Pacific Rim Uprising: Pacific Rim Uprising: Chaotic, incoherent and no darn fun

Review: The likable, energetic John Boyega aside, nothing about this film is very good

The likable John Boyega briefly gets to chew through one of those bargain basement roles often found in ho-hum action sequels
Pacific Rim Uprising
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Director: Steven S DeKnight
Cert: 12A
Genre: Action
Starring: John Boyega, Scott Eastwood, Jing Tian, Cailee Spaeny, Rinko Kikuchi, Burn Gorman
Running Time: 1 hr 50 mins

Guillermo del Toro just about got away with Pacific Rim. After an indifferent performance at the US box office, the variation on the Japanese Kaiju genre – giant monsters from the deep – broke even thanks to strong returns in Asia. You'd imagine the Pacific Rim people, having dodged a bullet, would breathe a sigh of relief and work hard to ensure the sequel was extra-spiffing.

You'd imagine a lot of things. It looks as if they're not even trying here. To suggest that it doesn't have the charm of the original Godzilla is to understate the case. It doesn't have the charm of Roland Emmerich's notoriously ghastly Godzilla. It doesn't have the charm of the nuclear accident that created the original Godzilla.

The likable, energetic John Boyega briefly gets to chew through one of those bargain basement Prince Hal roles often found in ho-hum action sequels. (Similarities between Pacific Rim Uprising and Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2 are otherwise in short supply.)

Failing to honour the memory of his late dad, played by Idris Elba in the first film, Jake Pentecost (Boyega) has fallen into a life of mild debauchery and half-hearted irresponsibility. There's some dancing in futuristic discos. There's some snorting at the squares.


Then, more quickly than you can say “cutting room floor”, the opening plot is tidied away and Jake is directing his giant robot towards huge lizard things.

Nothing that happens is very good. What's tolerable is far from original. You won't need to be told that Jake ends up among a party of grunts who jape and josh in the manner of the space platoon from Aliens.

The film-makers, aware that much of Pacific Rim's underwater denouement was incomprehensible, have moved the closing action on to well-lit land, but the decision to downplay the lizards and go big on the robots is a dreadful mistake.

The one thing the world less needed than another Transformers film was another ersatz Transformers film.

Chaotic, incoherent, disorganised and, most unforgivable of all, no darn fun.

Donald Clarke

Donald Clarke

Donald Clarke, a contributor to The Irish Times, is Chief Film Correspondent and a regular columnist