Pacific Rim: Uprising is a visually impressive but vapidly empty sci-fi action-er with mostly paper-thin characters, though they try giving Boyega more to work with, but I’m kind of over destruction porn and the third act takes it up a notch and an ending that sequel-baits.
Pacific Rim: Uprising
Genre(s): Science Fiction, Action, Fantasy
Universal | PG13 – 111 min. – $37.98 | June 19, 2018
Date Published: 06/12/2018 | Author: The Movieman
Universal Pictures Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post.
The opinions I share are my own.
THE MOVIE — 2.25/5
The first Pacific Rim came out five years ago, directed by fan favorite filmmaker Guillermo del Toro, though the box office was decent, but not good enough to get a sequel off the ground right away. Del Toro eventually would walk focusing his efforts on other projects, staying on as a producer (perhaps in name only). Now we got Pacific Rim: Uprising.
The film is a vapid visual feast with little character development and enough destruction porn that will satisfy anyone who gets their rocks off seeing structures being destroyed and robots hitting one another; course we got all of that five times over with the Transformers franchise… At least Uprising had the decency to be 40-minutes shorter. For that, I thank the filmmakers.
Pacific Rim: Uprising takes place 10 years following the events of the first film. While most of the world has begun to recover after the destruction brought on by the Kaiju creatures before the opening from their world is finally closed off, but not without massive casualties. One such casualty was Stacker Pentecost (played by Idris Elba), whose son Jake (JOHN BOYEGA) was once a cadet before leaving the academy and now lives on the streets, bartering to get some money to party. In the regions that have not recovered, there is a black market for scrap parts from defunct Jaegers, giant robots that can take on the Kaiju, and some utilize them to build their own machines.
When Jake chases down someone who took a Jaeger part he needed, Jake discovers that a girl named Amara (CAILEE SAPENY) has built a mini-Jaeger of her own. Soon, however, the authorities close in and after a valiant fight with a genuine Jaeger, she and Jake are both arrested. Faced with time in prison, his sister Mako Mori (RINKO KIKUCHI) offers he can’t refuse: return to the academy to serve as an instructor to the new recruits, including Amara.
At the base, Jake reunites with his drifting partner, the hard-ass with GQ model looks Nate Lambert (SCOTT EASTWOOD), though there’s no love lost between the two. As they work through their differences and find some civility, major change is in the air when the Shao Company, under the leadership of Liwen Shao (TIAN JING), has developed drone technology placed inside the Jaeger machines, effectively eliminating the necessity for pilots. I’m sure nothing will go wrong.
Pacific Rim: Uprising is more or less Transformers with robots going up against robots, with a few monsters thrown in here for the finale. It’s got the same kind of cardboard cutout characters with little personality and a ton of carnage with buildings being crashed into and even some skyscrapers being cut down to use as weapons. I generally have hated the Transformers franchise as I found them mind-numbingly unentertaining and I can use that exact description with Uprising. There’s no personality or style behind this sequel and my patience grew thin as the destruction porn kicked up a few notches.
If I had a couple positives I can say, the visual effects were decent (so win?) though that’s pretty minor considering the advancement in technology. The other thing I did like, John Boyega, mainly because he did at least get something to do and have an actual character arc, something missing for The Last Jedi, and he is a solid actor and does get to showcase some talent, which is saying something with such a bland script and insipid action scenes.
The rest of the cast are pretty much filler. I like Scott Eastwood but roles in this and The Fate of the Furious don’t lend to anything memorable and for Uprising, there’s not much to his character, other than being a stick in the mud and Charlie Day hams it up as Charlie Day does.
Steven S. DeKnight takes over directing duties in his first big budget feature (well, his first feature period) coming out of the TV world with three episodes of Angel, two for Smallville and one for Dollhouse and Daredevil each, with more credits as an executive producer on those respective shows. There’s nothing that really stands out in terms of his direction, not bad and I didn’t think the pacing was off, as any issues with the film was with the script — of course, DeKnight is credited with two others there — with subpar character development (even by big budget action-adventure standards) and a downright dull plot.
In the end, Pacific Rim: Uprising just isn’t a very good movie but unlike the Transformers franchise, I can’t say I ever got angry or found it tedious, just uninvolving on all fronts. Of course, I wasn’t fond of the first movie either, so take that into consideration.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 3.0/5
This release comes with a glossy and title-embossed slip cover. Included is a redemption code for the Digital HD copy. All of the features are included on both the UHD and BD, the former shown in 2160p and the latter in 1080p.
Deleted Scenes (6:56) – There are 8 deleted scenes here, including one with a cameo by filmmaker James Gunn playing a DJ, that don’t really amount to much in terms of adding to the characters. Comes with an optional commentary with DeKnight.
Hall of Heroes (3:25) is a featurette hosted by Boyega, providing background on the Jaegers.
Bridge to Uprising (4:39) looks at the time between the first movie and the sequel and where to take it story and character wise.
The Underworld of Uprising (3:47) is on the apocalyptic zones post the first movie where certain parts of the world are more or less dystopian and civilization is run by stealing and bartering.
Becoming Cadets (5:58) covers the new recruits and the actors who portray them.
Unexpected Villain (5:48) reveals the film’s villain, so don’t watch before seeing the movie.
Next Level Jaegers (5:08) introduces us to the new fighting machines and their designs.
I Am Scrapper (2:42) looks at the Jaeger built by Cailee Spaeny’s character.
Going Mega (3:21) is on the destructive Kaiju creatures that combine together to wreck even more havoc on Tokyo.
Secrets of Shao (3:14) – This featurette delves into the Shao Liwen character and her company.
Mako Returns (2:08) is on the appearance of actress Rinko Kikuchi.
Audio Commentary – Director Steven DeKnight gives his insights and approach to directing the sequel and gets into the weeds with some of the more technical aspects.
Previews – Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Tremors: A Cold Day in Hell, Skyscraper
4K VIDEO – 5.0/5, BD VIDEO – 5.0/5
|Pacific Rim: Uprising comes to 4K UHD presented in its original 2.40 widescreen aspect ratio, a 2160p high-definition transfer and HEVC/H.265 codec. This is a great looking presentation with sharp and well defined detail showing off excellent textures from the suits the pilots/cadets wear to each dimple on an actor’s face. Colors appear natural in appearance and there is a nice boost from the HDR.
The 1080p high-def Blu-ray is nothing to sneeze at either. Although comparatively it may not be as sharp and colors don’t have an extra enhancement to them, this still looks amazing.
4K/BD AUDIO – 5.0/5
|Both the 4K UHD and Blu-ray discs come accompanied with a Dolby Atmos track and as you might imagine, it does sound absolutely incredible. Not only are dialogue levels comes through the center channel with great clarity, the depth takes things up a notch for the numerous action sequences, not only reverberating through the room utilizing every speaker, but the LFE kicks in for that extra measure that will shake the floors and walls, but with brilliant dispersion rather than just being a loud soundtrack.|
OVERALL – 3.25/5
Overall, Pacific Rim: Uprising is a visually impressive but vapidly empty sci-fi action-er with mostly paper-thin characters, though they try giving Boyega more to work with compared to Finn in Star Wars, but I’m kind of over destruction porn and the third act takes it up a notch and an ending that, as most franchises do nowadays, sequel-baits. More forgettable bad than terrible, I suppose if you enjoyed the first movie or any of the Transformers movies, this might be worth a rental. This 4K/Blu-ray combo pack comes with amazing video/audio transfers and an okay set of features.
The screen captures came from the Blu-ray copy and are here to add visuals to the review and do not represent the 4K video.