‘Pacific Rim Uprising’ proves a worthy successor to del Toro’s vision

By Alec Heaton

As a child, one of my favorite things to do was to dump out my toybox and let my imagination run wild as I pitted my action figures against each other in one huge deathmatch. “Pacific Rim: Uprising,” released March 23,  allowed me to relive those fond memories and proved to be a fun, entertaining thrill ride.

Director Steven S. DeKnight took the reins of the budding franchise of giant robots, called jaegers, battling giant inter-dimensional monsters, called kaiju, from Guillermo del Toro and managed to provide a satisfying sequel.

The film achieved a $28 million domestic opening weekend, according to Box Office Mojo. Despite having a slightly lower opening than its predecessor, “Uprising” has thus far had considerable success in international markets, making over $120 million.

Despite del Toro, Charlie Hunnam and Idris Elba not returning to the cast, the film stands well on its own and has a simple, yet effective execution.

Set ten years after the original, John Boyega leads the charge as Jake Pentecost, the son of Elba’s character from the first film. Boyega’s charisma truly shines throughout the film, making some of the slower moments far more enjoyable with his likeable screen presence. Between this performance and his role in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and “The Last Jedi,” I’m eager to see where his career leads.

Charlie Day, Burn Gorman and Rinko Kikuchi reprise their roles, and cast newcomers include Scott Eastwood, Cailee Spaeny and Tian Jing. The whole cast delivered unique and pleasant performances.

The visuals and sound mixing were brilliantly done. The action was fast-paced and massive in scale. Composer Lorne Balfe also provided an intense musical score that took the action to greater heights.The screenwriters wrote a clever reason for a sequel, carefully avoiding easy cliches. Although the humor was a bit forced at times, the writers made us care for the characters, a quality rarely seen in CGI monster blockbusters.

“This is a fun movie. It’s there to entertain. It’s larger than life. Just go in there looking to have a great time,” said Boyega in an August interview with Entertainment Weekly during the film’s production. Boyega summed the film up perfectly. It’s fast, fun and doesn’t take itself too seriously.

“Pacific Rim: Uprising” is a solid sci-fi monster flick. My expectations were to see giant monsters and robots beat the hell out of each other, and that’s exactly what I got.

Hopefully the international box office revenue will pave the way for a third film. If you’re looking for an exhilarating popcorn movie, then “Pacific Rim: Uprising” is for you.