Pacific Rim: Uprising is the long awaited for sequel to the 2013 science fiction movie Pacific Rim. I was finally able to see it over the weekend, and well, I have thoughts. Warning: this post may contain spoilers.
The film opens with Jake Pentecost, son of Marshal Stacker Pentecost, who, if you have forgotten, died heroically in the first movie. So, we have Jake who is describing the state of the world since the Breach was closed ten years earlier and ended the Kaiju threat. He tells the audience how the world has attempted to move on, but it has been difficult. The opening scenes show Jake at a party in a giant mansion, but we soon discover that Jake has been leading a seedier lifestyle than one may have assumed given his father’s name and heroic acts. He has been thieving Jaeger technology from decommissioned Jaegers to sell on the black market. It seems that people have been attempting to make their own Jaegers but often fail.
On one of these thieving expeditions, Jake encounters Amara Namani, a teenager who has built herself a fairly functioning and stable Jaeger. We get to see the Jaeger, which she calls Scrapper, in action as the two flee from the police and an official Jaeger. The two are eventually caught and taken into custody. While in custody, fans get their first glimpse of Mako Mori as she holograms in to speak with Jake and tell him that he will be returning to the pilot program along with Amara. Jake as a trainer and Amara as a cadet. Jake is less than thrilled about this notion, as he left the program years earlier.
The two are whisked off to the Shatterdome base located in China. We are then introduced to Ranger Nate Lambert, who used to know Jake when he was a cadet. The two immediately buttheads because Nate disapproves of Jake’s lifestyle, while Jake is brooding about being stuck as a pilot again. Mako enlists Jake and Nate to pilot a Jaeger as a bodyguard while she meets with a council to decide if they should invest in Liwen Shao’s latest technology, which is remotely piloted Jaegers. Before the council can convene a rogue Jaeger attacks the city. This attack sparks the major plot points for the rest of the film so I won’t go too into detail to avoid major spoilers.
What I really enjoy about this movie, and its predecessor, is that the foundation for this world has already been set. We did not have to sit through a long origin story of how the Kaiju began attacking the world. I find that occasionally, origin stories can be a bit boring. This is a world that has been under attack and has had the time to develop technology to fight the threat.
I thought that this film really brought in more strong, female characters. Don’t get me wrong, Jon Boyega and Scott Eastwood play their characters wonderfully, but the introduction as Cailee Spaeny as Amara and Jing Tian as Liwen Shao, as well as Adria Arjona as Julie Reyes really shows that these women are here to fight just as hard as the men. We were able to see that with Mako Mori in the first film. I am glad that they brought on more female leads for this second installment.
Another thing I really loved about this film is that it is genuinely funny. There are quite a few witty one-liners, primarily from Jake, throughout the movie. In the opening scenes when he is discussing why he steals, his primary reasons are to trade the tech for food items such as cookies and sriracha hot sauce. He also often lightens the mood by making jokes about how beautiful he is (I can’t really disagree with this one. Have you seen Jon Boyega?). Jake and Amara immediately form a sibling like a relationship, meaning that they immediately begin bickering back and forth.
Overall, I gave the movie 3 and a half stars. I felt that it delivered well on being a sequel to the first movie, while also bringing its own characteristics to the table. The action scenes were pretty awesome. I mean, there is a Jaeger with a lightning whip and I don’t think there is anything cooler.