The 481st film I have seen in theaters…
Jaegers vs Kaiju: Round 2! Apocalypse is renewed!
Ten years have passed since Mako Mori, Raleigh Becket, and Stacker Pentecost saved the world from invasion by the other-dimensional precursor aliens and their Kaiju weapons. Stacker’s son, Jake, has been living as a scavenger since bombing out of Jaeger pilot school. He is arrested with young Amara Namani, a whiz kid Jaeger builder, and they are both given a choice: Prison or join the pilot program. They decide to go to the academy. As Jake tries to adjust to his new role as instructor, and Amara as a cadet, the Shao Corporation is looking to put them out of business with their new drone operated Jaegers. Things soon go awry as the drone go out of control, and a plot is unveiled, to bring about the end of the world and open the rift to the Kaiju world.
John Boyega brings all of his charm and ability to bear as Jake Pentecost. He carries the film well. I just wish he had a better script to work with.
Scott Eastwood displays plenty of his dad’s DNA as Lambert, Jake’s partner pilot. He’s got his dad’s squint down pat, and looks to have a good career ahead of him.
Cailee Spaeny has her first major film role as Amara. She works well with Boyega and they keep the film chugging along.
Rinko Kikuchi returns, briefly, as Mako. Her death at the hands of the rogue Jaeger, “Obsidian Fury”, kick starts the main action of the film. What a waste. This was the best character in the original.
Charlie Day returns as Newt Geiszler, sort of. It turns out that the mind meld he did with the Aliens in the original corrupted him. He has been working for 10 years to engineer the end of the world and the return of the Kaiju. He is the best part of the film. Very good.
The great Burn Gorman returns as Dr Hermann Gottleib, Jaeger scientist. This guy is great at everything I’ve seen him in.
Jing Tian, who was great in the Police Story film from a few years back, plays Shao, the leader of the Shao company. They did a good job making her seem the villain of the piece, total fake out. A good performance.
This movie tries really hard, it does, but it falls pretty far short of the original. While at it’s core this series is just giant robots versus giant monsters, the original managed to elevate itself. Guillermo Del Toro was the main reason for that elevation. He took his love of anime and brought it to life on the silver screen. His undeniable skills as a filmmaker made Pacific Rim a classic. Del Toro fell away from the sequel a few years ago, but he had a finished script. When Director Steven DeKnight came on board, the original script was jettisoned. I am not sure how much changed from that script, but I imagine it was quite a bit. In the end, this film suffers from that lack of vision. It is still an enjoyable enough popcorn flick, but I feel no need to ever see it again. I can’t get enough of the original. Despite it’s mediocrity, the film does manage to do something amazing: fit in Eduard Khil.
Yes, Mr Trololo himself appears on screen during the ramp up to the final battle. This alone adds 5 points to my final rating. 10/10