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Opening nearly five years ago in 2013, Guillermo del Toro‘s “Pacific Rim” was far from a cultural milestone upon release. Handsomely produced with del Toro’s obsessive attention to detail, the Kaiju monster mash movie eluded both mainstream success and widespread critical approval. The Mexican director’s film had its diehard fans (myself included), but the mishmash of disparate influences (Japanese animation, old monster movies, art deco architecture) proved too much for the masses. However, “Pacific Rim” did connect with and and and make a ton of movie in China, which was enough to begin development on a sequel. Unfortunately, that follow-up, “Pacific Rim Uprising,” feels like a betrayal of everything that the original film set up and stood for, playing more like an episode of a low budget Saturday morning cartoon series than a big, bells-and-whistles Hollywood extravaganza.
‘Uprising’ takes place ten years after the climactic events of the first “Pacific Rim.” Even though they had seemingly closed “the Breach” (the gateway between our world and a hostile alien dimension), production on jaegers, the building-sized robots designed to combat giant monsters entering our world, has continued (this is one of the first red flags that this entry doesn’t give a **** about what came before, considering that in the first movie the Jaeger program was in its last legs and on the brink of shutdown). Jake Pentecost (John Boyega), the never-mentioned-in-the-original-film son of Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba, seen only in photos), is recruited to train a new generation of pilots (or, as they’re referred to, “Rangers”). He does so reluctantly, and only after discovering a kid (Cailee Spaeny) has put together her own Jaeger out of junk parts (its name is Scrapper). Additional intrigue arrives in the form of a rogue Jaeger and mystery surrounding the launch of a new drone program...
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