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Robots and Reptiles

Saturday, March 24, 2018
By Deepa Gahlot

Pacific Rim: Uprising
Steven K. DeNight
Cast: John Boyega, Scott Eastwood, Jing Tian, Cailee Spaeny, Rinko Kikuchi, Burn Gorman and others
Rating: * * 1/2

The villain causing world-destroying havoc in Pacific Rim: Uprising, quips, "We're going with giant robots again?" Real original! I am not impressed!"

Those who go in to see the sequel of a Guillermo del Toro original, may not be too impressed either. To the credit of the Steven K DeNight-directed film, however, it hits the ground running and does not stop till the world is saved — even if Australia and Japan are crushed. The CGI guys should also have some fun, right?

Those who haven’t see the first film, the destroyers on rampage are huge reptiles called Kaiju that rise from the sea, and the brave fighters are gigantic robots called Jaegers, piloted by two humans.

In the sequel, Jake (John Boyega), son of the hero of the first film (Idris Elba), who died saving the world (the phrase is used several times in the film) is a petty criminal, not interested in heroism. When he runs into a spunky teen Amara (Cailee Spaeny), who has built her own Jaeger from scrap and has the gumption to fight a law-keeping behemoth, they are both arrested.

His sister Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi) drags him back to the Pan Pacific Defense Corps (PPDC), where he trades barbs with rival pilot Lambert (Scott Eastwood, spitting image of his legendary dad Clint).

A Chinese company led by the snappish Liwan Shao (Tian Jing) has developed a new kind of unmanned drone Jaegar, the idea of which the pilots do not like, particularly when she insists on rushing the launch. One of the scientists, Dr. Newt Geiszler (Charlie Day) goes rogue because he wants to destroy the world on a whim. His partner Dr. Hermann Gottlieb (Burn Gorman) is the only one who can stop his doomsday plans.

The drones, controlled by Newt start their destructive march, so Jake and Lambert have to pause their squabbling and take off along with a bunch of greenhorn cadets (including an Indian called Suresh) to fight the modified Jaegers, as well as a massive Kaiju that has been unleashed by the crazy villain.

The plot seems to have been written on the back of a ticket stub, because the lines seem ad-libbed and the film only wakes up when the action sequences are required, full of noise, fury and ant-like people scurrying away as streets rupture and buildings come crashing down. (In a throwaway comic scene, a tiny car’s burglar alarm beeps amidst the carnage!)

The Kaiju attack is halted this time, but the franchise won’t stop—a hint of a part three is dropped. Hopefully, it will have some more zing.

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