Director: Steven S. DeKnight
Cast: John Boyega, Scott Eastwood, Charlie Day
Release Date: June 19, 2018
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 7/10
Disc Rating: 8/10
John Boyega (Star Wars series) is the rebellious Jake Pentecost, a once-promising Jaeger pilot whose legendary father gave his life to secure humanity’s victory against the monstrous “Kaiju”. Now an even more fearsome alien threat has been unleashed on the world and Jake is called back into action by his former co-pilot, Lambert (Scott Eastwood), and a 15-year-old Jaeger hacker, Amara (Cailee Spaeny). Rising up to become the most powerful defense force to ever walk the earth, they will set course for a spectacular all-new adventure on a towering scale.
Years after the cataclysmic battle that changed everything, Jake Pentecost (Boyega) the son of a legend whose daring and danger filled life of scavenging for a payday leads to an unexpected friendship with a tough and brilliant young girl (Spaeny) with a talent for hacking Jaeger tech. But after a daring, yet failed escape in a scrapped-together Jaeger of her own creation, Jake quickly finds himself forced back into the Jaeger program that he so abruptly gave up on years ago and reteamed with his old co-pilot (Eastwood) just in time to tackle the biggest threat their world has seen in years. And as the attacks continue to mysteriously mount against them it leads to a great deal of questions with the breach sealed so many years prior.
Directed this time around by Steven S. DeKnight (TV’s Daredevil, Angel) from a screenplay he additionally co-wrote with Emily Carmichael (TV’s The Adventures of Ledo and Ix), Kira Snyder (TV’s The Handmaid’s Tale) and T.S. Nowlin (The Maze Runner film franchise), DeKnight does a more than capable job at the helm of ‘Pacific Rim: Uprising’ which also marks his feature film directorial debut, capturing much of the style and stunning action of the original, albeit utilizing a notably lighter tone. The film also owes its share of credit to the cast which is comprised of many familiar faces and a few returning individuals from the first film, including John Boyega (Star Wars: The Last Jedi), Scott Eastwood (The Fate of the Furious), Tian Jing (Kong: Skull Island), Cailee Spaeny (Bad Times at the El Royale), Charlie Day (Hotel Artemis), Burn Gorman (Crimson Peak) and more, with the majority delivering pretty solid overall performances in each of their respective roles.
The long-awaited follow-up to 2013’s Guillermo Del Toro directed ‘Pacific Rim’; ‘Pacific Rim: Uprising’ jumps ahead in time to a world that even absent of their alien foes is still struggling to get back on its feet after the catastrophic battle that ended it all. Primarily following the son of legendary Jaeger pilot Stacker Pentecost (portrayed by Idris Elba in the first film) as he is thrust back into his father’s world and that which he left behind after being caught following his latest criminal endeavors. ‘Pacific Rim: Uprising’ certainly manages to deliver plenty of stunning visuals and big, explosive action sequences that result in one incredibly fun ride to say the least. At the same time, the film also feels notably different from its predecessor, namely in the consistently bright and flashy battle sequences which tend to occur in bright, clear daylight as opposed to the more common nighttime settings of the original whose tense or dangerous tone was often further accentuated by booming storms and the like, something that while still flashy and far less dark in tone than much of Del Toro’s work still exuded a somewhat grim and serious tone that the sequel largely abandons. Even with its share of downer moments and the regularly tense and life threatening scenarios it throws our characters in, it still feels much more hopeful and light, possibly in an attempt to gear the sequel slightly more to the younger audiences. It never quite manages to find that perfect balance that made the original work so perfectly, but still comes together as a thoroughly entertaining, gorgeous and pretty solid sequel for the most part. I would certainly encourage fans of the first film to make a point of giving ‘Pacific Rim: Uprising’ a watch when you have the chance, odds are any fan of its predecessor will find plenty to appreciate about this follow-up and should have a pretty great time taking the ride.
Overall, ‘Pacific Rim: Uprising’ is a big, visually spectacular sequel that serves up plenty of massive action sequences that are sure to dazzle fans of the original. Even while embracing a much lighter tone and atmosphere and never quite managing to reach that level of greatness that the original achieved, it’s a solid follow-up in most regards that should have little trouble slapping a smile on the face of fans and providing a truly enjoyable and fairly satisfying ride throughout. ‘Pacific Rim: Uprising’ is definitely recommended, especially for fans of the first film along with anyone that’s likely to appreciate a movie with a heavy focus on giant battling monsters and robots (you know who you are). It probably isn’t entirely necessary to see the first film in order to enjoy ‘Uprising’ although I would still strongly encourage folks to try and do so if at all possible considering it’s only liable to improve the experience. For anyone who fits the bill or is already interested in the movie to begin with, ‘Pacific Rim: Uprising’ should prove worthy of your time and the price of a rental at the absolute least.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Pacific Rim: Uprising’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.40:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks outstanding and delivers a sharp, detailed and richly colored presentation from start to finish that suffers no noticeable faults along the way. It holds up impressively even during the fast moving and heavily populated sequences, never allowing anything occurring on screen to become negatively affected, let alone rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a wonderful high definition video presentation from Universal that looks consistently spectacular and should easily thrill fans.
The Blu-ray release features a Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 channel compatible) soundtrack. Please note that this review pertains solely to the 7.1 channel Dolby TrueHD presentation. This multichannel soundtrack compliments the film splendidly and provides a crisp, clean and wildly aggressive presentation throughout. It constantly takes full advantage of all seven available channels in order to send a plethora of action effects along with plenty more regularly zipping throughout the various speakers as well as offering ample opportunity to let the bass strut its stuff as the robots’ booming footsteps and crashes serve up room shaking quantities of bass; all while making certain that any dialogue or other audio elements that might be occurring simultaneously remain clean and fully audible at all times. Overall, this is a magnificent Dolby Atmos (TrueHD 7.1 compatible) soundtrack that contributes heaps of additional fun to the overall viewing experience and shouldn’t disappoint in the slightest.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Pacific Rim: Uprising’ includes some decent extras that takes you deeper into bringing the sequel to life. Included on the release is an ‘Audio Commentary with Director Steven S. DeKnight’, in addition to a number of ‘Deleted Scenes with optional commentary by Steven S. DeKnight’ (running approximately 7 minutes in length altogether). We are also treated to a collection of brief Behind the Scenes Featurettes that explore different aspects of the film and feature interviews/comments with the cast and crew, plus some behind the scenes footage and more. The included Featurettes are: ‘Hall of Heroes’ (running approximately 3 minutes), ‘Bridge to Uprising’ (approximately 5 minutes), ‘The Underworld of Uprising’ (4 minutes), ‘Becoming Cadets’ (6 minutes), ‘Unexpected Villain’ (6 minutes), ‘Next Level Jaegers’ (5 minutes), ‘I Am Scrapper’ (3 minutes), ‘Going Mega’ (3 minutes), ‘Secrets of Shao’ (3 minutes) and ‘Mako Returns’ (2 minutes).