PACIFIC RIM UPRISING | Not Necessary and Not Completely Woeful

In 2013 Guillermo del Toro released a movie that was literally Transformers (that didn’t transform) against Godzilla-like creatures. PACIFIC RIM smashed onto the screen to very polar reviews. It was a movie with robots fighting giant dinosaur-like monsters, I was hooked. It was a movie that required little concentration, demanded a HUGE screen and was simply a fun and original-idea movie. Although mostly a mashing of monster movies and robot movies a studio let it loose on the world, something rare for an original screenplay.

It cost just under $200MIL to make and made just over $400MIL at the box office. Not HUGE on box office taking but no one would be complaining on a 200% return. Critics weren’t the biggest of fans and there was never any need or talk about a sequel for a while, but here we are. PACIFIC RIM UPRISING is out 5yrs later. It releases today, March 22nd in Australia from the fine folks at Universal Pictures Australia. It is rated M and runs for 111mins.


Pacific Rim Uprising Cailee Spaeny, John Boyega and Scott Eastwood image
Cailee Spaeny, John Boyega and Scott Eastwood




The Kaiju have been gone for a few years. The Jaeger program is still present but a lot less active. The SHAO Corporation is set to launch drone Jaegers to replace pilots. SHAO Corp is working with the ever annoying Charlie Day’s Dr. Newton Geiszler in the design and release. Idris Elba’s Stacker Pentecost’s son (John Boyega) is a thieving slacker living and partying in an abandoned beachside mansion following the previous destruction of a lot of Earth’s cities and is caught stealing Jaeger parts with 15yr old Amara Namani (Cailee Spaeny). Namani has built a smaller illegal Jaeger and the two of them are shipped off to Jaeger pilot HQ. Boyega’s Jake Pentecost used to be a Jaeger pilot but washed out. 

On the pre-launch announcement of the drones a rogue Jaeger rises from Sydney Harbour and battles the Gipsy Avenger, piloted by Jake Pentecost and Nate Lambert (Scott Eastwood), things do not go well. This fast tracks the drones which aren’t what they seem and things go pear shaped, Kaiju’s rise, and shit gets real while Tokyo gets decimated. But the Japanese will love it because it is so Godzilla without mentioning the word Godzilla, hell, even the final battle is over Mt Fuji. Mark my words – #1 film in Japan this year!!


Pacific Rim Uprising Burn Gorman and Charlie Day image
Burn Gorman and Charlie Day



Kernel Jack summed it up best last night in post screening Messenger de-brief. “It was simultaneously fucking terrible and fucking amazing.” Haha – spoke my thoughts. This movie NEVER needed to be made. Charlie Hunnam did not return as the lead, Del Toro did not return as the director, and the first movie was a decent stand alone. It was better than expected but nowhere near as enjoyable as the first one. A lot of people will disagree with me because poor old Jacks aka Hunnam is not the most liked actor, I have loved him ever since the opening scene of QUEER AS FOLK but that is a different story haha.

The special effects aren’t as good as the first film although this is made five years later, the screenplay isn’t anywhere near as good and while the first act is fantastic, the second act good, the third act fizzles into Kaiju turd dipped in cheese. Although I should remind myself and everyone else, we are watching a movie about giant robots fighting giant monsters. The fighting is key and the fighting is fun, some of the hits are awesome, the trashing of cities, namely Sydney and Tokyo, is larger than any Batman or Superman (or both) movies combined but by the end this just bored me.


With that being said, it is actually a lot more fun and enjoyable than I was imagining. Seeing Dr. Newton Geiszler and Dr. Hermann Gottlieb back, as annoying as they are, gave it a little nostalgia. And tying Boyega’s character to the legendary Stacker Pentecost was smart. Then seeing most of the first act filmed in Sydney and the Gold Coast received a lot of claps from the Sydney Premiere audience. And the film had a good twist I wasn’t expecting, it gets some point for that alone.


Pacific Rim Cailee Spaeny image
Cailee Spaeny



The negatives aside the movie proved one thing for me. I really like John Boyega onscreen. I need to see him for more than Finn in Star Wars and what we got was a cocky and much more powerful actor than we have seen in Star Wars. His comic timing is on point and he can carry a lead roll. He actually way out-classed Scott Eastwood in this. PACIFIC RIM UPRISING did lack the strength of a seasoned actor like Idris Elba but the younger cast, most notably Cailee Spaeny as Amara Namani, did light up the screen a little and open the movie to a younger viewing audience.

I was stoked to see Aussie Rahart Adams (NOWHERE BOYS, EMO: THE MUSICAL) as one of the cadets with Namani but then shocked he was only shown a few times and given absolutely no lines and completely disappeared by the middle of the movie. For an actor popular with the youth of Australia he should have been given more to do!


Pacific Rim Uprising Jaeger image



It’s Robots V Dinosaurs, if you want to see that kind of movie or if you absolutely loved the first PACIFIC RIM movie then get out and see PACIFIC RIM UPRISING. If decent screenplay, effects and memorable movies are more your thing avoid this like the plague.





 owns, writes and edits Salty Popcorn and Spooning Australia. He is a movie, food, restaurant, wine, chocolate, bacon, burger and brussels sprouts addict. He is a member of the Australian Film Critics Association and has been in the  industry for 26yrs. Furthermore he loves watching people trip over and is Leonardo DiCaprio’s biggest fan. 

** Images used are courtesy of various sources on Google or direct from the distributor or publisher. Credit has been given to photographers where known – images will be removed on request.