robot is too much to bear on one mind. No one had a better plan, apparently. Some dude blew himself up to save the world, and it was a Very Heroic Sacrifice.
In this sequel movie, we follow John Boyega’s character as the son of the dude who blew himself up in the previous one. He’s quite the typical “my dad was a hero but I’m not, despite being even more talented than him at heroing, whatchu gonna do about it?” type. He meets a girl, the “my family died before my eyes, I grew up on the streets, I’m somehow so genius that I taught myself how to build ROBOTS, tough as nails” type. The company in charge of the Jaegers catches up to both of them and whisks them away just in time before everything starts falling apart after 10 years of peace.
I can’t be too mad at the film for doing what it’s supposed to do. In recent years, we’ve seen action movies take a turn for the more complex, especially when it comes to comic book films or book to movie adaptations. So coming back into this world where our heroes smash through buildings sure to be full of civilians, use cars with people still in them as snowballs, and break out of the atmosphere with absolutely no protection before crashing back in was jarring – to put it kindly.
What I will say for this film is that it’s diverse. The cadets in training are all from different parts of the world, and the badass female ™ of this film was played by the so-beautiful-she’s-scary Jing Tian. Clint Eastwood and John Boyega look nothing alike, though John Boyega gleefully champions them both as “sexy” and “handsome”. Amara, the teenage protagonist played by Cailee Spaeny, is neither creepily sexualised (like in Transformers 5) nor is she there as a token character (also Transformers 5). It can even be argued that she plays the most pivotal role, if not the standout and most likeable performance of the movie.
However, if you’re looking to laugh, this definitely isn’t the film. The most it could draw from the audience was exasperated sighs at the flat attempts at “humour”. Its strengths lie in the scenes featuring the cadets’ interactions, the well-directed action sequences and the few minutes we get to spend with the villain and his best friend. All things considered, I’d give this movie a 2/5 rating. Go watch it, or don’t. Personally, I’d save my cash in anticipation of Ready Player One or Infinity War.