Pacific Rim: Uprising [IMAX/3D]
This was an entertaining, albeit highly silly, ridiculous and narratively incoherent, piece of fluff film that felt a lot more like a high-budget, Sunday morning entertainment à la The Power Rangers or a live-action Voltron wannabe. It lacked the visceral action, visual panache, characters/actors chemistry and high-stakes value that made the original Guillermo del Toro film so memorable and, retrospectively, exciting (despite its also clunky plot). The over-pandering to the Chinese audience was also intrusively blatant and really affected the overall enjoyment. That is what you get when Wanda bought over Legendary.
The plot made sense in a very loose sort of way. This was one of those films where you just got to check your brains and logic and sensibility at the door, and just go with the flow. Take things as they come, accept the plot contrivances for what they are, and then it will be much more enjoyable. Don't question the logic. That is the simplest way to enjoy this film.
The presence of four credited writers was also clearly felt through. It was a mish-mash of tone and ideas that director Steven S. DeKnight tried to rein in, but ultimately failed.
DeKnight lacked the vision that del Toro has, but he still made this sequel unique in his own way. For one, everything is much brighter here. But with the brightness comes the glaring inauthenticity of the Kaijus and the CGI landscapes. The action sequences lacked clarity even in the daylight - which was something that del Toro mastered with the autueristic fight sequences in the dark. And with those lackluster sequences, it is hard to root for the heroes.
The one good thing DeKnight did was keep the pacing up. It was fast, things happen, and story ends. All in a sweet 111 minutes. No fuss, no muss, but also not much of an adrenaline kick.
There was humour in this film, mostly courtesy of John Boyega who, after stints in the Star Wars universe, offered audiences another glimmer to his wry sense of British humour which was so apparent in his breakout hit Attack the Block. However, in this instance, the humour, though present, mostly fell flat-ish. This was mainly because of his scene-partners. He had no chemistry either with Scott Eastwood or Cailee Spaeny.
Eastwood, he is an irony. He is perfectly cast as the pretty, all-American hero but yet his "acting" leaves much to be desired - and DeKnight sure loves to zoom up on his face! - although in this case, the leaden acting actually suited his poorly-written character. Oh well, just enjoy his face.
Spaeny was clearly set up to be a Kick-Ass-esque Chloe Grace Moretz. Let us just say that being a poor version of Moretz is a compliment.
Rinko Kikuchi was absolutely wasted. She should not have came back. Her presence made Charlie Hunnam's and Idris Elba's absence profoundly felt.
And then we have a slew of Chinese actors, who - to be honest - are in this film because the Wanda Group now owns Legendary.
Cinematography was capably handled by Dan Mindel, but like aforementioned, the film lacked the visual panache of the original which was lensed by Guillermo Navarro. Music was suitably rousing and provided by Lorne Balfe.
Pacific Rim: Uprising was an entertaining film, but it tried too hard to have continuity with the now-superior original, and was definitely not worth the price of IMAX or 3D.