All original written content is (c) 2018 Mike Pascale. Visual content is (c) its respective owners. Bru-Hed art is ©2012 and a trademark of All Ages Media and Mike Pascale.
It’s 10 years after the “final” fight between giant alien monsters (called “Kaiju”) and giant robots (“Jaegers”) of the Pan Pacific Defense Corps. Now, a large Japanese corporation and its hard-as-Hades CEO Lian Shao (Tian “Great Wall/Kong: Skull Island” Jing) has come up with “drone robots” to eliminate the need for soldiers inside the battle machines. Former cadet and current rebel Jake Pentecost (John Boyega, aka the rebooted Star Wars’ Finn) the son of Idris Elba’s heroic previous PACIFIC RIM character, joins up again with new recruit Amari Namani (Cailee Spaeny) to prove that people are still needed to battle the baddies, regardless of what form the latter take. And what secrets are the two returning scientists Hermann Gottlieb and Newton Gieszler (Burn “Torchwood” Gorman and Charlie “Always Sunny In Philadelphia” Day) hiding?
Written by Steven S. DeKnight & Emily Carmichael & Kira Snyder and T.S. Nowlin (based on characters created by Travis Beacham). Directed by Steven S. DeKnight (SPARTACUS plus TV’s ANGEL, SMALLVILLE and Netflix’s DAREDEVIL).
- Again, let’s start with the obvious: Special effects and action! Literally tons (hundreds of tons) of massive, building-sized ‘bots battling even bigger ones and even-bigger-than-that monsters. The tech runs high, combining TRANSFORMERS with MINORITY REPORT, GODZILLA with THE LEGO NINJAGO MOVIE. Effects are as good as they should be, and the battles are bigger than ever. Remember those old ‘zilla flicks where the guy in the rubber creature costume would walk through toy buildings like a toddler through blocks? Same here, except it looks and sounds a lot more real.
- Weapons, stunts and fight scenes are even better than the first one. Just lots of fun.
- Casting: Though Elba was the best part of the first movie, Boyega does an great job himself. Maybe due to his SW experience, he can pull off being the main lead here easily. Totally different character, though (right down to his native Brit accent), which is welcome. He’s confident without being arrogant, rebellious without being a dick. I liked him and rooted for him; same with his cute co-star Spaeny, even though she didn’t show any bod. Day and Gorman are purposely over-the-top geek/mad scientists but not quite caricatures. Jing is good as the tough broad CEO, despite the thick accent, and the soldiers (including Scott Eastwood, son of Clint) all do their jobs fine—pick out your stereotype and they’re all there.
- There’s still the usual required character development and growth, with each revealing things about their pasts, having to prove something to others and/or themselves, or having to learn a valuable lesson, yadda, yadda, yadda. (Just gimme more monsters).
- A few didn’t-see-that (and a few saw-it-coming) plot twists plus plenty of suspense, even if you knew the filmmakers can’t have the entire earth destroyed and ruin any chances of a sequel.
- After some quick end main titles, there’s another scene to (generally) set up another sequel, but not a cliff-hanger.
- Seemed to be a little lighter on the amount of battles compared to the first one, but that may be my memory. There’s a minor one in the beginning, a couple in the middle, and the grande finale “combo” at the end. Too much “story” and “character dev” to please the critics I think (who will hate this anyway, so why even bother? You could put robots and monsters into SCHINDLER’S LIST and those uptight Rotten Tomato-type a-holes would still pan it.)
- Definitely less monsters and more robots, so depending on your preferred type of giant, that may be good or bad.
- SUSPENSION OF DISBELIEF DEPT: Films like this shouldn’t even count. The whole neural bonding “drifting” thing that’s used between the soldier-operators to fight inside Jaegers just makes my beer brain hurt. Throw in the tens of billions of dollars of (mostly reckless and needless) damage to major cities, tiny people surviving inside ginormous machines being tossed through buildings and in the air, and aliens opening up dimensional rifts to take over the world and you have no business turing on your brain. (In one scene, fleeing frightened folks fill the streets, some are flattened by a giant boot, and less than a minute later, an announcement is made that “everyone in the city” has been evacuated to underground shelters. Pretty efficient, those Japanese!)
- The whole cadets conflict/proving themselves/putting-aside-differences to fight together will definitely seem too obvious/cliche to anyone with a working cranium who decides against my advice to switch it on.
- Plenty of decent-looking chicks, mostly young cadets in training, and not a single shower or even undies scene? Blasphemy!
- Alien acid blood that burns human skin? Gee, where have we seen that before?
- I still don’t understand the connection between Jaegers and Jaegermeister. I would not recommend drinking the latter while operating the former.
If massive monsters and monstrous machines knocking the tar out each other is your type of thing, you will need to go big rather than go home. The whole point of giant-scale stars is to be seen on as big a screen as possible. If you absolutely must wait for cable/streaming, at least put your face up to the screen to get a proper scale. I only saw this in DFX, but I bet 3D IMAX probably works well, as well as D-BOX (where the seats move, vibrate and shake), if you have the dough to burn. I still think it could have been better, though, so let’s hope the next one has more monsters and fights and less “film school” stuff.
P.S.: Pick up some battling bot and marauding monster artwork! Pascale loves drawing big fights as well as guys and gals in tights. He can pencil or ink something awesomely scaled at an awesomely cheap price.Just ask Craig here!