Pacific Rim Uprising – 2018

Director Steven S. DeKnight
Screenplay by Emily Carmichael, Kira Snyder, Steven S. DeKnight, T.S. Nowlin
Starring  John Boyega, Scott Eastwood, Jing Tian, Cailee Spaeny, Rinko Kikuchi, Burn Gorman, Adria Arjona, Zhang Jin, Charlie Day

My friend Cool Poppin’ Taco says that I am the Oprah of movie reviewers.

“You get a star!,” he says, “You get a star! And you get a star! Everybody get’s stars!”

In the first few minutes of Pacific Rim Uprising with C.P.T., something happens that completely sinks the idea that I might give the film the requisite plethora of kudos. By the time we were half way through the film, I looked at him and said “No stars.”

When the film completed, I had amended that projection only slightly.

This film is a pile of garbage. The only way they can save us from a prematurely planned connection to Legendary Pictures’ MonsterVerse is if the Asian market realizes this and doesn’t give it the requisite boost expected by it’s creators. The film has a considerable amount of Asian talent. Misused, for the most part, like everything else in this movie. That the second half takes place in Japan is a conceit designed to pump up sales for a market believed to value monsters over content.

The plot is bad. It’s got everything one expects, the moment they expect it. If you leave for popcorn, you can guarantee the film will not lose you with any level of detail. The one twist in the film gets the half star because at least they had the guts to do it, even if you know it’s coming.

After two somewhat underwritten parts in his Star Wars films, it was hopeful that Boyega might have had a role with some meat on it this time. His character, the son of Elba’s hero from the first film, is clunky, charmless and over done. The only thing matching is the accent.

The fact that he is teamed with a young hotshot kid who’s like a combination of every over achieving bilge rat ever doesn’t help. She even creates a robot called “Scrappy,” that’s much smaller than the other Jaegers in the film. Two points if you can guess who pulls out the win at the end of the film.

The obvious point to the film is not to tell a new story, but to shoehorn something between the first story and the numerous movies they want to pile on after it. Why not? It works for the Transformer films.

That I like those films better than this one is hard to justify. It’s all crap. In this case, though, it’s crap realizing it’s following a metric ton of damage in films. It wants to have that, but play like it’s all fair game.

There’s a point in the last act where all hell is breaking loose. The citizens are running to and fro, just like in the old, classic Godzilla films. It even looks intentionally corny (at least I think it was intentional). In the midst of the chaos, we see, maybe 1/3 of a group of people scramble into some tube like thing. Next thing we know, the general in charge of looking concerned mentions that all of the citizens of the populace are secured in their protective hatches.

First of all, no. A bunch of those folks even we see clearly didn’t make it.

Secondly, this is supposed to be a signal to the viewer that all the damage we see from so many high risers from here on out is cool, because, you know…the people are in the tubes.

There’s no accounting for how they are ever going to get out and who the hell is going to clean up the mess.

Much of the last half of the film consisted of open laughter coming from the crowd in our theater. I haven’t heard this many laughs in a movie that didn’t intend them. C.P.T. and I spent much of our time volunteering which film they took which cliches from. The least creative choices for theft is the training sequence from Rocky IV  The most original stolen idea: the incremental change rounder from Office Space.

Some people will enjoy this film. I really can’t say why they should. The fight scenes are sloppy, hurried and clearly thought to be inconsequential in the grand scheme of things. There are no moments of build up, unless one counts birds flying hurriedly at the last second. The end is an insult to those already insulted by every minute preceding.

If you choose to see it once, it’s doubtful its something you’ll think to watch again sober.

(1/2* out of *****)

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